Month 4 in the Shepherd house!…

It feels like longer than 4 months strangely.

So this morning I went to get the headlights focused on the car so it’ll pass the NCT to be told it’s better to have it done just before as a slight bump can affect them…how silly is that? That it can fail because you go over a bump..anyway! We’re going back next week to have them done.

We’ve also been outside again, I’ve done a bit of digging, J has been using the loppers (he really enjoys it) and littlest has been playing. Chris hasn’t been very well at all and has been off work and in bed, he has a sickness bug we think. He must be ill, he’s refused nearly all food and drink apart from water 😶

It’s a lovely day, it’s meant to be cloudy but it isn’t. It was a shame to come in. In fact J is creating because I’ve just brought them in…

starting a little bit of an experiment outdoors, nothing major but I’ll see how it goes! (see above circle). more to come…I’m still deciding on the exact plan..

The soil is majorly wet on the back of the veg plot so I’ve tried to cut a bit of drainage into the bed I’ve dug. It’ll hopefully dry out again over the next few days.

it’s so strange what you find when you’re digging, today it was a little clear bottle and some cutlery.

and before anyone says it, no I don’t think the cutlery is worth anything.

The bottle is a lot smaller and cuter then it looks there.

I’ve decided I need to start painting the walls soon…I may start with our bedroom (as soon as it becomes a bedroom and I’m not going to step on a plane…)

really need to get a shed sorted!..

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It’s April!

Time seems to be flying by. Over the past week Chris has been getting used to his new job, we’ve had a skip delivered and have already filled:

The boys have been playing out a lot. It is fantastic for them here, they just run about and explore and play:

We went out for the day on Sunday to Lough Key (pronounced Loch). It was the first time we have been out for the day just to relax really since we’ve been here. It’s just been so busy, we haven’t made the effort until now. It was such a great day, there’s forests to walk through and Lough Key itself, and a cafe and play area (much to J’s delight). It was needed and it was great. It might sound a bit weird but it was also great seeing trees like oak, chestnut, ash and beech again. Round us there’s a lot of pine and I missed those trees! There are birch and ash around, they just seem to get subdued by the pine sometimes.

I think I mentioned before we’ve had one of the cars almost sorted:

new number plates! Love the Irish spelling of Leitrim. But we are still waiting for the other car to be sorted, apparently we are waiting for some sort of code, then we can go back to the VRT office again… and get the new reg plate number. The above car also needs to pass the NCT (MOT equivalent) because it failed. Chris is picking the parts up tonight and then hopefully doing the work at the weekend. It’s tricky for him juggling everything now he’s working full time but we are prioritising and I’m doing as much as I can at home too. He’s done so much already since we’ve been here it’s quite remarkable.

lastly! We found a garden centre, It’s near Lough Key, called Ardcarne. Someone from church recommended it. So we’ve now got our pots and compost so planting will begin this week. Yay! It’s also good to see the things we’ve planted so far, starting to bud and get leaves, despite the fact it’s been so wet and windy.

(I know rhubarb grows just about anywhere, but it’s so nice seeing something edible growing.)

Finally. I really missed my mum on Sunday. It is good here, but there’s also very hard parts. Especially since the recent death of my dad. I sometimes (quite often) feel like I’m still on catch up, like we’ve moved here, but my brain hasn’t really caught on or up yet. It was a bigger decision than I thought originally, moving here. It’s the right place for us to be I think, it’s just difficult when it affects others.

look up!

You have said, “Seek my face.” My heart says to you, “Your face, LORD, do I seek.” (Psalm 27.8)

It’s sunny again!

It is indeed! It’s been a lovely day today, I took the boys for a walk up the lane and it was gorgeous, there are primroses coming up everywhere. The boys loved it, it was a little difficult keeping littlest to where I wanted him, he was all over the road, looking, picking things up, lying down when he didn’t want to go in a certain direction. He’s certainly found his legs. It was fun. J didn’t want to go for a walk and then when he did he loved it too. It was also good as because we were out and about we got to meet another of our neighbours that we hadn’t yet met.

