Watching and waiting

We have spent a lot of the last few weeks watching and waiting for things to happen, or change. No sooner had I posted the last blog than the (hopefully) last of the winter storms swept through Ireland.  It is generally much milder here than in northern England but we woke to snow – real snow, not just a light dusting.  We stayed at home as the roads are rarely gritted, especially out in rural areas.  Where we live even the towns are still rural areas so ice and snow settle and freeze overnight.  It was rather beautiful and the dogs enjoyed it, being originally bred for the conditions. 

Rather unseasonal for Ireland
Coloured willows in the wood

It did help to put paid to the roof work, of course.  The new slate runners were still “on order” and it wasn’t possible to work in the icy conditions anyway.  This meant the house got very cold again and we were mining the log pile every other day.  It amazed us it didn’t seem to shrink at all.  The snow faded away after a couple of days but was followed by heavy rain that occasionally turned to sleet.  This was much less popular with the dogs, especially as the garden is all churned up and very slippery.  After a week the runners arrived and work resumed full tilt, starting with another layer of insulation in the roof.  This has made a real difference even though the job is not finished yet.  We are watching the skies and waiting for the last stage, hopefully this week.

Fearless pheasant
Nosy little wagtail

As the snow faded away we found ourselves being watched as the birds are returning and are exceptionally nosy this year.  I’d already disturbed three female pheasants in the wood one morning.  Then later that week I watched a young male walking back and forth outside our kitchen window.  He’s been there almost every day, peering in for up to half an hour at a time.  We are used to robins and blackbirds landing on the sills and commenting on our décor but now we also have a couple of pied wagtails using the scaffolding as a viewing platform.  The birds seem to have decided we are relatively harmless and unless we run about or shout they ignore us.  Maybe one day the buzzards will come when called – but probably not.

I’ve been a bit shaky the past few weeks.  Actually, these past few years if I’m being honest.  I thought it might be a form of long Covid but I have been getting very tired and have most unflattering rings under my eyes.  Finally I went to the doctor, with extreme reluctance, as my strategy of watching and waiting was not working out.  There was a long chat about the stresses in life at the moment, from the roof to the ongoing water problems.  Then he took my blood pressure.  Unsurprisingly it was high – very, very high. 

Now I’ve another appointment next week for blood tests and the possibility of a 24 hr pressure monitor.  I’m not keen as one measure with the “automatic” machine left me with a bruised arm and numb hand.  And as I’m extremely needle-phobic I’m not sure the test will give an accurate reading!  I shall, of course, make this point in a quiet and respectful manner.

Mr Badger’s highway

Despite the occasional gloomy bits life here is still delightful.  The wood is coming into bud again and the ash trees we had to cut down are sending out little shoots.  I don’t know if they will come through infected so we will talk to Fergus.  It would be good if we could keep some, at least for a while.  The main actor in the wood seems to be the badger that comes and goes most nights.  We hope to get the path round the wood dug in a week or so and I will make sure we disturb his track as little as possible.  The bird tenement at the back is filling up again and the bird song is wonderful in the mornings.  It actually echoes around the wood. This is truly a beautiful place to live and we know how lucky we are.  

And St Patrick’s Day passed off peacefully this year. Hooray!

Well, that’s us for another fortnight.  Thank you, Jacqui, for the snow pictures and thank you all for reading. If you are a new arrival to the blog you can get all episodes, beginning in March 2020, on this site.  I am also recording two at a time for Southside Broadcasting and you can catch them here:  Then put “Tipperary Tales” in the search engine.

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