There is a bit of grumbling in the street and that's never happened in all the years we've lived here...not even when we had Guinea Fowl who shouted at the tops of their voices the minute the dawn was breaking...or tiny Bantam Cockerels who joined in the racket with great gusto...
The neighbours used to say how much the dawn chorus reminded them of the chickens on the farm when they were young...I'd grovel an apology and they'd rest a huge dirt begrimed hand on my shoulder and say...' not a bother and don't we love to hear them so...don't you be a fretting wan'
Everywhere is at the last stage of winter...muddy and watery and downright messy...the sides of the road are desolate altogether with not a sign of grass yet...our little field is a veritable mud bath even though we only put the donkeys out for a race about when the weather is good...
They promptly roll about in the most muddy bit ...legs waving in the air, giving off grunts of pleasure. Difficult to imagine it full of lush grass but it will be.
It's Wendy and her surroundings which everyone is noticing and more the problem...commenting on. From those who walk for their health, and others who bike the old bog roads because they enjoy it, to some who take myriad dogs out for long walks along the river banks.
It isn't just the immediate neighbours you see...now it is those who we think of as neighbours but who might live a couple of miles away, who are stopping Himself and tut-tuting about the state of the place.
The horses are big, with feet the size of dinner plates...and they are confined to just an acre of land which is so churned up that the mud is up to their knees...their hay is in a big bale right outside the back door so it flies all over the road whenever the wind is strong...which it often is...and the dogs...dear Nancy and tiny little Tilly, are simply left to their own devices all the long day.
Nancy chases anything that moves...and Tilly is following in her footsteps...the horses keep getting out because the fencing isn't secure, and it's rather alarming to come across two huge horses who tend to be very people friendly if you aren't used to them...Mustapha does rather loom over one.
Steve...who has a horse of his own...was actually rather cross about how Mustapha and Princess are kept and lost no time in telling Himself that no horse ought to be kept under those conditions...
Wendy and Jay work long hours...and I suppose that can hardly be helped when you think of the commitments they have to Banks and so on...but the children are also left for long periods on their own...Caitlin is capable, but I don't think it fair to the child to be in charge of her little brothers...and to cook the meals.
So, there is a rumbling of general discontent in our little Townland...
What to do though...pretend we haven't noticed or heard the muttering...we have a spare barn plenty big enough for the horses to spend the winter but Himself won't consider it...he thinks we'd be fools to suggest it, and maybe he is right after all...could be we'd be the people feeding and mucking out and Himself has enough to do with the donkeys and I'm willing but totally unable...
And the caravan we gave Jamie? Totally inaccessible because of the thick mud and heaps of horse shite...
What would you do if it were you...?