Tuesday, 23 May 2017

The Admin System Creaked....

Another egg from 'Laundry-Pile' hen
John's weapon of choice, my Old Father Time scythe. 'Cigar'
whet-stone in his pocket, these nettles don't stand a chance
A shorter post this time as befits the fact that I should be spending more time with our guest, good friend from Kent, John W. He is with us till Thursday and shows every sign of loving the slow-paced rhythm of life here, the 'plod' of gardening and the chances to relax, walk the dogs, eat good food and quaff a few beers or sip on a nip of Kilbeggan.

We finally open up some lovely clean ground
and get a load of long overdue seedlings in.
Here kale, chard and calabrese.
Some of the time I have been working with him but some I am off in another part of the site doing something else and we just cross paths then on coffee breaks or at lunch. Then we'd be off on an errand or a mission, shopping or whatever and he was happy to come along and get a look at the local area.

John contemplates a meal of duck in Guinness sauce
On Monday this ended up being more than once, as we are currently trying to get a replacement driving licence sorted for Liz. The local licencing office may be good at many things but it is not firing on all cylinders when it comes to the unusual request by a returning Irish citizen who has lost an English licence while in Belfast and now needs an Irish licence. Add to that the fact that this lady has changed her name on marriage from her maiden name to mine but VIA, on some forms, using a double-barrelled combination of both.

The admin system creaked mightily as we tried to prove that UK-Liz and Roscommon-Liz are one and the same even though both looked identical in their pictures and had identical signatures. At one stage the clerk even asked if it would help if she took a copy of a cervical smear appointment letter (?). In the end, after 3 runs to Roscommon (an hour round trip each time) that day we sorted it with a Marriage Certificate but even that the girl had a long reluctant look at "from corner to corner", as Liz said. Now we just have a 12-week wait (!) for the document/card to appear in the post. Don't hold your breath.

If anyone is reading this blog and dreaming of making the move out here, like we did, then I would offer the following short list of advice 'bullet' points.
New tiles for the kitchen. The mark on the
middle one is just tile-dust we'd not yet
swept off. 

  • Don't change your name on marriage (taking your husband's name) and certainly not via a hyphenated combination of both names.
  • File in a special file examples of utility bills in your chosen surname for both your old address and your new - don't let your husband pay all the bills or do all the admin and leave you with no inbound letters bearing your name. 
  • Keep your passport and book all flights, car hire etc in your 'old' name. Also sign onto doctors, dentists and anything else in that name. 
  • If you have to attend any interview like this then take your passport, PPSN card, any other 'smart card' with photo ID, marriage cert etc but probably NOT your letter of appointment for a cervical smear test.
  • Don't lose your driving licence in Belfast. 
  • Drink plenty of tea or maybe some gin.
  • Be prepared for a 12 week wait anyway.  
In the middle of all this, our heroic builder-man, K-Dub, rocked up, first to cement in the step from one kitchen to the other, covering in the dish-washer waste and then to tile the kitchen floor.  He also created the step down from new kitchen to garden out of doors. The latter new cement was immediately walked on by chickens and kittens and I was thinking about painting in these prints to show them up, but heavy rain came and obliterated the prints. We (mainly K-Dub) did a really good job on this and it now really only needs grouting, skirting, 2nd-fix electrics and paint to finish the room.

Duck in Guinness sauce. 
So what else is new? The only real notable event was today nipping across to Sue and Rob's place so that they could meet John  and so that I could help/show them how to butcher up the carcass of their 'failed' ram lamb, Silas.

Silas gets reduced to kit form.
Friends of the Blog will know that that lad, orphaned and bottle fed from birth never made the size and stature of a ram capable of getting anyone's ewes pregnant and scored a big fat zero in our flock as well as in Sue's, where he has lived as 'man and wives' for his whole life excluding Nov and Dec 2016 when we borrowed him.

The amateur butchers cut out a shoulder joint
Well, it's a rough, tough world in smallholdering, Silas, and having blotted your copy-book with a nil score you then turned aggressive towards Sue and started butting her hard when ever she went into the field. Well, long story short, he went on that short trailer ride to Webb's in town and came home today in kit form. Most of him is now in the freezer but they kept a shoulder joint out for tomorrow's roast. Happy to help, Sue and Rob, and thanks for the sausage rolls and fresh (poly-tunnel) strawberry gateaux.

Nice tall fox gloves in our woods.
Well, now we sit this evening looking a bit anxiously at the sky. The ewes here have now enjoyed 2 days without rain and if we stay dry we can shear them tomorrow. John will be able to help, which he is quite looking forward to. But it has gone quite 'close' and some grey clouds are cruising through, so this plan may founder. Wish us luck.

Sausage and apple pie.

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