Your Place: Seeking a teacher of thatching

McClatchy-Tribune Information Services

If you could wrap the Internet around fish or use it at the bottom of the birdcage when you were done with it, queries such as the following would probably never come up.

But the Internet is forever, and so a story I wrote on an Irish thatcher working briefly in America in 1995 recently brought a question from a reader in Lancaster interested in learning this ancient art of roofing a house.

The thatcher, Hugh O’Neill, long ago returned to Tir Na Fhia in the Irish-speaking Connemara in western Ireland. In 1996, we rented the drystone cottage on his property for a week, but I haven’t been in touch since.

Because I don’t like to disappoint readers, I have emailed O’Neill to see whether there is a group here that offers thatching classes, because the reeds he used on a prizewinning creation at the Chelsea Flower Show in New York came from the marshes outside Odessa, Del.

If I hear from O’Neill, I will let you know.

If there are any thatchers who teach classes in the Philadelphia area, email me, and I will broadcast the news.

In another matter, one of the two 80-plus-degree days we experienced in early March found me waiting for the Route 100 Line to get back to Norristown from Bridgeport on the other side of the Schuylkill.

The platform was filled with swarming insects of some kind (didn’t get their names) that annoyed me and others and seemed to thrive in the warm sunlight.

The insects reminded me that termites start their activities in the spring around here, and that the National Pest Management Association offers a host of suggestions on how to deter the little dears.

One of the association’s tips is to keep basements, attics, and crawl spaces well ventilated and dry.

Another is to repair leaking faucets, water pipes, and air-conditioning units outside the house.

And still another is to repair fascia and soffits and rotted roof shingles.

Get a termite inspection every one to three years — annually if there has been a previous termite infestation in your home.

That last suggestion is from the pest-management association, not from me. Just to be clear.

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