Monday 25 February 2013

A Kind of Inheritance

My previous post describes the unearthing of a tractor-mounted fertilizer spinner / spreader from the bank at the west end of the (now) Pond Garden and way back I have spoken of a horse drawn hay rake found in the same bank and hedge. These are all part of the charm and interest we have obtained by buying this place, an abandoned farmhouse and surrounding fields. It is our inheritance, if you like, and we have both been very struck by the fact that we have taken custody of a piece of history. We both feel very strongly that we must treat the house and land with respect, keeping it and improving it till we eventually hand it on ourselves to the next custodian(s).

The house, particularly, feels in a way which is hard to define, as if it has a soul or a spirit which we must try to make feel secure and to please. We hope that we have completely gutted the place and renovated in a sensitive way, somehow bringing it new life and warmth. This might all sound a bit weird and spiritual compared to my normal shallow, superficial warblings and I may not be describing it very well, but as we lit the first fires and sent our first warmth and smoke up the chimneys and started to see the rooms and walls dry out, we were both saying things like 'There! That's better, isn't it, house?' and we always wished it well as we went off for the weekends during the build and tried to re-assure it that we were not abandoning it again.

Too weird? Ah well. The previous owner and dweller we have called TK Min in this blog, TK being his initials; 'Min' for him being the son. This farm has been owned and run by the K family going back generations; they were definitely here in the 1901 census, and Dad (TK Max) and Grand-dad, along with Mum and Grandma are all buried in the fine family grave along in the local village cemetery. Grand-dad and Grandma died 1955 and 1963 respectively, TK Max in 1987 and his wife in 1962. 'Our man', TK min died just over 3 years ago on the 18th Feb 2010 although he had moved out of the farm around 10 years ago and the farm has been out of use and not lived in since then.

We never met any of these people. We know a bit about them from talking to local folk and have read the exciting newspaper stories of their instant fame when having their car hi-jacked by the robbers in a local bank raid in which 2 policemen were shot and killed. Our dealings have been with TK Min's sister, our 'Vendor Anna' who was involved with selling us the place on behalf of the estate following TK's passing. We have since become firm friends. There are two other sisters, hence the 'Three Sisters' described in this blog during the conveyancing, but we have yet to meet them also.

So, it was in this way that we came to 'inherit' our beautiful house and the wonderful grounds - the fields, walls, trees, the yard, the 'Secret Garden', the cattle race, the Tígín and milking/calf sheds that we love so much. In terms of physical contents, naturally most of it had been cleared away for the sale, but we also inherited a few bits and pieces and tools - a kitchen knife and an enamel, cream-coloured roasting dish, a couple of pitch forks and the hay rake. A rather nice plate and some personal papers including TK Max's "An Garda Síochána" (The Irish Police Force) membership card and newspaper cuttings, we have passed to Vendor Anna.

Until last week, that was about it. Then we were talking to Anna's Paul about the fact that I had fried my chain saw engine and needed a new one. Paul very generously volunteered the machine in his shed, a nearly new Stihl which originally belonged to none other than our own TK Min! The little we know of TK Min does have him as rather a nervous guy and no-one can actually imagine him using a chain saw. Paul is also not a great fan of these tools, so he has not used it either; nor did he intend to start, so this one is probably about 6 years old (says our man at Stihl Main Dealer, East Brothers of Boyle) and will not have turned a crank for most of those 6 years.

We are delighted of course and very grateful to Anna and Paul as it saves me buying a new one for €370+. I have whizzed it straight round to our chainsaw genius, Felix-the-Fix to check it over, service it and (mainly) re-assure me that it is safe to use. It even came with the instruction book. I have used some of the saved money to treat myself to a pair of those kevlar, chain-saw safety trousers as, in general, I prefer life with both legs.

There you have it then; our inheritance and our plans for its custody and enjoyment.


mazylou said...

I am glad you have bought sensible trouserings to handle that beast. The guys who took down my pine looked very fetching in theirs.

Matt Care said...

Yersssss. The H+S rules (and therefore, in this case, the sensible advice) for 'Arboreal working' which is monkeying around up trees with ropes, carabiners etc, say your kevlar protection must go all round the legs and you must wear safety boots with Kevlar tops. Ground working you only 'need' kevlar on the front of your legs and do not need the boots. Bizarrely there is no requirement for chest and upper arm protection at all, so your guys could have done the Diet Coke break thing....