Another week has flown by – another week without transport here in the depths of rural Ireland. The insurance saga grinds on though I feel we are making some progress. The garage collected the car at stupid o’clock on Tuesday and checked it over. Not surprisingly it passed the NCT (the Irish MOT) and we had the precious certificate for the insurance company. Just one problem though – they demanded “physical proof” of the NCT, either a copy in the post or a fax. No, they said, they had no mailbox so a pdf was not possible. The nearest post box is about five kilometres away and who the hell still has a fax at home? So thank you to our lovely builder who drove into town especially to put it in the post. Now we wait – and hope. This is one aspect of normal service we really do need to resume.
We rely heavily on deliveries at present, for obvious reasons and Jacqui has been very pro-active in dealing with our current wave of unwanted and uninvited residents. It’s been much cooler these past weeks – just as well as the local farmers appear to be emptying their slurry tanks over the county in preparation for winter. We often do not open the windows which keeps out the smell and a lot of the flies. There are fewer insects now but it is still a relentless infestation. It will be better next year as we are rooting them out inside. We are also removing the main attractions in the garden including three Leylandii trees they love. We are less enthusiastic and intend to dig them out and replace them with something smaller and native. In the meantime we have a stunning range of products to combat the flies, horseflies, wasps and mosquitoes.
The biggest step forward this week was finally getting the gas boiler in and running. The gas tank was installed back in May and filled in June but we were still relying on the old oil boiler for hot water – which it refused to supply unless we were running the heating. Now we can turn on the tap and – presto, hot water! You really don’t know how happy that makes you unless you’ve had to rely on immersion heaters or slow warming tanks. We are just adapting to many different things here but this was one thing we could change. As far as we are concerned it comes under the heading “Quality of Life”. It also frees up a big area at the back of the Majestic for storage. Hopefully we will have a reliable water supply and heating for the winter. Almost normal service !
So on to developments on the writing front. This whole project has meant I’ve scarcely written anything for several years. I had packed away all the sources and reference books, notes and pictures along with my trusty computer. There is an old Jewish saying (with thanks to Rabbi Blue). If you want to make God laugh then tell him your plans. In the absence of contact with readers, bookshops and libraries the plans I had drifted away. They became inconsequential next to the real-life drama we were living. When we moved into the house I discovered my lovely big writing desk was missing and we had no way to replace it. It seems a small thing in the whole big adventure but it was almost the last straw. Then I began this blog, just a few words every week but the discipline has been very good for me.
My writing corner is still small and crowded but we hope to locate another table soon – when we can drive again of course. I found some of the maps I’d marked up in a box and the original manuscripts for the first five novels too. Yes, there is a fifth book with the publishers and there are plans for the next year. Those of you who have followed this page since the beginning may remember I used to make a paper crane every day I wrote 1,000 words. My garlands were left behind in the studio but finally, this week, I made a start on Book Six of the Alex Hastings series. And so I have made my first Irish paper crane.
It has been a long and occasionally painful journey but gradually normal service is being resumed.