6 Month-Versary

Six months! Really! Another month has passed. I’ve actually found the last month pretty hard, for various reasons. One being, I think if you live somewhere that needs various things doing, for a while it’s ok, then you start (or I do) doing the I wish thing which means you can become a little unhappy with progress. Even though for the length of time we have been here, the transformation is remarkable already.

It’s also difficult sometimes, managing the kids and doing what I have to (or think I have to) do. My mind goes mad sometimes, with alsorts circling around with what I could be doing, what I need to do, what I should be doing….and that is not productive and is very tiring! God calms me. I LOVE the outside of the cottage, the garden, the wood and the field and so do the kids, working outside and planning them when I can is really good.

Chris is also working very hard at work and at home and life sort of just passes by really quickly. I’m sort of managing this a little better now and trying to relax a little, spending focused time with God really, really helps this and being realistic (we simply cannot do everything at once). We are planning on sorting the bathroom out next, but for now we actually have a big plastic plasterer’s tub that we can bath in! We can actually use it as a bath, instead of using a tub and strip washing. It is amazing what sort of difference something like that makes to your attitude! I found it on Amazon and people had put things like this in the comment: ‘if you haven’t got a bath this is amazing, get it’. So I got it..

Next time I put a photo up there will hopefully be a different bath picture to add to the collection. We’re looking at them on t’internet tonight.

So I thought I’d add to the before and after theme:

There are so, so many before and after shots I could do…

I think I’ll leave it at that, I could do pictures of us as a comedy thing..but to be honest we don’t look that different…Chris has lost weight with his job, but that’s it really. I have been ill and stressed recently but apparently look quite good??!!

Ha. Well hello and goodbye for another day. God is good, we are safe, nothing that we rely on is guaranteed, apart from Him, so trust Him.

Couldn’t leave without mentioning the field, its gone from a boggy, reedy, place where you were up to your waist in places in rushes, to a cut, lovely field in which the grass and some flowers are taking over again rather than the rushes. Chris has worked so hard on it and it is really paying off.

Good bye!

Cathy

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5 months!

I’ve just realised we’ve now been here 5 months. Seriously, it’s going so quickly it’s ridiculous.

So what have we learnt in the last 5 months and what has changed?

    God is good, Chris got a job actually in Leitrim in spite of it being thought to be unlikely and there’s been countless other blessings.
    When you feel like you can’t go on, you can.
    We’ve gone from having a dirty, dusty, coaly house to one that just has normal dust and gales no longer blow actually through the house.
    Electricians are difficult to pin down…
    Most of the Irish services we’ve had have been brilliant and turned up on time and done the work excellently. Despite being told by a few people before we came, we would have to constantly be on people’s backs to get stuff done.
    Children love being outside and will always find something to play with.
    I’m less lazy than I was. It’s just harder work than where we lived before. Even getting a wash involves planning!
    It doesn’t matter where you live. Material belongings or eating and drinking don’t satisfy us or make us happy. Only God does and that means we can be anywhere and be content if we live with Him and submit to Him. Put it this way, if you’re not happy in Chesterfield, you probably still won’t be happy in Ireland. Environment matters, but only to a certain extent.
    I’m learning (or trying to) that I can’t have everything immediately). Also, to try and be in the moment I’m in instead of constantly thinking of what I still have to do… I find this difficult.. The house drives me nuts when I let it..
    I can no longer flush anything or wash anything down the drain without thinking. Our water goes straight into the land and the toilet goes into a septic tank..I feel slightly more responsible ‘adult’ now. Fat gets scraped off, food either gets eaten or goes for composting, Bleach generally does not get used…etc etc.. still not queen of the green, but better than I was.
    It is a beautiful place and I am very thankful.
    God has plans for us that we don’t yet know about. I have a real sense of anticipation again. It’s exciting.
  • Oh and that thing we hear about kids no longer bouncing off walls if they get enough time outside… it’s not true..they still bounce off walls and the furniture and the window ledges and anything else you care to mention 😂.
  • Au revoir!
  • We’re going out for dinner at a local cafe today. Should be fun!
  • Cathy
  • 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)

    We are Back in Ireland.

    As the title says, we’re back. We got a sickness bug as soon as we got back unfortunately, but we’re gradually recovering. I haven’t had anything like that for years, the first day, I had to lay flat otherwise I was sick and the boys are still vomiting occasionally. Chris had it last week so he’s been ok this week, but he felt exactly the same last week. So fun!

