Tired, incoherent and still standing. Yeah!

Please forgive me if this episode is a bit incoherent – and maybe a little shorter than usual. It has been a very interesting few weeks culminating in our ‘flu and covid jabs on Friday. We had hoped that after a number of rounds our bodies would have become reconciled to the vaccines but we were sadly mistaken. Maybe it is the combination. Maybe it is the fact we are both fairly knackered at present. Whatever the reason, the effects have been rather grim. On the plus side, the worst impact is wearing off now and neither of us can risk getting really sick so I’m glad we have this protection for the winter. Short term pain but long term gain, I think.

A lot of the time prior to last Friday was taken up with the water system again. The Majestic was starting to flood once more, first from the back wall as excess water seeped in by the pipes. We’re not certain what caused this though the farmer who is the other user of the well was pulling a great deal of water and much of the ingress was from round his pipe and meter. Once this was resolved it all settled down again until I went in and found the inside of the shed dripping – literally. The cement eaves above the new system were soaked and we suspected the gutters were overflowing so out came the ladder and up I went.

Certainly the gutters were packed with leaf litter and there was a nasty bend just above the door preventing a proper flow. Using a small rake and my hands I cleared most of it. Hosing out the downspout cleared that and Jacqui fashioned some wooden blocks to realign the worst of the bend. Then just as we were finishing I missed a step on the way down and fell flat on my back onto the gravel drive. The ladder followed and I would probably be writing this with a broken leg if Jacqui hadn’t managed to grab it on the way down. She suffered a nasty bruise on her arm and I’ve a dent in my shin where it finally landed but it could have been so much worse.

Despite our best efforts however the shed was soaked again two days later. This time I had a good look at the system and found there was no water in the softener, just salt. Following the lines back I spotted a pipe that had blown off one of the tanks. The water pressure was building up and spraying over the wall, roof and almost half of the interior. Like many problems, the solution was stupidly simple once I spoke to the engineers. A small plastic clip had come loose so the pipe was not fastened properly. I found the clip several feet away under a bench, refastened it and so far all seems well. I do go out and check it several times a day however, just in case.

We’ve had a few drier days recently and the ground is not as sodden as it has been. The swans are happy with their pond, despite the smashed tree that is still lodged in the water. The winter birds are returning to the garden and eating everything they can find at the moment. They even consumed half an old fruit cake we’d forgotten about. As it had a considerable amount of brandy in it I wonder if they are weaving through the trees and waking up with tiny hangovers… Jacqui has done a clear out of the baking press and is mixing all the old dried fruit, nuts and cereals into tasty and nutritious bird cake as a healthier alternative!

Another uninvited “guest”

The colder weather has also encouraged more wildlife to chance their arm in the warm. There is a huge spider lurking next to the light switch in the Majestic. As I don’t want to get bitten, or to squash it, I’m now using a head torch on my hat when I go out in the dark. We’ve also had a colony of tiny field mice in one of the cupboards. They are coming in somewhere in the utility room and seem to be confined to the boiler cupboard. I don’t like killing anything but we can’t let mice get a foothold (paw hold?) in the house. I won’t use poisons as this can kill so many other animals and birds so I’ve some highly effective traps in there. So far I’ve caught 2 live and quite healthy specimens I took up the road and released. In addition I’ve disposed of 11 more in the wood, dead. They all vanish overnight so probably feed the feral/farm cats or the pine marten. I console myself with the thought it is the “circle of life”.

Up Kildangen!

It’s the end of the GGA sports season here and everyone takes the play-offs and championships very seriously. There are county flags flying from gates and posts as well as the colours of all the local teams. When we arrived we stayed in Puckane and their local team, Kildangan, had just won the Nationals. There were yellow and blue signs everywhere and one house even had a line of small rocks painted alternate colours along the boundary. This time some enterprising local has produced a minion bin dressed as a Kildangan hurler. I think they get the prize for best decoration this year.

Well, it’s been a rather chequered few weeks and I’m getting tired again now so will stop before I do become incoherent. Sending all good wishes to you and thank you for reading.

Take care everyone and see you in a couple of weeks.