About Me

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Typical Piscean, dreamer, story teller in the tradition of my country, I love to write. I'm not sure that I'm any good at it, but getting the words down has its reward.

28 October 2010

Bank Holiday and Inspector Fox comes to call

OH was minding his Mother this Bank Holiday week end and I had planned my week end very carefully. I was to be on sentry duty on the build [what a delightful excuse] as it would be wide open, the windows and doors not due for delivery until today. Well, the best laid plans of mice, men and me [to keep the alliteration going] never did go well, did they.

My plans included a day in Dublin, solo, lunch in Bewleys, a meander around the St. Stephen's Green Centre, a stroll through St. Stephen's Green, a visit to my favourite book shop to stock up on some much needed reading material. A wander through Trinity College to view the Autumn leaves and a gentle journey home by LUAS. Saturday was to have been a long lie in until half past ten, a wander 'round the extension, daydreaming about how it will look when all finished. A walk down the Pier with my favourite cousin, lunch at her house, home to catch up on all those episodes of Campion and Mrs Bradley Mysteries. Mass at 6 o'c to catch up on all the local gossip. Dinner of roast breast of chicken and creamed potato, followed by a long evening of reading.

Reality? Yes, grumpily I feel we have enough of reality already on t.v., with half these reality programmes. Reality was I had to work Friday, the windows and doors were installed on Friday [OH had already departed for parts rural] and Peter asked me would it be all right if the chaps worked over the week end so that the plasterer could start on Tuesday. He thought the weather looked like it was coming to the end of its wonderful run; if the guys could work over the week end then, he told me, the plasterer could work inside or out as weather permitted on Tuesday. What could I say? What diligent workers they are too. Eight o'clock on a Saturday morning.

Still, I can't complain. At this rate we should be dun'n'dusted by end November. I have been blessed with a terrific builder, an Indian Summer, and, so far, under budget. May that part of the build hold true until the end. Plumbing and heating come on-site next week, kitchen the week after and range and floor laying week after. I have picked a wooden floor for the dining room, and linoleum for the kitchen, hall and shower room. A friend of mine is still trying to get me to put down tiles but I hate them, I am terrified of slipping on them and feel like I am walking on ice on some of them. Besides which, tiles are so permanent. I love the idea of, if I get fed up with the lino - I can change it whenever I like.

Last week, while tidying up the old kitchen I turned to look out the window to see what was causing a furore with the crows and magpies and there, sitting calmly surveying me, was Inspector Fox. Mobile phone to hand I grabbed a few quick shots. These were probably the kindest shots the fox had to endure that week. OH was cutting gorse at the top end of the garden when he came across three snares, all set at fox height and all nastily vicious. I am furious. Furious at whoever set them, trespessed on our property, and afraid for my beautiful foxes. Even my neighbour who keeps six beautiful bantams was enraged when he saw the snares. Bad cess on whoever the perpetrator is. May he die roarin' as they say in country parts.

08 October 2010

A golden October day & other things that spring to mind

I am thoroughly enjoying my holiday, I must admit. I have taken a month off, partly annual leave that was left over from two years ago and had to be squared away, and two weeks of this years leave. The joy of being able to watch Downton Abbey on a Sunday night and not have to retire shortly after is intoxicating. Usually I am in bed by ten thirty on a Sunday night, early Monday start, and this goes against my grain. I'm an night owl and life is good at two a.m.

This morning, after a v-e-r-y late night, we got up at ten a.m., and after a full Irish breakfast, OH and I headed out for the veggie patch. This was started earlier this year, and we have feasted on our own lettuce, onions, beetroot, Kerr's Pink potatoes, Orla's, Cultra's and Roosters. The peas were plentiful and the strawberries few but superb. We will not mention the carrotts. Shush! not a word. Suffice it to say that those teeny weensy orange balls were not, and I repeat not actually berries, they were, allegedly supposed to be full grown carrotts. If I was a rabbit, I would have gone blind.

My little herb plot, on the other hand, was bountiful...that is apart from the lemon thyme that got murdered, well, o.k., smothered by drooping potato leaves [OH and planning not mutually conducive] and I have lavender for the airing press, night scented stock which eventually struggled past all OH's obstacles, thyme, sage [variegated] rosemary and chives. We came to an amicable arrangement today. He will line up his drills the other way this year, we will not have orange pebbles with feathery tops, we will have more rhubarb and I will have a bigger plot for The Herbs! I have also coaxed two extra feet of soil from him, all the better to put in a path to get at the other side of the herb bed. Honestly, I know he thinks I am wonderful, but I have not mastered the art of hovering over the herb bed...yet!

