“Even if you’re on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.” Will Rogers 1935 America.
Guilty as Charged
Yes, Mr Rogers, very true when linked to the line of progress and the speed at which change takes place today, right now I am in grave danger of being run over!
Just sitting there thinking about what’s to be done… choosing only to do the bits that I enjoy…and dreaming about the past… is what I often feel guilty about, or reading instead of writing that book. (That and having been in Ireland for two St Patrick days and not attended a parade yet – I’m guilty!)
The thought of Spring
As daffodils bid the winter goodbye, clustered in yellow bunches at the side of the roads for all the world, like spectators watching the St Patrick days Parade in high viz jackets, we can smell the scent of Spring in the air. Lawns are being mowed. Every sunny day finds us basking in the conservatory, not wanting to miss a minute of the glory, waiting for the rise in temperatures as the wind drops, to drag us outside to the gardening, braai fires, cold beers and wine on the patio. It is at times like this that we miss our 2 to 3 holidays abroad each year when UK weather was at a low.
As usual in my clamour to get to the balmy spring weather, and my familiar haste at making changes, I rushed out, overlooking the fact that the weather is the boss and not the seasons. Shopping done for hanging baskets and a host of young plants all waiting for this new garden to take shape. Well, last night it snowed! They survived, luckily.
It is around this time in March, too, that my memories go back to the day Phil and I met; eleven years ago. Time for the rugby six nations matches, when Ireland played England in 2006, we watched in a pub. That night he was gutted; firstly because he found out that I was actually Irish, and secondly because the Irish beat England that night, as they did again this Saturday just passed.
Who said patio? There isn’t one at Bough. As mentioned in my last letter, it was one of the first discussions Phil started with me as we sat together one day inside the double glass doors. To make his point he requested a pad and pencil, where he drew a sketch of where the “no patio” should be! I then had to brave the rain and go outside to pace out the perimeter while he gave the thumbs up from inside.
A regular visitor just outside the patio doors is the neighbour’s dog, who walks about the area all day visiting gardens and pavements like a nomad. Phil is a fan, and “Dog” comes inside on occasions to say hello. The day before the snow, a very nice young man spent the day creating our patio. Watch this space for changes and improvements to come. No…. we don’t let grass grow under our feet….
Once the bird feeders and bath were set up, with my littlest granddaughter’s help, it was many days before we saw any birds come near. Plenty of birdsong in the morning when guests were still trying to sleep! But no birds all day. It seems that the country birds are used to foraging not like the city slickers in Carlow that were on the lookout for takeaways. There the bistro was a huge hit; here an unnecessary unknown.
But four tiny birds started to come some days later, my bird book said they were wrens, soon we had finches and of course eventually no shortage of the scavengers from the sky, the crows; be they rooks or ravens and then too the magpies once the action was spotted! Pestering the little finches, robins and others. Now it’s a regular feeding hole! Bough Bistro!
Summer Projects-Keeping it country
Now that the patio is completed, all that remains is for it to be personalized. A few warm days are promised towards the end of the week. The delivery of a new shed to complete the grounds should be this week, however I won’t hold my breath; it is as if they are doing us a favour selling us one.
It took three visits to the display site to get served, then their credit card machine was out of order. The first visit – there was no one to serve me. I rang back in the afternoon only to be asked, what time I had I been there. “Ahh, he says, I would have been havin’ me steak and chips then!” The next time – I waited in the rain for ten minutes while he chatted with a young couple with his arms folded taking no notice of me.
I know that I should be patient….and I knew that coming to Ireland would be slower….. and WE are retired…. so please take it calmly and wait… But come on! Customer service, guys!
Hey, a positive!! Could this be a new job for me! Running customer service courses, because they sure need to have a few things explained. This isn’t the only time my impatience with country life has got the better of me, there have been many… living life the Bough way! Let’s park it. Moan over!
No! Take parking at the local grocery shop, today…. two of the three parking exits or entrances (your choice!) to choose from; two are blocked by a truck and the third by a people carrier, parked diagonally across the entrance to the store, door open, like a getaway car. I only want bread, orange juice and sweets. Shall I risk it, waiting for the armed leader to make his escape? Loads of spaces beyond but I cannot get there! Lets wait…..but it’s not like that at all, its a lady driving the people carrier and she waved to me as she left. Smile and wave … smile and wave…
It reminded me of the days way back in South Africa when guys in bakkie’s (pick up trucks) pulled over in front of cafes to buy cigarettes and a coke, leaving the motor running and often the door open, days when to park anywhere was an option not a privlidge. There was a space and it was yours.
Know your Neighbour
The day we met the contractor who was to lay our paving slabs, he told me all about the residents of the house next door to us, as I nodded and listened, and also the occupation and name of the people who lived two doors away, saying she is a very nice woman, you should go and introduce yourself, she works with my wife. I met Tom and Paddy when I bought the slabs, so now I was told that their parents lived across the road and their Dad had died in December, and I was also told who owned all the surrounding land…..
Today I have been given a severe telling off by the man delivering a parcel… “Do those people there next door to ye not know ye’s at all? Well then, ye should get in there and introduce yer’selves!” I smiled and said we had not been here that long, but he just huffed and puffed and grumbled his way back to his van……
Guilty again as charged apparently!
“She is making a right mess of a perfectly good table!” my Dad would have said, more because of his love of wood than my first attempt at mosaic, which I punish myself with to feed my creative side. I say punish because I just keep on keeping on……with no guidance and no idea what I will do with it in the end. But it is relaxing and also may be an amazing piece of art some day. Who knows.
The first sleep-over visitors to Bough came by ferry from Wales. Two darling little grandchildren and our daughter. The visit was busy as usual and although we try not to plan in advance to keep the time as relaxed as possible. Time passed in a flash, all too soon, because we still had things to do. Maybe planning is best? With all the arts and crafts that Isabelle did manage to achieve…… We. Didn’t. Do. Jewellery. Making. No!