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Posts tagged ‘mopeds’

And suddenly it is spring again

At last we are past the “beastly month” of February and suddenly it is spring again here in Ireland. For several weeks trees have been shrouded in a soft patina of green as the leaves begin to emerge. Daffodils are flowering all along the roadside. In the morning I wake to the sound of cooing from returning doves and pigeons and the sunsets are back in all their glory. A few of our daffodils were broken by the wind so we picked them and brought them inside and on Friday Jacqui produced a “bouquet of sunshine” from the market. Yes, spring is certainly here again.

Sunshine in a vase

This is not to say the weather has been wonderful – far from it. Three storms swept across us, each worse than the last. Knowing how fragile the electricity supply can be we were prepared this time. We had hoarded lots of batteries for storm lanterns and those round press-on lights. We had flasks filled regularly with boiling water and a five-litre stand-by container for drinking (and the dogs of course). Extra wood was stacked inside the porch and we did a big shop in case the roads flooded and we couldn’t get out.

A bit more atmospheric than we expected

I watched the outages on the supply company’s handy app. They circled us but despite some dreadful weather and gales we were unscathed. Until the Monday when, as Storm Franklin left Ireland heading to the UK, all the lights went out. A glance at the handy app said we could expect at least 4 hours without power so I unpacked the camping stove, we put the lights around the kitchen and I made dinner on the single ring. It was rather like being back in my bed-sit days though the camping stove was a sight more efficient than any Baby Belling I experienced. Perfect one-pan cooking – anyone for corned beef hash?

Stand by for take-off!

Although we escaped any real damage in the storm, thanks to Fergus and his excellent tree-cutting, the rain filled the old peat cuttings in the woods next to the track. This year the little lake rose to the lip of the road but didn’t overflow. It has made a nice place for the geese who have returned already, along with a pair of swans. The geese fly in each morning, about forty of them all shouting and flapping over the house. It’s quite a sight, matched in the evening when they take off en-masse and head for the lake about eight kilometres away. They regularly pick their way around the field across the road and take off in a cloud, fly round and settle again. We have such noisy neighbours!

We’ve got the bikes now, delivered by the sterling Derek Madden. We are now embarking on the endless round of bureaucracy required to register them, tax them and make it legal for us to finally ride them. There are no NCT rules for bikes in Ireland, the equivalent to the MOT in the UK, but we still need new plates, VAT assessment and registration tax to be paid, helmets and insurance. Our nearest supplier of motorbike helmets is half-way to Limerick. Apparently most people order them on-line now. How do they know the helmets fit properly? I’m going to ring the shop before we go to warn them two pinheaded little women are coming. Don’t want to go all that way for nothing.

The last couple of days I’ve had a problem with another bird – smaller bird but bigger problem. There’s a young Blue Tit that has taken to flying at one of the kitchen windows. I’ve tried waving and shouting to chase it away but it’s back five minutes later. I’ve tried drawing the curtains but this didn’t work for more than a day. Jacqui painted a decal to fix inside the glass and now it goes off to one side. Has anyone got any suggestions? We have no idea why it keeps doing this and it’s going to be more concussed than a rugby prop soon. All suggestions gratefully received.

Although it is spring again it is actually colder at night than in winter. I noticed in late autumn the ground frosted and standing water froze solid. The same is happening now despite the warmer days. There was no freezing and very little frost through the winter up here. Maybe it is to do with the clear skies. When I let the dogs out at night the stars are bright and hard and the moon is sharp. In winter there were clouds, lots of clouds. Still, it doesn’t stop me standing to gaze up for a few minutes.

The skies are beautiful here.

This has been a very eventful few weeks.

This has been a very eventful few weeks, and not just because of the weather. That has had quite an impact, of course. In fact looking back I’m surprised we did much at all. After a bright and relatively warm January, February arrived determined to live up to its reputation. The first few days were not too bad however – a bit showery and blustery but fairly decent and we began by travelling hopefully.

First up was a trip to the local hospital for my long awaited physiotherapy appointment. The physio was very good, extremely helpful and gave me some exercises to do at home. He also furnished me with a pulley stretcher to go over a door. This looks a bit like some dubious item of torture but actually helps develop and stretch the shoulder muscles. Jacqui helped me fit it over the door and all I have to do is remember to use it every day. No frozen shoulders for me! That was the good news. The bad news was he was leaving the department and there is, so far, no replacement. Glad I sneaked in before he left.

On Tuesday the pump man, Tom, called to look at the water pump. It is fine apparently. The problem is the controller that doesn’t regulate it properly and so is burning up electricity needlessly. He’s coming back to do the moving and upgrading soon – and here the sequencing comes in. My Achilles heel. Well, one of them anyway. First we need to clear the Majestic ready for the installation. Then Eddie has to fit the new solar system and then, on the same day, Tom will relocate the pressure vessel and pipes and Eddie will do the wiring. There’s some extra paperwork to do that needs to be cleared first so we are waiting on that, and still running on the mains at present.

Matching red mopeds!

Wednesday was a real trip out, to Galway. I’ve been looking at mopeds for a while – a quick and easy way to get to the shops or for a fun run out. A man in Galway was advertising a novel Valentine’s Day gift. Matching mopeds – we could have one each! It was an interesting drive as the two counties are very different. Galway has much smaller fields, divided into narrow strips by rough stone walls. It is, as one friend said, almost Medieval. It used to be the poorest of the counties and a lot of money has gone into it recently. There’s evidence of new building and development but it still looks a bit ragged around the edges. The people are just as nice however. And the mopeds we chose are lovely. 20 years old, bright red Jailings – no pedals, 2 stroke engines and perfect for summer days.

And then the rain came. The next Tuesday we finally got a bin. Oh joy! There will be one big clearance next week and then the bin will be emptied every 6 to 8 weeks. We’ve cut down on our rubbish quite dramatically with recycling, composting and using the cardboard with weed mat to clear the land so this time frame should work for us. We woke the next day to gale force winds and the bin blown over, wedged in the gate. That was Storm Dudley – torrential rain, high winds and cold! Not as cold as we were last year but still pretty chilly. We did a dash into town for a big shop in case things got worse and headed home to “batten down the hatches”. I’m glad we did.

Snow on the windows – most unusual

No sooner had Dudley left than Storm Eunice arrived. She was the big one with ridiculous winds, hail, sleet, and even some snow. We were surprised and impressed that the power stayed on though we took the usual precautions – filled flasks and a big water bottle, torches and lanterns charged and our camping stove to hand. We are learning from experience. Then, this morning the third storm in five days hit – Storm Franklin. We are getting a bit waterlogged now and are very glad we had the overhanging trees lopped before Christmas. I wouldn’t have given much for the roof of the Majestic in all this. I got out another jigsaw but I think I’ve possibly overestimated my abilities with this one. It’s a monster!

Impossible image – Impossible puzzle

So there we are – a very eventful few weeks. We get the mopeds next week. They needed a bit of work but are now ready for collection. There should be room in the shed for them by then, unless we get yet another storm. No one’s coming up the lane in this weather unless they live here so fingers crossed for a few clear days. And Monday was Valentine’s Day of course. I went to An Post to get some stamps and came back with a book of special issues. Foolishly I didn’t look at them first. Now I’ve got ten stamps, all of them pink stripy hearts. I’m not sure about using them for the bank, or the solicitor. It might give them entirely the wrong impression. Maybe I’ll cut my losses and get some ordinary ones. What do you think?

Ten of them – good grief…