• Daily Life

    Moving 2018: Goodbye, Manor House

    Things have not gone particularly right today.

    Bank would not allow a standing order of sufficient magnitude to be set up online to pay rent. Went to bank.

    Ran into friend on the way. Lovely to see her! 20 minute delay on way to bank.

    Cannot set up standing order at bank kiosk either. Eyed customer service. Concluded they were the wrong people to talk to. Went to cashier.

    Stood in line several minutes for cashier. Turns out I should have gone to customer service. Customer service helps me. STILL cannot set up standing order of sufficient magnitude, but once it goes thru (3-5 business days for God’s sake) I can AMEND it to correct amount.

    Decide I had better go straight to old house to do final walkthrough w/letting agent.

    Realize I have forgotten old house key. Return home to get it.

    Leave again to catch train.

    Get message from Ted that main train station is closed due to security alert.

    Cannot get to secondary train station in time. Run for the bus.

    Miss the bus by seconds. Next one gets me there 10 minutes late, never mind transit time from bus station to old house. Also I have no cash to pay a taxi driver, which will delay me even more once I get there. Altho it didn’t, bc I basically had the driver drop me off at the cash machine, paid him, and walked the remaining 300 meters.


    Furthermore, Bus Eireann buses nauseate me, so I sat very quietly with my eyes closed breathing deeply, but at least I listened to Jim Byrnes’ latest album, which I’ve had for months but haven’t listened to because I’m really bad about listening to music.

    Arrived at the house at 4:30. Estate agent was new, had never seen the place before. Was satisfied with the cleanliness of the house (even if my mother’s ghost is staring at me in disapproval). Estate agent was agog at the need of modernisation in the house. Even more agog at the ENORMOUS SETTLEMENT CRACKS in the walls, ceilings, corners…

    He had no idea what they plan to do with the place, but said all he needed was the keys and we’d be good to go. I handed him the keys, walked out, and Reader, I did not look back.

  • Gardening

    a brief panicked spate of gardening


    I’m afraid I’m probably the kind of gardener who is only going to garden if it’s stuff one sows directly. Or, at least at this early stage in my gardening career, that certainly appears to be true. Which is fine, really. The fact that I got potatoes into the ground a month ago is a great triumph!

    In fact, it looks like we have 28 potato plants, and I think we planted 32 or 36, so that’s quite good. Better than I expected! (“Catie,” a friend said, “you live in Ireland.”)

    Anyway, since it’s the LAST MOMENTS OF MAY I went forth and planted PURPLE carrots and (yellow) corn. I have purple broccoli and purple green beans (they apparently turn green when they’re cooked, which is kind of disappointing) and…a whole bunch of other stuff, in fact (most of which is not purple :)), so I should spend some more quality time digging up the other little planting plot in the front garden & see what I can fit in. I bet I should just cut to the chase and get some planting boxes for stuff like lettuce, anyway. And perhaps for my wee crop of purple POTATOES. (I’m in to purple food this year, apparently.)

    I would show you a picture of my little garden, but for some reason I can’t get it to upload. Maybe next time. :)

  • Actual Manor House,  Gardening

    Garden Ambitions

    I have Ambitions about the garden. My Ambitions probably require a wood chipper, a chainsaw, a tiller, whatever one uses to pull (reasonably small, because I wouldn’t try to deal with the big trees) stumps/roots out, and as many willing bodies as is feasible, to accomplish.

    See, half of it garden is gone to wild, and was before we moved in here. I don’t even necessarily mind that it’s wild. It’s that it’s murderous, full of brambles (which at least produce blackberries) and nettles (which don’t). I’d like to reduce it to non-murderousness. I don’t have any PLANS for it beyond non-murderousness, not really

    (except the blackberry bramble patch would probably make a good area for a small vegetable garden)

    it’s just that I want it to not leap out and attack random passers-by. But if that’s going to be done it might as well be done right, and if it’s going to be done right it’d probably be silly to not at least put grass down, or something.

