Last time I looked, it was the full moon; the wolf moon. This morning the moon was a quarter waning. In the blink of an eye it had rushed on through, oblivious to me, and I rushed oblivious to it. I need to force myself to stop and look.

A few nights ago the little man’s reading moved on from Hebridian archaeology and now we are onto the short, lyrical, stories from Michael Viney. Michael and his wife, Ethna, left the city life of Dublin and took up a self-sufficient-ish life in the west of Ireland. Two nights ago we read more about the misadventures and the strange other-world-ness between town and country. Last night we read his musings on the need for a slate and chalk. The need to write up the jobs on the slate, and how these jobs are not ambition but real needs and practical things. Things that are shoehorned into life and have the air of necessity, not leisure. We need such a slate. The night that I read this I was doing my pre-bedtime chores and took a few brief moments to look in the woodshed, to look at some of the previous occupants of the cottage had left in behind. Amongst the various bits and pieces of wood a lonely piece of slate lay waiting for us. Just one single monolith with two holes, perfect for stringing and hanging. There was no reason for it to be there as it is not a spare for the roof. It seems that we are to have a list after all, although we will have to work a little harder to find the chalk as it is an old relic of our jobs.

As I continued to potter I discovered the first things for the list. The garage has a cracked water pipe running along it, another water pipe has become dislodged at a joint, and the stop cock on the outside toilet seems to have given up its sole purpose in life.

The Ice moon will soon be upon us, then the moon of winds, then the growing moon. With the pulse of work this leaves little time to get ready for the spring. The outside water must be back in operation. The greenhouse must be cleared and cleaned. Old plants must have their carcases ripped up. The fruit trees must be pruned. The hedges must be cut back. And the soil must be turned and run through our hands to ready the ground, and ourselves, for the spring. I need chalk.