Tuesday 25 April 2017

Between Visits

Apple blossom
Snow and hail showers come driving in today on a bitter northerly breeze to remind us that it's not quite summer just yet despite all the blossom and the blue-sky days. We are in "between visits" mode (If the gap between reigns is an interregnum, might this be an "inter-hospes"?) these couple of days having delivered Mum in Law home on Friday and expecting our UK guests (Mazy-Lou and Airy Fox) this afternoon. It is a chance to change all the beds and get a bit of laundry through and to spruce up the house a bit.

Not an easy picture but can you see the 'smoke' of pollen
top left which billows away from these black spruce (Picea
) male flowers at this time of year. 
Meanwhile what counts for 'normal' life round here, goes on. The need to renew car insurance comes round again and this year the process in Ireland is mired in scandal and near-riot outrage as (all) the insurance companies hike rates by amounts that make the national news, fill the radio airwaves on chat shows and cause questions to be asked in "The House".

Car insurance renewal. 
Rates for most people have gone up way above inflation, in some cases by as much as 50% or even more than doubling. Friends with small cars and (touch wood) long clean licences and no-claims history are finding that their renewals cost €1200, up from an already hefty €450 last year. Well-meaning Brits are yelling "shop around!" The hikes are blamed by the industry on a surge in claims including mischievous calls for compensation for 'whip-lash' but we have heard that it is more likely that the industry is in the poo having invested heavily in a planned change to compulsory medical insurance. When that government initiative foundered, the insurance firms lost their shirts and are now having to "gouge" their existing captive market to recover.

Our Brian John Spencer "originals" now
nicely framed and on the landing wall.
What ever the story they have, between them (The industry, Government and news media) neatly accomplished an unprecedented and amazing feat. They have messed with my head so much with all the horror stories and anxiety, that I was actually relieved and delighted when I opened my own envelope and found that my increase was "only" 14% or €66. Yes. I actually did a goal-scorer, closed fist 'Yessssss!' I made a little comment to this effect to the FBD lady when I phoned to renew; I got the distinct impression she had had such 'feedback' before!

Wild Burrow gin available at Lidl eventually.
Also in the 'battling with suppliers' department this week a mildly more amusing and way less fraught scrap around gin. Now I'm not a great gin person but it is currently Liz's nip of choice so we always try to have in the house a bottle of the "house stuff" with fancier brands for special occasions. Lately that means Lidl supermarket's generic "Castlegy gin" for hum-drum and trips further afield for quality.

Sweet woodruff doing well here in a tractor-tyre.
A couple of weeks back Lidl were all over Facebook and Twitter promoting the fact that they we re-launching an older 'quality' brand (used to be "Rabbit Island") as "Wild Burrow". Great, we thought. I will pick some of that up at the next shop. However, while plenty of city folk came on social media having tried it and enjoyed it, our local branches never seemed to get any. We suspected that the much-publicised launch had only gone to the busier branches and that out here in the sticks, we had been left out.

Cherry blossom
Well, guys, if you are going to publicise it out here, then you have to be prepared for some Facebook and Twitter grumbling and bad publicity if you fail to deliver. I pinged off a series of 'tweets' and FB posts tagging @LidlIreland but to no avail until, we were amused to see, our new chum Senator Frank Feighan re-tweeted my comment. Did I now have official Senate backing for my campaign??? OK, I doubt it but hey, as if by magic, Wild Burrow gin suddenly arrived in our local Lidl. I thanked FF of course, but he just joked that he doubted if his R/T did any good but he was happy to support gin drinkers anywhere. Good Man Frankie!

Will our birds be allowed out any time soon after the
Avian Flu shenanigans? In the UK they already have the
all clear. 
And while we are tilting at windmills, we wonder whether the Ministry here in charge of agriculture will declare an 'all clear' on the Avian Flu thing any time soon. We note that in the UK, the Min of Ag have declared theirs. The feeling here is that the Irish are just waiting till their next review date, which would be 30th April.

Meanwhile a couple of bits of catch up. First up, the olde hen 'Enda' named in the last post did not pop her clogs that day and is still with us. She is quiet and sorry looking but she is alive and currently 'rooming' with poor aul' Doris, the hen mentioned in an even earlier post ( http://deefer-dawg.blogspot.ie/2017/03/the-quality-of-mercy.html ), the pair living in a redundant rabbit run with a cosy dark bedroom section.

Shopping for building materials again. Plaster (skim), skim-bead
and scrim tape. 
Last but not least, the play. Our Final Night (Saturday just gone) went brilliantly - maybe the best of the lot. The cast and crew played a blinder and were rowdily supported by a loud and enthusiastic audience. It was hugely well received over all and anyone involved is now riding a wave of kudos around the village. My part was small (moving furniture and opening/closing curtains) but even I got button holed in the pharmacy yesterday.... "It's your wife that did the play, isn't it? It was just BRILLIANT!" Indeed it was and all involved are very proud of what 'we' did.

1 comment:

Anne Wilson said...

The restrictions have now been lifted Matt.