The good, the bad and the ugly this week

I was not sure I could manage a blog this week. It’s been a very full and stressful time recently. However, I realized this would be blog 100 – not bad for a series of 12 as originally planned. I often sit down and wonder what the heck I’m going to write about but this time we have a mix of the good, the bad and the ugly. This is just a way of saying “life”, I think, though sometimes (like now) some really bad bits appear. Have no fear though – spoiler here – it’s working out and getting better, so read on without any worries.

It has been a very busy start to the year so we are already a bit tired. All of the improvements around the house are heartwarming and welcome but they come with additional work. The spring growth spurt is finally here and we risk losing some of our hard won progress unless we can keep it under control. This involves a lot of weed cutting, mowing and tree branch clipping. Also we have had an unexpected dry and hot spell so the new trees in the wood and orchard need watering. Now that was not something we expected in Ireland! My shoulders are still weak and painful and Jacqui is still a bit unsteady and in a lot of pain from her joints so we are trying to pace ourselves, hoping to keep up and even make a little progress.

The warm weather has led to a number of unwelcome visitors in the house. Not our neighbors, no – the inevitable insects and some rather large spiders. I’m fairly tolerant of the latter, provided they are not too large and catch some of the flies. This latest intruder failed on both counts and I’m ridiculously proud of myself for catching and releasing her outside. The warmer weather has been very welcome however and unexpectedly a few of the bulbs appeared. I’d given up hope of them surviving the long, wet winter and spring but suddenly we have irises at the back. The primroses are also flourishing now including one that’s appeared in the middle of the drive. We drive around them very carefully.

The worst part of our recent weeks however has been the sickness in Cynthia, one of our dogs. She’s had bouts of a bad stomach for a few weeks but took a major turn for the worst just before the May holiday (of course). We nursed her carefully through until the vet was open again but she was getting worse. As we’d also had some stomach issues we were concerned about the water again so a sample has gone off to check for ecoli.

Despite all our new systems, if there is a lot of effluent in the water the UV light can’t work properly and there’s been a great deal of slurrying recently. In fact, there have been tractors, trailers and slurry tanks along the road some nights as late as 2am. This is one of the bad – no, ugly parts of life as water is so important and there’s no other source but bottles out here. If it is polluted again we will need to take more advice and further precautions.

Some good news however – Cynthia is recovering well though in typical Tibetan form she is not co-operating with us. We have a range of medicines for her, some pills we grind to powder and some liquid to mix into food. This, apparently, is all poison. Although she is hungry (we are cutting off the biscuit supply) she will pick through her food and spit out onto the floor anything remotely tainted. Now we are faced with the ugly option of using a syringe to get some good “poison” into her.

A fitting end to a rather difficult few weeks I think. But we have our trees, we have brighter weather and Cynthia is much, much better so it’s all good in the end.

Thank you for reading and I hope the rest of May is good for you all.