Well, there’s always something

I’ve been reminded these past weeks of one of those brilliant one-liners from a film.  In the movie “Carrington”, the title character is warned against getting involved with the critic and writer Lytton Strachey. “Dora dearest, he’s a terrible old queen!” says a friend, in much less PC times.  “Yes,” replies Carrington, “But there’s always something, isn’t there?”.  So as we move towards the third spring in our Irish home, steps forward are mixed with stumbles, trips and even occasional falls. 

It has been an interesting fortnight that began rather inauspiciously with our attempts to get the well tested.  There is a 25 metre exclusion rule for private wells and some activities inside this put the water at risk.  We sent for testing bottles and followed the instructions carefully.  It was quite a rigmarole – disinfect hands, wipe tap, run water, wipe again, run water, take samples.  These were wrapped in sterile plastic, put in a cold bag and we set off on a 200 km round trip to the lab.  But there’s always something, right?

Less than 4 km into the trip a front tyre burst.  Despite trying to call out the AA we were stuck for over an hour before a friend came to our rescue.  The tyres had all taken a bashing on the roads recently. They’ve been torn up by rain and tractors and we didn’t feel happy risking the journey with no spare.  Jacqui went off to get it replaced and I rang for another set of testing bottles.  The second time we did make it to the lab in the time limit and are now waiting for the chemical analysis.  The biological result was okay so we can drink the water, after a week of using bottled supplies.  Even the dogs were on spring water for a while.

Animal or Vegetable?
Definitely Animal!

When our friends visited last month we set up a trail camera to spot any visiting wildlife.  This has been a process of trial and error – mainly error, I have to confess.  First there’s the need to find the right location, with somewhere suitable for camera mounting.  Then there are a lot of settings to adjust, from motion-delay to number of shots in a burst.  One evening we got 58 pictures of grass waving in the high wind – not what we wanted.  Another day there were 5 consecutive shots of what could have been mammal eyes peering out of the undergrowth.  Or maybe just a grass hummock stirring in the breeze.  Then there were 2 real shots – a large mammal moving into view.  That’s when I set the camera to take 5 in a burst.  Hopefully next time we will get more of the badger than its bum.

In more positive news, Jacqui has completed the cardio exercise program, with good results so far.  We breathed a sigh of relief at losing the two early starts each week but, well there’s always something.  The good news was the local (18 km away) hospital can do her ECHO test.  No trip to Limerick – hooray!  The bad news was another early start as it has been tacked on to the stress test. That’s the final part of the rehab program.  I’m not sure about the reasoning behind doing the ECHO first and then putting a patient covered in ultrasound jelly on a treadmill but they’re the experts I guess.  

We’ve been keeping an eye on Charlie, our youngest dog, as he’s been very itchy recently.  The vet did a good set of blood work and apart from a slight marker in his liver readings he seems fine.  He has just finished a short course of anti-allergy pills and they seem to have helped.  He’s also been off all his biscuit and Markie treats, something he’s a bit upset about.  If the irritation returns we will at least be able to give him treats as we look for the source of the problem. 

With better weather on the way he can get out more too which should help his mood.  He’s a real wimp about the rain and stands in the doorway, peeing on the step if I let him.  There’s quite a lot of rain around in Ireland so roll on spring!  When we get the grass cut we have some basic agility equipment for him to try out.  I did a bit of agility with one of our Tibetan Terriers before I snapped an ankle ligament.  We hope Charlie will enjoy it and find it interesting.  And I’ll be a bit more careful this time.

Think the path needs some work
So does the herb garden

There’s a definite stirring in the wood now and we are preparing for the burst of growth all around.  This year we have plans, with the mower ready to go and the makings of raised beds for planting.  We hope to get John, the digger man, back to run a proper path around the wood. If he can, maybe carve out a bit of the bank behind the house for the greenhouse.  This year we plan to grow more than the herbs and the “cut and come again” lettuce in the bath.  They have been wonderful but a bit limited.  We’ve been assembling the materials and cleared the land several times now. Frustratingly we can’t proceed owing to delays from other people.  Hopefully this year we will finally make a start but we know there’ll be a few bumps along the way.  After all, there’s always something, isn’t there?

Thank you for reading and for all your feedback.  It really is appreciated. 

Have a good few weeks and I hope to see you in a fortnight.