After the past overly stressful (and very unwelcome) excitement of the last month we are on the road back to “normal”. Whatever that might be in these strange times. We are both still very tired as recent events have taken most of our energy but life does not stand still. In fact here in Ireland it tends to take advantage if it can. Whilst we’ve maintained the little bit of progress in the wood, especially around the oak trees, the open spaces have exploded again. We had a week of showers followed by a couple of mild, sunny days. The back plot, so smooth and ready for weed mats and planting suddenly grew thistles as tall as I am. I know that’s not all that tall but there were hundreds of them – literally.
Jacqui has a long list of instructions from the hospital, chief of which is “Rest!” Followed by no hoovering, no lifting anything heavy (over about a kilo) and not even making the bed. This is understandably irritating for someone so active – she had big plans for the land and the house, now on hold again. It also means we have to rely on my plodding efforts to tame the newly grown wilderness. It was vital we got it cleared as we hope to have the solar panels installed soon. That is so not happening in that jungle! I did not falter but jumped straight in and booked a digger and Davey, our lovely builder.
Once the land was cleared once more I began the task of setting out weed mats over some of it. This is hard work but strangely satisfying, raking out the worst roots, clipping back brambles and removing stones. I’m not going to get it all done but hopefully winter will put paid to a lot of the opportunist plants. I’ve left most of the brambles with berries as the birds will need those and as I was digging away I heard them in the surrounding trees. It sounded as if they were passing comment, waiting for me to go so they could come down and hunt for insects and grubs. I hope my work met with their approval. Someone suggested we put in sprouting potatoes as these will deter (or kill) weeds. Any thoughts?
There’s not much news from the UK in Ireland, to be honest but I occasionally look at the BBC website. There’s quite a debate about shortages – are there any, and if so where? Well, we have had a disruption to our normal service recently. The dogs have always had goat’s milk in the morning from a local supermarket. It comes from an Irish firm over here. There’s been none the last three weeks, much to our dismay. We wondered if the supply chain problems were starting over here. Then a shop assistant explained there had been a fire at the factory. It would take a couple of weeks and then everything would return to normal.
Jacqui got on the phone and located a farmer about 15 kilometres away who was happy to sell milk “over the gate”. This was a chance for her to have a little run out , her first since leaving hospital. I was still driving of course. The farmer was lovely, the goats were so beautiful and the dogs love that milk. They actually queue at the bowl in the morning, each drinking a third before stepping aside. I’ve never seen that behaviour in dogs before though I keep a close eye on them, just in case. We are heading out there tomorrow for more milk and I’ll see if I can have a picture of the goats .
On our long, slow road to normal we are being very careful and limiting trips out as far as possible. This week I began to suggest a possible outing for Friday. I got as far as “If you take it very easy on Wednesday and Thursday would you like to..” “Yes!” she said. I hadn’t said where but she knew it was the little Institute market in town. This is a real gem. It is run mainly by women and is a bit like the Women’s Institute coupled with an allotment society. We got there a bit earlier this time but already half the tables were empty. Even so we got vegetables (including the freshest carrots with their tops), another divine Orange Madeira cake, jam, small pies and flowers, of course.
It’s the little things that make life so enjoyable and this felt like another small step back to normal for us.