We have a bath! I can not describe the absolute feeling of glee and pure luxury it gives us. The taps aren’t connected yet because we will need to move it out of the way again for painting etc but we can drain the water out using the plug! It is so much easier and less messy than filling and then pailing out the plaster tub, which we’ve been doing for a year (before that it was a large bucket that we were standing in to wash). I want to re-iterate this, it is awesome! May I never take the ease of a plumbed in bath for granted again. It really is pure luxury. It makes everything seem better weirdly and once in you don’t want to get out. Thank you God for baths and husbands who can fit them.
It’s absolutely beautiful here at the moment, cold, but beautiful. In December we will have been in Ireland for a year.
There’s loads to do in the garden and a load of strimming, the last cut before the winter. It’s become apparent that doing all the strimming as well as working full time and doing lots of other stuff in the house, is just too much for Chris, time wise as well as physically, so I’ve volunteered to be chief strimmer (I love doing it) and Chris has fitted me into the harness and shown me how to use it. I’ve only done it once so far, but am raring to go. I need to make the most of rain free days. It also feels really good to do something physical.
The strimming is actually the glamorous bit though, because there’s a load of weeding to do too, in the flower garden and where my veg patch was. It’s on your hands and knees in the wet, wet, soil type weeding, whilst keeping an eye on the kids. I did a bit yesterday, but I need to do a lot more. So it’s one of those just do it, make a choice to enjoy it type jobs really. You can learn a lot from gardening
In the house, It’s been bank holiday weekend this last weekend (yes we get an extra one) and Chris has almost finished tiling the dining room floor. He’s spent about three days on his knees, as well as a full weekend a couple of weeks ago and has done such a good job. It’s going to be so good practically and it’s going to look brilliant when it’s finished. Interesting fact – we chose the same quarry tiles that we had in our old house. We felt it suited the cottage, it was built around 1900 which was also when our terraced house was built.
Doesn’t look very glamourous from the photo, but life isn’t about looking glam..! (wait til it’s cleaned up too.) Chris is really good at doing work like this.
There’s loads I could have spoken about, so much has been going on in both Ireland and the world recently…but I’m choosing today to focus on the house because it’s been so long since I’ve updated and because the topics have probably also been done to death elsewhere…
On a separate note, I’m going through a reading phase, in the past couple of weeks I’ve read ‘The heavenly man’, ‘Run, baby, run’, and ‘God’s Smuggler’. There’s no words really, reading real life accounts about people who’ve put their lives in God’s hands and what he has done. Reading about Brother Yun, in the heavenly man, the suffering (and potential death) and his willingness to face it for Jesus. Andrew going behind the Iron Curtain and the trust in God to provide and protect, Nicky Cruz, who was so messed up, a bloodthirsty gang leader, becoming God’s and then following him, reading about his redemption, hearing his journey in a truthful way… Straight forward, non frothy, real faith and a willingness to do anything and experience anything for God. Breathtaking.
So I’m going to briefly mention the last few weeks. As I’ve mentioned, I was ill, some sort of viral thing that started as a cold, worsened until I felt like I could hardly move with big temperatures, then as that part improved, moved to my throat and chest. I’m still not quite there yet, my voice is still a little hoarse and I’m still coughing but I feel waaaay better than I did. I can actually do stuff now. With two little ones at home too, it was difficult.
I’m fed up with getting ill, since being here we’ve all been much worse than normal. I’m looking at our diets now and I’m taking supplements too. Exercise is next, once the chest has cleared. And of course, following God closely and perhaps with a little more discipline. Not that this is guaranteed to avoid ill health but it’s something that’s on my mind.
Speaking of which, there’s a song by Bethel called the goodness of God and I listened to it and worshipped to it right up until my dad died. Then I couldn’t, I couldn’t bear to play it. I have been able to play it and sing it today for the first time since. It talks about singing of the goodness of God. He is so patient and kind, I’ve also had some pretty good Godly friends to talk to over the last few weeks/months. Who’ve also spoken God’s words to me and looked after me by pointing me to him. You know who you are, Thankyou.
God always meets you where you are. There’s no need to work anything up, be anything you’re not, just come to him and trust He’s with you and for you even when you can’t feel it or hear Him. Just trust. If you have friends who know Him, try them too.
(that’s my advice anyway)
It’s so wet today it’s unreal. I really want to garden as well. I haven’t really done anything for over two weeks as I’ve been ill (Still not quite right) and away for a short period so the garden is getting covered in weeds because it’s rained so much over the last week. It’s mainly horsetail on one side as well, which is a real pain, I just keep having to hoe it off and I’m aiming to get ground cover plants in to try and squish it. On the plus side, the plants we’ve grown are pretty strong and doing well. We have cosmos, larkspur, sweet peas, cornflowers (blue and black ball), cerinthe, corncockle, calendula and borage plants growing on the front so far. We’ve also got a load of Rudbeckia seedlings to plant as well and even more sweet peas. Chris also bought a lupin (which I really wanted, so it was a nice surprise) and some dahlias, we need to pick a site for them too. At least we now know the plants will grow here, which is brilliant.
