It’s 15.45 and I’m gazing out over the cliff at the Roaring Water Bay. Why did the Irish call it that? I can’t see any roaring water. In fact, the only roaring around here is the result of the gentle coastal breeze. The North Atlantic seems pretty peaceful from where I’m standing, in the doorway of my picture window wall. Just a few white horses – tiny, compared to what I’ve seen on the North Cornish Coast.
I’ve had the keys to this sweet little place since Tuesday lunchtime, and so far all I’ve managed to achieve is to honour a couple of work-related commitments and carve some narrow navigation paths through the house.
Did we bring too much stuff over? Hell, yes! We’d rented a van for three days (one trip), and ended up having to extend the lease for the rest of the week. That should give you an idea. On top of that, there’ll be a third trip, in our own truck and trailer. Some things will have to be tied down on top of the trailer, too.
Will it all fit in? Hmm… Maybe. If we buy a shed or two… large ones!
What does the house look like? Here you go:
I took this pic not three hours ago, as soon as the storm passed over – and I mean storm! – and just after I put some towels in the wash. Notice the blue sky? It was black all morning. Then, within ten minutes – the wind dropped and it’s solid sunshine. I could get used to this!
I waved hubby off at the first gate and closed it behind him. I watched him stop the van before the second gate, across the field, and get out to open it. Then back in, drive over to the other side, stop, get out and close the gate again. Two down, two to go. On he went over the hill to gate number three. At least I know we won’t get many cold-callers or Jehovah Witnesses here. No traffic noise at all, other than the ferry to the islands around here.
Camera at the ready, I tried to keep my hand steady as the wind did its best to make me believe I had developed Parkinson’s overnight.
Just a bit of wind. I knew it would be windy. It’s a top-of-the-cliff location, with water on three sides – what else could I expect?
Oh. Washing machine stopped. 2.14 and my first towel is on the line. Horizontal. I have a little think and decide that between the wind and the direct sunshine, the lot would be done in about an hour. Sure, the line looks like it’ll snap any minute now, but all I need is sixty lots of sixty seconds. Surely, it will last that long.
2.16 and I managed to tether a thin hankie alongside the towel. The towel is hanging by one of its pegs by now, looking like escape is its dearest wish. I reconsider my scant knowledge of physics and rearrange the towel in such a way that it’s almost doubled over. There’s no let-up in the wind, the darned thing is still horizontal, so it should stay on the line even without pegs, shouldn’t it? Just in case, I give it three.
2.22 and it’s time to hang the rest, or I may as well stand out there in the yard for the whole hour, holding towels to the wind. It takes all my strength and all the pegs in my pockets, but finally they’re all up. I decide I’d better err on the side of caution, and I nip inside to rummage through drawers for more pegs, but not before counting the items on the line – see? I’m not stupid. I am capable of foresight. Fourteen, ranging from hankie to full bath sheet in size.
2.26 and I’m staring at eight towels. The wind buffets me and I skip forward a few steps before I catch myself and dig my heels in. I’m not going to be blown about by any type of breeze, Atlantic or not! I’m not a weakling!
A quick scouting session in amongst wild rose bushes overgrown with nettles and old ivy and lichen-covered ruins unearths five of the six missing items. Ok. Not bad. I can work with that.
Back to the line, and by 2.33 I have them all lined up nicely, untwisted, and re-pegged with about one peg every couple of inches. That should hold them. On disentangling the bath towel, I discover the hankie. It’s already dry. Yeah! I like this. I shove it in my pocket and pause, one foot on the doorstep, to re-check and re-count my washing. Thirteen items.
Nothing to worry about; I’m not superstitious.
Happy, I walk inside and click the kettle on. As I drop the spoon in the sink, movement at the edge of my peripheral vision makes me turn on the spot. Whack! The bath towel smacks hard on the kitchen window. In the next moment the whole washing line, complete with towels, disappears from view. It’s gone!
I rush outside, coffee forgotten, to discover all is not as bad as previously envisaged. My washing was not blown away. It has merely been blown about on the gravel. It’s all still there, thankfully. The line simply snapped in the middle.
Decision time: do I attempt to re-attach the line or do I shove the lot through the machine once again? It takes me two minutes to realise that I should attempt to dry them regardless. Wet towels don’t smell that good after a while, dirty or not. So, fix the washing line it is, then.