    Other news… Chris got a job doing nights last week, it was part time. He’s now been offered a different job which is full time days, which will suit him and us a lot more than nights, starting next week. Everyone involved has been fab, the place he has just left were amazingly gracious too. Praise God. He’s got a full time job!

    House wise – the fascias, soffits and gutters were done yesterday, so that’s another tick off the virtual to do list. Again, it was someone who came recommended by the fella who cleared around our house and he did a brilliant job.

    Chris is currently asleep upstairs and I’m downstairs with the boys, watching television. I’ve just finished reading a full book for the first time in years. I used to love reading, in fact I was an avid reader. Not so much in recent years, I remembered how much pleasure I used to get from reading and thought I’d start again. I’ve loved it, Heidi is a beautiful book. It also came about because I was thinking about my dad and one of the big things he gave me was a love of reading, he used to take us to the local library every Saturday morning when we were kids, without fail and to book shops when he or my mum could. It’s a good gift to give, a love of reading, it leads to so much more. It feeds the imagination, it gave me a love of writing, I find it relaxing, it’s quiet, beautiful. I’ve realised I quite like quiet. It is possible too!

    The next step for me I think when we are better is to start planting seeds. We’re really looking forward to seeing them sprout and grow. Spring has sprung! It’s legging it down today though, so indoors today.

    Cathy.

    Things we take for granted.

    Since the last post, Chris has plumbed our washing machine in and set up the drier in the barn. Which is incredible! For the last two months we have been taking clothes once a week to a laundrette (despite my initally loving the laundrette outside Tesco’s, it turns out they’re always breaking down). Then collecting them and taking more. Because of where we live, you have to drive to the laundrette, there’s no bus service or walking distance type ones. So! It feels pretty amazing to be able to do our own washing. Thankyou God for a man who is very practical and able!

    So, I was talking to Chris and said how good it was and how little things make a huge difference and he said “well, it’s the things we take for granted isn’t it? There’s a blog there….” I then asked him if he wanted to write it, to which he replied no, I’m too busy. So I’m writing it.

    Things we (or rather I, so I’m not generalising) take for granted:

    Double glazing and solid doors that don’t blow a gale through them.

    Curtain poles either up or able to be put up (the top of the upstairs windows are very close to the ceiling with it being a dormer). So currently, only one window covering up and held up by a garden cane.

    nice view!

    Washing and drying facilities (now sorted!…yippeeeee)

    A bath/shower/bathroom – we have a sink and a toilet, very much looking forward to a bath. The feeling when we get one will be whoooopeeeeeee.

    our bathroom at the moment.

    This leads us onto waste disposal as of the toilet kind – we have a septic tank. This is normal here but is very new to us and needs checking out and maintaining.

    Waste disposal as in of the rubbish kind. It is extremely easy in England to get rid of any rubbish, it is not easy here. We now pay monthly to have bins, they are collected and emptied every two weeks, you pay an additional fee for the weight, but they are very strict on what goes into their bins. How you’re supposed to get rid of normal glass or lightbulbs is currently a mystery to me. Glass bottles have to go into bottle banks, the waste collectors don’t collect glass. We think we are going to hire a skip when we have the windows done and just put everything into that, then hopefully problem solved. There were some old windows left here and quite a bit of other stuff that we need to get rid of. The only other options are either go north with it or have a big bonfire..

    Health care/dental care/Hospitals etc. Healthcare here is private, you have to pay to go to the doctors and hence no NHS dentists (although the dentists was a lot cheaper than I was expecting and the one I got was brilliant). I applied for a medical card and for some reason it said we were not entitled even though Chris is not working, so I still need to work that one out. The kids should get an under 6 medical card.

    Benefits – Don’t get me started on bureaucracy…. to get a PPS number for the children we had to get a letter saying our kids were resident and show their birth certificates…To get child benefit…you have to do exactly the same thing separately and do a paper application because I haven’t been invited to apply (if I had, I could do it online). i waited for a password to come through the post in order to verify my online account to be told I couldn’t apply online.

    Places/groups to go to.

    Shops to walk to.

    Cleanliness – burning coal is dirty…no other word for it, everything within a day within the immediate area seems to develop a thin coating of blackness. We are getting an oil range installed in about two weeks, this will be so good.

    Local ways/culture – we may think when we live somewhere like Derbyshire that there are no particular local ways or culture but I’m telling you there is and it is quite comforting when you know how people generally are.

