Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Small steps on a long journey

I'm off to Ireland for a few days again today, a country very much in the headlines for all the wrong reasons. I've visited the emerald isle on many, many occasions either for business or to indulge in my favourite pastime of drinking fishing. It pains me to see the country in such trouble and many people I talk to whilst over there are genuinely concerned not just for their own future but also for the next generation. In reality, what has happened to Ireland, nearly happened here and it was only the scale of the UK and the fact that we sit outside the single currency that prevented us from sliding down the slippery slope. My company is investing in Ireland though and I'm sure that they will come through this current crisis and emerge stronger and more resilient than before.

My heavy workload and the associated customer entertainment has forced me to re-evaluate my dietary approach and just by being careful what I eat and drink I'm now starting to shift my middle aged spread. By the time I get to Christmas I should be two stone lighter than last Christmas though inevitably I will regain a little through the consumption of mince pies and Jack Daniels. In the New Year I will quit my annoying smoking habit once and for all. To assist my notoriously piss poor will-power I will take Champix which has worked very well for me before when I gave up for a few months. I have smoked on and off (mainly on) since I was 13 and I am reaching the point where I can feel it's significant effects on my health. It has to go and in the New Year it will and I will then start to rebuild my fitness levels which tailed off in my late twenties.

Pat and Fred (my in-laws) return from France this weekend after spending six weeks out there working on the final stages of our renovation project. We have skyped regularly and have been really excited about the updates, our dining table looks amazing though our wi-fi connection does not transmit far enough for them to have shown me the Gite which our friends Matt and Helen tell us looks fabulous. In the next few weeks, the floor tiles will go down, the hot water system will be connected and when Pat and Fred return in the new year we will be on the home straight. I just need to focus on work and earning the money required to get through to completion. We have already had a number of friends, colleagues and family members interested in staying in there next year so there is a little bit of pressure on now to get it finished so we can test it next year at reduced rates and then let it out at full prices the following year.

We have an old piggery at the side of the house in its own little enclosed garden. Fred and I are evaluating various configurations of pre-assembled log cabins to replace the stone piggery (which is dilapidated beyond repair) and this will serve as additional accommodation for paying guests in the coming years.

The Old Piggery

I've said it before and I'll say it again. Pat and Fred are amazing and Mel and I are indebted to them beyond any measure. We're really looking forward to seeing them on their return and treating them for all their hard work.

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