Well, here I am, back in Ireland again. As I'd envisaged, it is very cold. Not so much the weather outside but the cottage inside. Stanley was lit as soon as we arrived and promptly filled the cottage with plumes of smoke. Front and back door open, which rather defeated the point of firing him up. A few hefty wallops on his chimney did little to improve performance, so we let him go out. Lit the calor gas fire and switched on the 2 electric ones. We actually unloaded the car, which we normally leave until the morning, but it was strangely light here. We had left Worthing at 8.30am and finally arrived in our cottage at 11pm, so it's a long, long journey.
Having scoffed a sausage sandwich, we wrapped up and collapsed into bed. This morning Jim gave Stanley a de-coke and he worked much better, with only a little flurry of smoke at the start. The cottage is finally beginning to warm up a bit.
We were also greeted by various bits of shredded carpet in the snug, an equally shredded bin liner and other evidence of occupation while we'd been in the UK. We have a mouse or rat... Once in bed, we could hear some scraping noises downstairs and the carpet was being attacked again, but when I opened the door, the rodent had vanished. We upturned both settees today and gave them a good bash - enough to dislodge any self respecting rat, but no sign. I later peered into the fireplace, the top of which is blocked up. Around the bottom, though, were 2 holes, easily large enough for ratty doors. Jim duly filled them with stones and cemented them up. Hopefully our carpet should survive the night.
So it was not the best start to our return, a smoking Stanley and a resident rodent. It can only get better. Jim set up the computer tonight. We are sharing one as he forgot some connection for his laptop. Luckily he's back to the UK soon for a meeting so can pick up the missing lead.
Watched a Kevin Costner film 'Guardian' tonight, about the US Coastguard service. It was quite entertaining and full of action. Worth a look if you get the chance. I also knitted a hat for one of Jim's daughters for Christmas. Will make another one for his other daughter tomorrow.
Rotten headache tonight. Hardly surprising.