    Storage space – there will be some eventually, it’s just difficult at the moment, we are all sleeping in one bedroom and the other is a storage facility. Our room is lovely though, here’s a corner of it:

    I’m sure there are plenty of other things but I’m going to leave it at that for now. That’s plenty. It is not meant to be a moaning/feel sorry for me list, but rather looking at what we have and realising it at the time, rather than realising afterwards!

    What you soon realise too after moving is that wherever you live, there are people who love it but also tons of people spouting about how it’s gone to the dogs/not like it used to be/blah blah blah. That doesn’t seem to change wherever you are!

    I want to do what God tells me to do and I so often fail, but I love, love, love, the following verses:

    Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

    Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.

    Words to live by – God is always dependable.

    I feel especially at the moment with the whole Brexit palaver, border issues and so on, it is so easy to moan and groan and go on and lecture and ponder and slag people off, wherever you are. But wouldn’t it be a lot better to pray for our leaders? I’m going to try anyway.

    There’s a lot of evil and horrible things happening in the world at the moment and it is good for your soul to look at the good things and be thankful (and pray about the bad things). The bad things do need facing and tackling and honesty is required about them being evil. Especially I feel, the recent change of abortion laws in New York and the UK trying to go the same way and also of course, abortion being introduced into Ireland. But! practicing looking at what is good can only benefit us and charge us up in the right way to then tackle the issues.

    I just want to add onto the end of this, I miss you my friends and family, I miss you more than I thought I would. So love to you all. Just to also reassure you too – I am also very glad we have come here.

    And hello from us!

    Hello and welcome to the 2019 blog! When I think about life a year ago, it was just so different. I don’t think we even had a clue at that point that we’d actually be moving, never mind to a different country!

    J’s birthday last year.

    We’re doing things slowly at the moment, getting a bit of a routine going, looking for what grants we may be able to get on the house. There are definitely some for insulation, which is great. We are frequently discussing and planning the best way to do the cottage up, there are a lot of contrasting ideas when you look online, but we’re getting there.

    Our things haven’t come yet, which is a bit testing, as I would absolutely love a bed, not just a mattress and also my living room rug would be great to have! But it is temporary and they will be here. We just aren’t sure when yet. What I have realised is that I don’t actually miss most things just mainly the settee etc, rug, stereo, beds, storage for clothes and the pushchair.

    Chris has now cleared the moss off the roof and cleaned and repaired the guttering.

    There he is! He’s also cleared the path surrounding the house.

    Everything done makes such a difference.

    The laminate flooring in the bathroom and dining room has now gone in order to dry it all out so it can then be tiled at a later date.

    We’ve also just ordered a de-humidifier, which by all accounts should help too.

    So, life moves on, there’s a lot to do, both in the cottage and outside and getting my head round that it all doesn’t have to happen immediately is sometimes difficult! I never realised I liked immediacy so much! But it is a good exercise for me, learning to wait and be still is good.

    Goodbye for now.

    Cathy

    Post script

    As a post script to the previous post (a bit of a delayed post script), about half an hour or so after I had written it there was a knock on the door and one of our new neighbours had brought some biscuits and cake round as a Christmas gift. Another of our neighbours also did similar on Christmas Day, such lovely gestures, which were really appreciated.

    We’ve managed to get broadband now and it works really well so it should be easier for me to get things sorted now. There’s still a fair bit to sort, the kids need PPS numbers but I need to get an official letter off a doctors or a school saying they need one before they will issue them. I need the numbers before I apply for child benefit or medical cards too.

    Christmas was good in general. Different, but good. I managed to cook a ham in our little oven (which we would be lost without) and we had our dinner, it was lovely. We went for a walk and messaged and spoke to relatives. It went very quickly really.

    Christmas day, J in our field.

    our littlest elf.

    On Boxing Day (otherwise known as St Stephens day in Ireland) we went for a walk towards a mass rock nearby. Mass rocks are apparently where Catholics gathered and used as an altar when it was difficult/impossible for them to meet in public (mid 17th century). We aren’t sure whether we saw a mass rock (we need to find out where they actually are), but it was a gorgeous walk.

    It’s a bit of a quiet/adjustment period for us at the moment but I think it will soon get busy, so we had better make the most of it!

    Yesterday at Drumshanbo.

    If I don’t post before..Happy New Year. May God bless you all in every way – The father of lights, in whom there is no darkness.