When we moved here and “retired” – at least from full time paid employment – we expected to have more free time. There are quiet days but more often times when there’s a bit too much going on. Take this last fortnight. A roller coaster of events and emotions have swept us up and left us a bit drained. The underlying emotion was sadness as we said goodbye to a close relative. As Jacqui has not yet had an answer on whether we could travel we couldn’t attend the funeral, a source of great sadness. It does highlight one solitary good thing to come from Covid however. The live streaming of these family ceremonies has become much more common place and we were able to watch and say goodbye, even from another country.
The weather has been very busy – definitely a bit too much going on there. Cloud, drizzle and then bright sunlight swept over us, seemingly at random. In the brighter intervals Jacqui hurried out and began the transformation of the wall that has replaced the pump house. A dash into town helped us get the first of the bedding plants and she filled the blocks and planted. I tackled some of the more determined growth around the walls. The end result looks very promising with a mix of flowers including some Pinks, my father’s favourite. He showed me how to remove the side shoots and root them to make new plants so we should have an impressive display in a few years.
We were lulled into a false sense of security by the relative absence of flies this summer. They are still about but in far fewer numbers. We attribute this to the removal of the Leylandii trees (fly tenements, all of them) and the new rules banning slurry splash-plates. The latter, in particular, has made life much better here. Unfortunately the tiny biting flies seem unaffected and as soon as we started working outside we were bitten. All over. The cry in the evening was “How the hell did they get in there?” I leave the rest to your imagination. So its back to the “Naff Off” bracelets, one of which Jacqui has looped around the back of her cap to keep the little horrors off her neck.
The garden and surroundings are full of life now. It appears the birds have decided we are fairly harmless and ignore us much of the time. In fact I was filling the bird feeders and a goldfinch flew close enough to brush my face. He then sat on the top of the feeding frame and shouted at me, presumably to hurry up. He was down at the food before I was three steps away.
Something has been pulling egg shells from our compost bin and Fergus suggested it was a Pine Marten. He found Pine Marten scat on one of the walls and the paw prints on the bin match too. Pine Martens can be fierce and territorial so I’m careful about the dogs at night. However they also kill rats, so “the enemy of my enemy is my friend”. I also spotted a little shrew scuttling across the gravel drive much to my delight. Less welcome was the sight of a tiny field mouse inside the back porch. It shot out of a corner and disappeared under the shelves and I hope it left through the open door. Certainly the dogs showed no interest in it and Charlie has caught a mouse before. We love the variety of wildlife but mice constitute a bit too much going on.
We had several medical visits this fortnight as well including another trip to the dentist at Roscrea. After the frustrating and futile visits to the Limerick Cardiac clinics Jacqui was transferred to the local hospital for follow-up care. A long-awaited appointment to see them proved to be more constructive than all the other clinics put together, with the exception of the nurse-led Limerick venue. In fact the nurses have been wonderful throughout. This time we got some answers, the young Doctor listened and explained issues clearly and will push for a place on the rehabilitation programme they run. Overall we felt a lot better about the situation, especially as she can dispense with some of the medication next month. There is some hope she may get better, despite the occasional days clouded by exhaustion and nausea.
Now, I know I promised a picture of me using the mower but it refused to start once again. I’ll give it another once-over but if it is not reliable then we will trade it in for spares. Hopefully we can do a part exchange. The little bit of cutting we managed was so easy and so quick. We really would benefit from having a mower to help the ongoing fight against Ireland’s prolific green.
Most of the rest of our time has been taken up by preparing for our first visitor. The spare room has been storage since we arrived, though we have been putting up shelves, assembling the bed and sorting. We were pushed into top gear by this imminent arrival, helped by Ikea who sent the fixings for a cupboard. Something else lost by the idiot movers. I’ve done some of the work I failed to do before the move. Filing important stuff, ordering books on shelves and spending a lot of time going, “What was I thinking?” Then I found once I got over the initial block it was strangely liberating.
So there we are – a sad, liberating and very busy few weeks with a bit too much going on.
Thank you for reading and I hope you all have a good few weeks.
I will be back in two weeks and you can hear the back issues on https://southsidebroadcasting.podbean.com/category/tipperary-tales/