Well, what a few weeks we have had here in Tipperary. We take time on Saturday evening to reflect on the past days over a special meal and this week realised every week has been busy, ever since we arrived. It is a year round now since we first began the move into our house – well, one day short. It was a lovely house then, if in need of some TLC and making it ours has been part of the adventure. We’ve done our best to make it even lovelier and certainly more comfortable. Sometimes this works splendidly, like the gas heating. Sometimes it’s a bit more difficult.
Last week we had Des, our gardener and friend, working in the wood for 3 days. We decided to focus on the trees and see what could be saved. And how to help the healthy trees flourish. This meant a great cutting of ivy, brambles and dead bindweed that was choking many of them. Des had to take this slowly as the ivy offers excellent accommodation for birds and we won’t disturb the nests. The back of the wood is more open now letting in light and with fewer dangerous overhangs – cause for optimism despite the continuing and necessary loss of some trees.
One thing we wanted to change was the power supply to the water pump. We spent months trying to arrange site visits, then had the ground prepared and finally the system was installed. Unfortunately it doesn’t work. We wondered if this was due to lack of light or sun on the panels. After the redoubtable Eddy did a few checks we found it was partly due to the pump itself. Most water pumps pull up to 1.2 kw when they start up and then just tick over. Ours pulls 4.5 kw and keeps going full blast. No wonder it is so expensive to run!
Now we have an interesting series of steps to sequence – not my great strength. We have the “pump man” coming next week as it will need replacing. Then he will hopefully move the pressure tank and reset the pipes. Eddy will need to be on hand to do the wiring and he’s going to replace the solar system to suit the task. This will be a mixed set-up that switches between panels, mains and batteries. In the winter this will ensure a constant water supply.
In the summer excess power will be fed into the house to save on the electricity bill. If we had known how it all worked we’d have asked for this first but we are learning new stuff the whole time so – no harm done. And we will finally be able to get rid of the butt-ugly shed! I’m looking forward to that part of the adventure.
The same day Eddy called we also had John the drain man. How he stays so upbeat considering his job I don’t know but he was great. He hosed the main drain – some remaining fatberg but the blockages were mainly years of lime scale. He checked the tank, gave the system a clean bill of health and recommended we have the last lot of guttering diverted into a soak-away. A huge relief as we were contemplating new drains and all the disruption and cost that entails. All we have to do is keep an eye on the grease trap (yuck) and arrange for yet another workman – Paddy – to do the gutters.
So many jobs have different specialists here. We now have two Johns, three Dereks, an Aidan, one each of Davey, Dom, Fergus and Eddy, – and Des of course. They are soon to be joined by Tom and Paddy. My phone is full of workmen’s contact details.
I’m heading to the local hospital on Monday for my first physio session and none too soon My right shoulder – used to be my “good” shoulder – was the problem. Although I’m still resting it and doing a new jigsaw I’ve popped my left shoulder too. So contrary to what many of my students would say I’m now totally ‘armless.
I was putting some strain on it reaching up a little to the keyboard and mouse with the new desk and I cannot get my chair to rise at all. I did one broadcast for Southside with only the top of my head visible. So I’ve tried different cushions and now perch on a piece of redundant sofa foam. It’s 12 cm high and looks ridiculous but does the job. Oh the world isn’t made for a short-arse like me. I hope to find someone to fix the chair as it’s normally very comfortable but I’m not holding my breath. In a different country and post-Covid world everything is much slower and harder to find.
Maybe that’s also part of the adventure. Despite temporary setbacks and some health problems moving was still one of the best decisions we ever made and we are, generally, ridiculously happy.