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)

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

It was our Last Sunday at Church in the Peak today…

I’ve been there ten years, ever since I was saved and Chris has been there about 5 1/2 years. They’re my/our family. They’ve been with me/us through all sorts of life changes and us with them. That’s probably why we still feel part of it, despite the fact we’re going to Ireland on Friday.

Another reason (the main reason) is that Scripture says that God sets the lonely into families (Psalm 68:6) and so he did with me and Chris and continues to do so with many others. All you have to do is ask as he also says “ask and it will be given to you, seek and you will find, knock and the door will be opened”. (Matthew 7:7). He is ready and eager (not just willing) for you to ask him in. Try him.

So, back to church this morning. It was great and very moving. They prayed for us, we were given words from God (God speaking through people), which were very reassuring and we have gifts too and an amazing card! So generous. Saying goodbye was such an honour. So again, thank you. You sent us off “proper”.

Sink on a log (Mk 2)

A little bit more about us and where we are moving to.

The cottage we are moving to has intact stone walls and wooden framed windows, it has floors, it has a roof which seems to be in pretty good condition. It has a basin with taps and a functioning toilet in the bathroom (No bath yet). There is a basin with taps in the kitchen. There is a water supply. There are two burners to provide heat, one in the living room and one in the kitchen area and there are some radiators in the house which heat up when the stove in the kitchen area is running.

We don’t have any central heating in our current home, warming it with fires when required so radiators are a luxury.

There is also electricity in the cottage, which does need checking out but it is there! We don’t have a phone line there yet but there is good mobile phone reception.

There is a small kitchen area with a Belfast sink. All I really need apart from that is a table, cooker and a bit of storage, then jobs a good un, at least to start with. We lived for quite a while at our current address with no kitchen at all, not even a proper sink. It wasn’t easy, but it was liveable. See below:

This was our very lovely and functional sink on a log, although there is actually no sink on looking. There is a funnel. We survived. Chris is very handy.

Also, when I first purchased our current house there was no heating, just two gas fires which got condemned soon after moving in and there were aluminium framed windows. It was cold in the winter. Very cold. We just layered up in bed, had halogen heaters, at some point got a log burner put in and got on with life. We’re tough, me and my daughter. We now have insulation, two wood burners and double glazing – it’s a lot nicer (it has to be admitted).

Chris and I are under no illusions that our new life will be easy, but we will be fine and I think we will enjoy it. I and I think Chris are not made to never take risks or have hardship. We think it is worth it and we will always, always make sure we look after our kids.

for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. (2 Timothy 1:7)

The above is where we are coming from I think. God is also our dream giver and our provider. However! If anyone has any tips on how to make the cottage homey until our stuff arrives, feel free to share. We will be taking all our camping things with us (including pots and pans), air mattresses, bedding, wool blankets, warm clothes, cooker, baby bath, towels etc etc. We will have a better idea closer to the time on when the removals company will be getting to us.

Chris has also purchased something called an eco fan, which you put on top of your stove. The warmth from the stove generates electricity, causing the fan to turn which circulates the warm air around the room and house. Our house has seemed a lot warmer since using it.

onwards!!!

We Have Exchanged!

We have exchanged contracts this afternoon and completion is agreed. Such good news. No going back now!

It’s been a funny day, full of all sorts of emotions including joy and laughter but also tears and kicking and screaming (and that’s just me haha), we’ve started soaking the fruit for a Christmas cake (my first one I’ve ever made).

Good old Mary Berry. J is very interested in it. He likes cooking and baking.

I’ve also been looking into simpler ways of cleaning the house and clothes, washing up, shampoo etc. As in using household products like vinegar, lemon juice and bicarbonate. Also, traditional soap flakes and Epsom salts for various things. I’m not that genned up yet but I will be. It really interests me. One reason is that we will have a septic tank which we want to look after (which is new to us), but also, I seem to be getting more allergy prone with an itchy mouth and nose quite frequently, so want to go back to basics. I’m terrible when dust is disturbed, so have to damp dust and need to do it a bit more frequently! I also want to try to reduce the amount of plastics we use and live more frugally.

Chris finishes work tomorrow, then we’re out for a meal with our church community group. Then Chris’s eldest is coming for the weekend, which we are looking forward to. I’ve spoken to my eldest today, who is still in LA at the moment and it was lovely. Bittersweet in some ways because when she gets back we will have gone, but we’re not that far away and her dad and my family still live locally.

onwards and upwards!

Everything seems to be working out at exactly the right times. #inGodwetrust

Gods promises never fail and one promise is that he will never leave us nor forsake us. (Deuteronomy 31:6 and Hebrews 13:5). That is why I trust Him with what we do and where we go. God is in charge and wherever we go we trust ourselves to Him.

Bye for now.

Cathy