We’ve nearly got one of our cars sorted at last! The transfer of residence came through which meant we didn’t have to pay VRT (vehicle registration tax), which means in turn it now has Irish number plates (you get given the new number and you have to get the plates sorted yourself) and we have got it taxed and insured here. It just needs to pass the NCT (national car test) now. We are waiting for the code to come through for our jeep so we can get the new registration number for that too. I’m hoping we can transfer the MOT over, we will see. It was a bit of a shock when we taxed the Alto, road tax in the UK was £30 a year, here it is nearly 300 euros. Quite a difference. Swings and roundabouts maybe, there are things that cost more and things that cost less here.

Our new Irish driving licenses came through too, everything just in time for Brexit, if it ever happens. A customs officer at a checkpoint stopped Chris when he had dropped me off at the airport a few weeks ago, it was ok when Chris explained we were waiting for our transfer of residence, but he told Chris to get the cars sorted before Brexit or we wouldn’t be able to and they have been. We also got told that in a no deal Brexit we wouldn’t be able to drive as residents in Ireland on our UK licences, so it’s good that they’re sorted too. We had to get a medical report each though to keep one of the classes. It was so easy to get the doctors appointment, we got it the next day! Must be because people have to pay to go to the doctors. Again, positives and negatives….

Blah

Been feeling absolutely &£&));;”!! today, physically and mentally, so thought I’d focus on some nice things:

a doorway that caught my eye in Drumshanbo on our way through..

our boys playing outside ❤️

Snail shells that J has been collecting today.

My evening view from the little wood when I went to get the dog.

The panoramic view from the top of our field, I sat on a big rock and stayed there for ten minutes just looking:

I needed those ten minutes to get a bit of perspective back and just have a little break. (The dog also needed a run.). It is certainly beautiful here. It’s also quite remarkable that we are here at all. #gottabeGod

So, what have we been up to?

Where to start today? well, basically whilst I was away in England Chris was really busy doing stuff here so I think I’ll stick to that mainly, today. Whilst we were away he almost finished strimming our field:-

He also got a big delivery of plants to plant, even in the pouring rain:

This was the delivery:

So he planted all those up and they are actually doing really, really well. It’s a bit of an experiment this year, to see what thrives and what doesn’t. We’ve chosen most plants that don’t mind acidic soil and a wet climate but with others such as annual flowers that we will soon sow, we may just give them a try and see what happens. We’ve just ordered our seeds from Higgledy Garden, so we’re very excited to get those soon and hopefully start planting.

We came home, this was how I kept two small children occupied on the plane I’m afraid:

This is back at Knock Airport:

It was good to see Chris and drive home:

Since we got home we have also bought a topper and a box for Chris’s tractor and had them delivered:

Had stones cleared out of the field in order to be able to mow it quickly and without damaging the topper:

This was a large ditch in the field which has been filled with stones and they’ve been buried.

The windows came whilst I was away and have now been fitted over a period of 5 days. Before:

After:

They’ve done an amazing job, and it is so nice to have wind tight windows and door.

Finally, the littlest really enjoyed a trip we had to Smyths at Sligo retail park, we found it a little stressful, but the kids both loved it!

Just a quick word of advice too, if you hire a car, make sure you check it over when you get it, I didn’t and then realised there was a massive scuff. Thankfully, I told them I thought it was from before and they looked and agreed, but I gather not everybody has such a positive experience. I was really stressed when I got to England and didn’t think, but I will next time as it caused worry at a time when I really didn’t need it, but praise God it was fine.

Ta ra for now.

Cathy.

Post Script! – I forgot to put in that we’ve now applied and been approved to have Irish driving licences. So we’ve given in our UK licences! Apparently as residents, if there was a no deal Brexit our licences would be invalid.