On the veg side, the second early potatoes are growing well, I haven’t managed to get main crops in yet. The peas and the garlic are growing well, there’s some beetroot seedlings showing now and some parsnip seedlings. I have sweetcorn to plant out and need to plant the runner beans, it should be warm enough now. I planted them too early last year and they didn’t do well. Our strawberry plants are flowering but unfortunately it looks like the raspberry canes have died off, Chris thinks it’s because we had a dry spell and we didn’t water them enough. I’m praying they come back, but we may have to get some more. The cranberry and blueberry bushes are growing really well round the side. I’m still trying to decide what to do with my cucumber and tomato plants as we haven’t yet got a poly tunnel. I might have to pot them on and keep them indoors. I’m pretty sure it’s too windy here to have them outdoors. Oh yes! I have a couple of courgette plants to plant out too. It’s all go…exciting though, eventually I want to be able to grow veg just about all year round for our use. Not sure whether I’ll manage to get all that I want this year, but I’ll try.
Animals are currently on hold, I think chickens or ducks will be first, but as there’s pine martens, mink, foxes and badgers around here, we’re going to have to make sure they’re as secure as we can get them. Probably with electric fencing as well as an enclosure. I also feel like I currently have enough on, but it would be good to have chickens again.
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.
only joking! (As Chris would say).
It’s our outside fire that Chris has made for us. It’s great, the tombstone makes sure the smoke doesn’t go everywhere. Hoping to cook on it sometimes this summer.
New bed dug today, only a small one. J said he wanted to grow carrots, so I dug one and the seeds are in. I’m not sure whether they’ll work, the seeds are from last year and I’ve never had much success with carrots, but I guess we will soon see. The sticks mark the rows.
I gave J his own little bit of garden today (he chose it), mainly because he kept running on and digging in the bits I’ve planted. In the photo he is using my early birthday present. He’s really good with it too. It’s a Wolf Garten set, they have interchangeable heads and the ones I chose are a tiller and a weeder. J has also sown some sunflower seeds too today. He seems to really like gardening. Maybe we should start a family business 😆.
Along our road into the village there are quite a few empty cottages/buildings (and none of them seem to be for sale). I decided to take a picture of each one and actually add up how many there are on a relatively small stretch of road (about 2 miles I think). Starting from our end and working our way along the road.
An old school.
A 1960’s? Bungalow.
There IS a building behind there, a big old white schoolhouse.
the gate to get to the school is almost hidden in this undergrowth.
So! 8 in total along a small stretch of road. I hope nobody would mind me photographing their building. (let me know if you read this and do.) 8! Two school houses included, on that short stretch. They are owned and apparently some have land with them that is used for farming.
The older locals who can remember the schools being open say it used to be fairly busy round here and now it isn’t. Mind, apparently there were 9 children that lived in our cottage at one time, so that in itself is a lot of people I suppose. 11 people in one little house! My word, we really don’t know we’re born sometimes! It would have been very basic as well. It would be lovely to see the place becoming busier and more populated again though.
There is a fella who’s doing a place up further up the road in the other direction (when he’s in Ireland), who visited relatives in our cottage as a child and is hopefully going to bring some photos of the kitchen when it had an open fire that they cooked on. Really looking forward to seeing them.
So today we nipped into a local pre school to have a look and see whether there are any places for J. J was very well behaved, it must be said, he looked round carefully, played with some play dough, pursed his lips and shook his head. We got outside and he said very calmly “I’m not going and I am NOT going to change my mind”.
We are currently in negotiations 😂
(Meanwhile littlest was yelling because he couldn’t go in with the little ones, he was raring to go)
This was yesterday in our little wooded area. I have to say I can see his point… I’ve never liked classrooms either. ( No detriment to the preschool, they were lovely and there was lots of activities and messy play).
The light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it. (John 1:5)
This is another favourite verse of mine.
Tonight I’m thinking about Jesus being arrested and taken off to be hideously abused and then hung on a cross to die. I’m thinking about what it means and why He did it. Luke 22 is a good place to read.
I’m also thinking of the light he gives, Of the resurrection and celebration that is coming and that he gives us when we come to him. There is no situation he cannot shine his light on. There is always hope. Through Him, through Jesus.
He is real, He is alive, He is why we are here, He is who we need, He is Jesus.
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!..