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Showing posts from October, 2011

Before and After

Hotel H is bursting at the seams this week; the mice are still in residence - I'd like to think there are fewer of them, but Lord knows how many more are in search of a snug new home in a cosy loft - and we have visitors. The bathroom facilities here are currently,erm, basic, which is interesting, but we did manage to finish the kitchen just hours before this week's guests arrived. 
So from this...

Through this (when you think it's never going to be finished...)

We finally got to this. Hurray.

And now, I'm boarding up the study door and writing!

(But, before I do, another quick note about the font. Since the new improved Blogger interface thingy arrived, I can't make it work and I don't have the time to fiddle with it, so, dear Blogger, the restoration of my old template would please me no end. Thank you.)

Strangers in the Night

It’s three in the morning and I wake suddenly, disturbed by the sense of something wicked happening a few feet away from me.  Paranormal activity?  Every nerve fibre’s pricking and I hold my breath and keep very still under the covers.  And there it is again; the tiny, but blood –curdling sound of claws scratching at plaster. Tom’s snoring quietly beside me, but I can’t bear to listen to this on my own. ‘Tom?’ Muffled protest.  He carries on sleeping. ‘Tom!’ Loud protest.  ‘What?’ ‘Shhhhh!  Listen!’  ‘It’s outside,’ Tom says, snuggling down. It’s true that a party of magpies have taken to tap-dancing on the flat roof of the bedroom’s dormer window but they’re much clumpier.  The scratching becomes more insistent; now it sounds as if the horrid creature’s got a pick axe and is close to breaking through. ‘That’s not outside,’ I insist. Eventually, Tom agrees that we are not alone.  It seems that the two dead mice found curled up so forlornly in a socket by our electrician in July have live relat…

Return to Ireland: Beyond the Mist

Friday 30 September
It’s our last full day at the cottage so, naturally, the mist lifts.  We seize the chance to take a look at the rugged scenery of the Ring of Beara and the spectacular Healy Pass.  It’s a bit of a whirlwind tour, but it’s wonderful to finally see the breathtaking views that are such a feature of this lovely county.  The fuchsia hedges that Fennie remembered from a trip to County Cork, and which are so characteristic of the area, line many lanes.

Ma wants to visit the wool shop in Bantry to see if she can find some emerald green wool to mix in with the blue she bought in Dingle last year.  Inside the shop, where wool tumbles out of every cupboard and shelf like a wool avalanche, she tells the owner what she’s looking for.             ‘I have some baby blue,’ says the owner.             ‘I’m looking for emerald,’ says Ma.             ‘Beige?’ the owner offers, plunging into a woollen lucky dip.  ‘Brown?  Red?  Black?  Purple?’             After Ma has rejected what feels …

Return to Ireland: Part Two

Tuesday 27 September, contd.
‘Stop! This is me!’our new friend announces some four very smelly miles down the road as we reach the village of Goleen. Tom opens the door to see him out and they shake hands.
   ‘What?’ Tom asks, climbing back in to find me and Ma sending him accusing stares.
   ‘I could have been knifed!’ Ma says, with ghoulish relish, even though she’s laughing.
   ‘Oh, he was mostly harmless,’ says Tom.
   ‘But smelly,’ I add. ‘I was nearly sick.’
   ‘Well, I couldn’t smell anything,’ says Tom, winding down the window to allow the lingering miasma to escape.
   'I just hope he didn’t have fleas,’ says Ma, as if we’ve picked up a stray cat.

At Barley Cove, Tom and I take a walk along the swaying pontoon bridge that conserves the dunes. Ma’s poor brittle back and injured arm mean that she’s too fragile these days to risk joining us, but she’s happy to sit in the car and wait, albeit still clucking about the low standard of boyfriend material we’ve procured for h…

Return and Return to Ireland

Hello. I dropped off the radar for a while there, didn’t I? The trials and tribulations have continued at Hotel H, along with a dollop of heartache caused by a stone flying into the deep, dark Pool of the Past, creating quite a few ripples. We’ve also been hit by the great ‘BT Service Outage’, resolved after five days, not by technology, but by the application of a sharp object to the router. And we’ve also been back to Ireland with Ma, but this year’s experience has been, well, different...

Sunday 25 September
Wake up in Bantry, West Cork, to an abundance of soft rain. Somewhere outside is a view, although the mist is so thick it’s hard to tell what it might be. Never mind, the view inside is interesting too, with plenty of fierce ornaments to keep us entertained. The cottage is large and well-stocked, although the initial fridge-like temperature that comes from the place not having been occupied for a couple of weeks, means we have to burn a small peat bog to stop our teeth chatte…