In between all the weeding and pruning and snipping away I trailed in and out hanging out clothes on the line. With the roofers on site lately, they had taken over the socket into which I plug Gertrude, so a backlog soon cropped up.

Gertrude I hear you ask. Well, yes...Gerty is a decrepit washing machine and she belonged to my Mum. Gerty's speed wash is a mere two and a half hours long. Her woolen wash ensures that all wools are throughly boiled, and the lock on the door opens twenty minutes after a wash has finished...if Gerty feels like it. Needless to remark, cometh the new kitchen, cometh the new super speed washing machine.

Lunch was heating up a tin of Baxter's gluten free Cockaleekie, brown bread and huge mugs of Bewleys tea to wash it down. Carmel, an old friend from my youth, called by to leave in some seeds of a flower, the name of which she wishes she could remember; we have decided to term it "Senior Moment" until either [a] she remembers what it is or [b] they grow and we see the evidence for ourselves. "Good Lord, she remarked, "look at your builders having their lunch...my aren't they eating healthy. When Roy and I got our extension done twenty years ago it was 'someone nip down to the chippers' and cans of Fanta, this lot are positively glowing with nutritious good health". I had to laugh, I remember that extension being built, and it was Carmel herself who nipped down to the chipper for the lads at lunchtime. She put up two stone on that build.

All the while birds sang, robins hopped around grabbing juicy worms and leatherjackets, beaks barely big enought to cope with such largess. Sadly the Greenfinches are not with us, wiped out this year by a virus. Overhead the Sparrow Hawk fancied his chances with some racing pigeons and a tortoiseshell butterfly flew into the new build, fluttered around all the rooms and gracefully headed off out the new side door. The sun, a mellow gold sitting lower in the sky, shone on us, the breeze was balmy and all was good.

YD came up from the old house for a visit and to inspect what will be her new bedroom. This is her first time up since the build began; she is enchanted with the shell of what will be her room, and I could see her plotting beds, wardrobes and flooring - the last I saw of her before I had to nip out grocery shopping she was discussing the benefits of wood flooring over carpeting with Peter.

The Latest was collecting her at quarter to seven, so we sat in the garden with cups of tea and chatted until he arrived. It is his first time here and seven text directions finally got him safely to his destination.

The old house is on the market, viewing is slow, it is a buyers market but we are not in any great rush. If it doesn't sell before the new year we shall let it, but I notice an impatience in the girls to have it gone and to get to move up here full time. This pleases me, it tells me that they have enjoyed living without the 'rents, but as ED said to me the other day "I look forward to coming in from work of a winters evening and having a Mum cooked meal". Y-e-r-s-h! Well, that will happen, of course, but Mum has gained her independence too, and a life, so don't forget your cook books my darlings. Here's the number of the local Chinese takeaway, girls, 01-23456789 - just in case.

04 October 2010

Building - the new Yoga

At the moment I am sitting in the study, surrounded by the contents of the dining room, and half the sitting room. Things have progressed on the build at a rapid pace and the roofers started today; hence the big clearance from the other rooms. In order to sit here and blog, I am lying half sideways and reaching around a tipsy pile of magazines...really must sort and dump them!

We are hoping now that all will be done and dusted by the end of November, and that Christmas should see us warmed by the new range, cosseted with more space and enjoying our turkey on Christmas day, without a mile hike from kitchen to table!

Peter has the patience of Job, and I have discovered that I am a frustrated blocklayer, I would love to be in there doing all those bits and pieces...so I curb my enthusiasm and head for the carpet shop to pick out a nice lino for the kitchen floor. I can not believe how fast things are going, long may the pace last.

My friend, the one who likes to tell me I don't know anything about everything, called up the other day. On the phone she told me that she would be giving me helpful and practical tips on how to survive a build, "seeing as how you have never experience anything like this before". I wondered aloud to myself "what was that thing we got done in the old house?" still, she means well, and I haven't the heart to trample on her dreams of her version of a perfect world. She was a little disgruntled to find out that there is such progress on the build, rather than feeling frustrated, at wits end and full of venom towards the builder, I am getting on like a house on fire with him, and instead of all things being higgeldy piggeldy in the study, there is actually a retrieval system in place - despite yoga like sitting to use the computer. Well, you can't make an omlette without breaking eggs can you.

Ah well, away with me now to enjoy myself watching the progress, do some laundry and leave you with a few of my favourite pics...