2.39 and I’m standing in the middle of the yard, looking at two halves of a washing line that will never meld together, no matter how much I wish they would. Ah! But I’m sure I packed a new coil of washing line. It’s in a box, somewhere.
I leave the washing where it is and rush inside, poking holes in the towers of boxes, dragging lidded containers in the middle of my pathways, digging for
gold washing line. No washing line. Where did I put it? I gawk at my man-made maze of boxes and decide I am homo sapiens, a creature of moderate intelligence. I can improvise. I can adapt. I can come up with solutions.
By 2.48 I remember seeing a coil of towing rope weighing down the lid of a box of tools. Yes! Towing rope is designed to withstand far more than washing blowing in the breeze.
I cannot move the rope without risking to lose the lid off the box which seems full of electrical cable and other water-damageable items. It’s still dry inside the box, a good sign after that mighty storm, but it won’t still be dry if the lid blows off. So, the tow rope stays.
2.52 and I’ve managed to find a way to unravel just enough rope to replace the broken washing line, and still leave the rest in place. Best of all, it’s not become a tangle, which is what I was concerned about. Phew.
I tie the end of the rope to the far end first (the highest point of some unrecognisable, long-ago-rusted farm equipment) and bring the length to the hook on the house wall. It’s just enough to reach the hook and be pulled taut by the sheer weight of the rest of the coil of rope which is still sitting on that box of tools. See? Clever!
Ah! The hook was meant to take rope the thickness of a washing line. Not tow rope. Hmm… I can perhaps use some of the old, snapped line to tie the rope to the hook.
2.58 and I have the tow rope stretched across the yard, not as taut as I’d like it, but high enough to hang things on. Now all I have to do is unwind the twisted washing off the old line and peg it on the tow rope. Easy, right?
Wrong. It’s 3.01 and I realise pegs were not designed to go on tow rope. I dive back inside and have a search through the boxes of supplies. By now, there are no more paths around the house. Just a jumble of half-open boxes and items of various descriptions thrown around everywhere.
I find them by 3.04. Not bad, hey? My old-fashioned jumbo-pegs which my kids had used to make forts out of blankets and sheets – yes, I knew I’d packed them.
I run outside and begin the arduous task of untwisting towels and re-pegging through twists of tow rope any-which-way I can, until the lot is fluttering in the wind as before, horizontal once more.
I dust off my hands and head back inside to my cold coffee. It’s 3.14 and I’ve won this battle!
I go back in to get a sun-lounger. Ten minutes later I’m back out, worried the washing has attempted to do another runner. It’s all still there. I touch the towels. Dry. All dry. Yes! I knew I could do it! I can get a good load washed and dried in less time than it took me when I used a tumble dryer. I’m loving this!
The new Sunday Feature, Tales from the Roaring Water Bay, will replace the classic newsletter-type articles I posted before. It’s been brought about by this insane need I feel to write. Honestly, since I arrived in Ireland, I’ve barely had a few minutes without wishing I could just sit down and write.
Of course, that feeling may be borne by the fact that, to me, anything is better than unpacking a whole house-full of stuff, but in all honesty I’ve been thinking about writing seriously again for a while.
I’ve re-scheduled my waking hours to allow for the bulk of my time to be spent on editing and writing, and only a tiny amount of the leftover minutes to be squandered on social media and promo tasks. For example, of the hundred Facebook groups I’m in, I’ll only keep 10-20, and only if they prove their usefulness. I’ll also set up a separate page for posting promo for other authors, as my own timeline is important to me, and I wish to use it for showcasing my own books.
The blog will receive a makeover. I’ll keep the book reviews and author shout-outs, and weed out all unnecessary articles. The content will be much more suited to indie authors – examples, resources, pep-talks, etc, will all find their way in there. I will set up a separate page for book reviews, like a catalogue of titles I’ve read, with ratings and links to the full review elsewhere in the blog.
So far, I’ve thought of the following topics – of course, they’re likely to shift, according to popularity or urgent requests from friends and fellow authors and bloggers:
Book Review Monday
Author Showcase Wednesday
Indie Resource Thursday
Cover Love Friday
Understated Values Saturday
Tales from the Roaring Water Bay Sunday
And you know those wip progress bars on the right hand side? Expect them to move, week-on-week. Procrastination is a word I have removed from my vocabulary.
Is there anything I’ve missed? Any topics you’d like to see? Let me know in a comment, below. I’m still open for suggestions.