Deep in the heart of Texas lived a little girl, who had a little curl right in the middle of her forehead. She ran barefoot in the fields, day after day, until the bottoms of her feet were black! She spun round and round til she fell to the ground, and face turned upward staring at the clouds she dreamt outrageous dreams. When she grew up she fell in love…and decided to move to Ireland!
You know those quaint stone cottages we all fall in love with, the ones that dot the Irish countryside (or used to), fueling our vision of romantic country living? Well, I live in one of those. It’s been sensitively modernized, but the interior retains the rough stone walls, now sealed with a coat of white…something. I’m not sure what the ‘white something’ is: it could be whitewash (maybe), it could be paint, it could be a substance I have no inkling of.
The sitting room has a wood stove. Wood stoves are a god send during the winter – or any time of year here in Ireland! Once those stones heat up, they radiate out delightful warmth for many hours. There is a down side though. If you know anything about wood stoves, you know they occasionally belch smoke. Smoke and the ‘white something’ do no play well together. In fact, if they spend significant amounts of time together, the stone walls eventually look like this:
Not sure how visible the soot is, but trust me -these stones look pathetic!
Having never lived in a stone house, or in a climate where treating ‘damp’ is a yearly occurrence (more on that later), I had no idea what to do. Should we paint the walls? Is there a special cleaner? Do we pray? Since I was not prepared to invest the considerable time and effort to paint these nook-and-cranny surfaces, I opted for cleaning. I got myself a sturdy, deep bristle brush and a sudsy bucket of water; moved all the furniture to the centre of the room; put down several towels under my work area, and then let the elbow grease flow.
After 2 hours, I had this:
And after 4 hours, most of the walls looked like this:
Which way to Enfield? Left. No….it’s Right. Left, I say. No….It’s Right!
Visitor Tip: If you are visiting Ireland, make sure you have a map: a real, old-fashioned map, and know how to use it! Signs are not always accurate, and GPS (no matter how smart) doesn’t know all the roads (especially boreens).
We didn’t move; in fact, we may have narrowly escaped a fate worse than…. making a cuppa, then realising you are out of milk! Yes, the townhouse overlooking the harbour in Crosshaven would have been lovely–especially on a sunny day! But when you’ve signed a lease, paid your money, and started moving bits and bobs, only to arrive on ‘The Day’ to a padlocked front gate with a hand scribbled note saying, “Do not move into this house,” you begin to feel something isn’t right in the state of Denmark (or, was that fishy?).
And such was our mis-adventure in Crosshaven.
Seems the owner saw my listing on AirBnB — we rent our spare room to the occasional globetrotter– and didn’t like it. So naturally, instead of ringing us like…I don’t know, a sane person, to either let us know she didn’t like it or ask us questions, she padlocked the gate. Like you do.
There we sat in front of the house: a car-load full of stuff and her scribbled note in hand. Himself rang her, to find out what, in the name of all that’s Green and Emerald-like, was going on. She was paranoid, unable to communicate, belligerent, and (in the language of my Little big) Cray-Cray.
It was painful. I personally can not recall a time I have been treated with so little regard or respect by a total stranger (only family is suppose to treat me that way…huh?). We considered legal action, since she was in violation of the tenancy agreement of 28 day notice. But I think it’s safe to say, Himself has decided against that course (hence, my freedom to finally write about it). Instead, we collected our rent, deposit and the items we had already moved, and began to heal our wounds.
And wounds there were–it was a traumatic experience. The owner’s behavior was abusive; it stripped us of our personal power. But more than that, it was shaming. We had been judged, and found wanting. I saw this immediately, and calmly reminded us both that we had done nothing wrong. By naming the experience, it helped us recover. But it took days! Our hearts hurt, and we both found ourselves taken with a sense of violation.
Looking back, this woman’s behavior (when we initially viewed the property) did set-off warning bells. At the time, I chalked them up to a bit of eccentricity (which I am fond of myself). However, repeatedly asking whether someone is “sure” they aren’t friends with so-and-so, accompanied by a squinty, suspicious look, is more than a little impolite–it’s downright paranoid. As is repeatedly telling prospective tenants you “don’t need to” rent your place–the implication being, you are not in need of their financial contribution and thus retain ALL personal power in the transaction. Oh, had we headed the warning signs!
Ah, well. We are now forced to spend the late spring and early summer in the glorious countryside, while flowers bud and bloom all around us. Yes, tragic…I know.
Several things came to mind while watching yesterday.
1. The leaf in Clara’s book. She said it was her ‘first page.’ Leaves come from trees, there are trees in the forest, and the paper we use to make books comes from those trees. Where do we put books? In… The Library….where River is!
2. “remember.” So much has been made of this word. It’s ability to bring things back when they have been forgotten – even lost in another universe.
3. “I don’t know where I am.” Clara says this in AOTD and in TBOSJ.
4. The spoonheads very closely resemble courtesy nodes (again, the Library), and the concept of the GI behaving like a farmer who cares for humans like they were his animals by uploading them is (again with the Library) very similar to CAL saving humans by uploading them. Hmmm.
Doctor Who: Summer Falls. By Amelia Williams
“When summer falls, the Lord of Winter will arise…”
In the seaside village of Watchcombe, young Kate is determined to make the most of her last week of summer holiday. But when she discovers a mysterious painting entitled ‘The Lord of Winter’ in a charity shop, it leads her on an adventure she never could have planned. Kate soon realises the old seacape, painted long ago by an eccentric local artist, is actually a puzzle. And with the help of some bizarre new acquaintances – including a museum curator’s magical cat, a miserable neighbour, and a lonely boy – she plans on solving it.
And then, one morning Kate wakes up to a world changed forever. For the Lord of Winter is coming – and Kate has a very important decision to make.