It was time for a break. Poppy’s personal physician declared her fit to travel – 16 is a good age for a Burmese cat – so Alison and I headed for the ferry at Troon and here we are.

Donegal fascinates as always. I can’t resist these ‘Wake’ signs – I know that there have always been wakes in the Irish countryside. But, in the name of progress, these official and almost permanent signs have appeared. Look beyond the sign to the beauties of a wild fuschia hedge on the roadside just above Dunfanaghy.

Another essential element of Donegal life has been addressed – I got into the field where Francis was spreading fertiliser and we had our regular conversation about the possibility of emptying the septic tank and making good the slight blemish in its structural integrity with a touch of quick-hardening cement. The answer promised action ‘after the August fair’. And that of course means the Church of Ireland fair which raises a substantial part of the parish income. Leave aside the ‘how to finance your parish questions’ …… this reminds us that we are in the historic province of Ulster, although in the Irish Republic. There is a substantial Protestant population here and the community is well integrated – the whole community supports the Church of Ireland fair.

So the latest strand of the Bogstead sagas is under way – and the Irish Government has just required all septic tanks to be registered. Perhaps they share my obsession and are going to create a new sort of Domesday Book

That’s the charming side of Irish life today – the rather bracing way in which Ireland is dealing with the aftermath of the financial meltdown follows …