That wasn’t the initial reason – the initial reason was that there seems to be no option to have a UK licence with the DVLA and an Irish address so it just seemed sensible to swap. Then when we went to the office with our application, the no deal thing was explained to us. If you’re just visiting from the UK, there will not be any problems, just if you’re resident.

A Summary of the latter end of this week in Pictures

My eggs arrived! it was a record, they came through the post in less than a day, fully intact and ready to incubate! An Post is great. If it was a courier it wouldn’t have got here nearly as quickly. Sorry but I haven’t actually taken pictures of the eggs yet. They went into the incubator tonight. They should take approximately three weeks to hatch (providing they’re fertile).

Our new fire was installed and (wait for it…) a radiator in the living room, we’ve been soooo warm:

We also had a range installed that runs our central heating, I don’t think I’ve lived in a house with central heating for about 14 years, it’s great! The surroundings will one day match the cooker. I made pancakes this morning, then pizza tonight, to try it out. It is very, very nice. The only thing I really have to watch is keeping the littlest boy away from it because it gets so hot and trying to tell the oldest boy not to put plastic objects on top of it. Might have to get the fire guard back out for a bit maybe.

Finally, Chris’s dream came true, yes folks, he has a tractor!

He just has to get the mower to go with it and he’ll be away up off to the field with it. Up, up and awwaaaaaay, off to sort the field out.

God bless you all and see you soon.

Big difference in a short space of time…

I’ve been thinking…not always good news, but this is pretty positive. What I’ve been thinking about is how much our little house has changed in a short space of time and how much you can forget or take for granted in a short space of time.

When we first arrived on the Friday evening on the 7th December, so nearly two whole months ago! I know I said it was warmer than we expected, and it was, but! we could see our breath whilst indoors, the walls upstairs in the bedrooms and also the bathroom were actually wet and the floor in the kitchen leading from the wall inwards was wet as well, it was really wet. Remarkably, as soon as we started putting heat into the building it all started drying out, but only after a week of not looking forward to going to bed (really not looking forward to it) because the bedding and the air upstairs actually felt wet as well. We’ve since realised we put a lot of heat in and that probably initially caused more damp, as we then didn’t realise a window needed to be opened a crack as well for ventilation (and it’s essential when cooking).

One of our jobs in a morning is to go around drying the insides of the windows and it has gradually improved – it has to be said this was Chris who initiated this. The dehumidifier has been a majorly good investment too in improving the dampness. On looking at photographs I’ve also remembered we took the flooring up in the dining room and bathroom so it could dry out.

We’ve learnt a lot about old buildings since moving in (especially in Ireland) and what to do with them and we’ve read up a bit about damp. Apparently, a lot of what surveyers tell you about damp is not right, it’s about looking at the causes, not treating with injectable damp proof courses etc. The main issues with this place was the lack of drainage around the building and having it all cleared and gullies dug out to drain all the water away from the building was the best thing that could have been done. Thank you God for our friend with his digger who was recommended and came to do all that work. There’s more to be done but that was a remarkable thing to have done within a very short time of being here. Also, he knew what he was doing and we didn’t! Chris also fixed the gutters and made sure the water wasn’t running onto the building.

Before and after photographs above… Gravel has also been put down since on the back to make a drive. The front gardens are going to be flower beds, conditions permitting.

I also watched Terry Waite speaking on a BBC clip tonight and he was speaking about when he was imprisoned and a major factor in surviving was actually living! Each day he was imprisoned, “that was his life” he wasn’t waiting for a life, he didn’t know if he would survive or when or if he would be released. But each day is our life, every minute of every day and while he was imprisoned he wrote poetry, he wrote his first book in his head! I have to admit, I’ve been a little sorry for myself at times recently and this really spoke to me. It is something I normally do believe in, living for that day, but it is so easy to lose perspective.

Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. (Matthew 6:34)

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