    There’s far too much of it to be done, realistically. It’s…well.


    That’s probably…I don’t know. I mean, from that angle, it’s 60 feet deep, but that’s looking toward the corner from where I was standing. Facing straight back it’s at least 20, maybe 30 feet deep from where I’m standing to the fence blocking the creek. And it’s at least a hundred feet long, so it’s just…a lot of ground. Too much. Except, y’know, if you’re gonna do it at all… #sigh

    Even so, just dealing with the first…15 feet of depth?


    There’s a fence running along the left of this picture, more or less (more or less) where the earth stops. Taking that out and clearing even just the five or so feet in front of it and the ten behind it would get rid of MOST of the brambles and nettles and it’d…just be a lot better. *sigh*

    The whole mess is made worse by the fact that when pieces of the apple tree fell off last year, the gardener just threw them right over the edge of the fence in the clearest patch (which had been my blackberry patch, god damn it):


    so what was bad the year before is much worse now because it’s got an entire extra dead tree lying on top of it. #sigh

    And of course the longer it goes on the worse it’ll get, so I would LIKE to deal with it, but…agh. :/ And it should be done NOW, before spring really kicks into gear, and…agh!

  • Cooking

    a feast of strawberries

    I was in town yesterday and saw a fruit vendor with 1-kilo flats of strawberries for €5 each, which I thought was an excellent deal. I bought two, came home with them, and went back out not much later to get (other things also, but) four more.

    The young lady at the booth looked at me a bit askance when I came up and asked for four flats. I explained I was making jam, and she said, “Oh! Okay. I was wondering if you maybe had a bit of an addiction.” I said, “I don’t like to talk about it,” and she laughed and said she had a 3 kilo box for €10, and did I want that. I did, so I bought, er, 7 kilos of strawberries yesterday, and hulled them all and froze them in jam-batch-sized portions and very soon now I’ll make them into jam. Except the ones that are going into a strawberry-rhubarb crumble this afternoon.

    We have concluded to our satisfaction that at least one of the apple trees has Brambly apples, which are meant to be good cooking apples. I’ve been pointed at a site on how to make pectin from apples, and we’re going to have so many apples I’m more than a little tempted to give pectin-making a shot, just for the hell of it. I can’t find any recipes online that really seem to use it, but I do have at least two pre-1950 cookbooks, so I should look in those. If I do all of that successfully I’ll post recipes and stuff, as I seem to recall there are quite a few jam-makers reading my blog. :)

    Even if I don’t go the pectin-making route I’m going to have So Many Apples. I’m going to have to freeze zillions of them. I shall regret not having a chest freezer before this is all over, I can tell, but I will persevere with what I’ve got by thinking of apple pie, applesauce, apple muffins, apple bread, apple cobbler, apple crumble, apple fritters, apple eeeeeeeeeverything, all made from apples picked in the back garden. :)

    Now I’m hungry and shall go in search of food. But not apples, because they’re not ripe yet. :)

  • Actual Manor House

    The Great Manor House Picture Post

    This is long, but I’m Showing Stuff Off, so I’m not putting it behind a cut. :)

    The house & front garden:


    The sun room (with slightly distorted child), visible to the right of the house:

    The living room end of the Long Room:

    The dining room end of the Long Room:

    The library:


    To the left is the TBR shelf before 6 weeks of no net.

    The TBR shelf after 6 weeks of no net:

    The kitchen:




    My (the, but mostly my :)) office:

    My beloved Captain’s Chair:

    Guest room:

    The back garden, in all its glory, from about the midway point of the garden:

    From the far end of the garden:

    The swingset we installed first thing upon moving in:

    A garden full of housewarmers (the children all stayed inside, the adults all hung around outside, which I think is very funny :)) :

    Wall of red roses:

    Wall of many colored roses!

    Apples, just, y’know, like, growing and stuff. (Food does not grow on trees in the land of my people!)

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