What’s happening at the moment? Jobs…!

So what are we doing at the moment? It’s quite a busy time really. We’ve agreed to have our windows and door replaced, they should arrive for fitting over the next 4 weeks. The range and a new fire are being installed in just over a week (all being well) and an electrician is visiting tonight to check out the electrics (I am so thankful that he is coming).

Chris is currently strimming the field, all 3 acres – he has bought a steel brushcutter blade for the strimmer and it’s getting through it a lot better than the grass cutter blade. It’s very hard work and he’s building a shed today as a bit of break from it. (The future plan is to possibly get a little tractor and use that and to probably get a few goats). The shed will be great to temporarily store all our boxes that we aren’t unpacking yet and will allow us to do up the cottage more easily. I’ve decided I need to re-box a few things to give us more room, it makes more sense than winding our way through stuff we don’t yet have storage for in the house.

There’s a little plantation right next to our cottage which you can see on the above photograph. Eventually, the spruces are going to be chopped down as they’re very tall and quite close to the house and we’re hopefully going to have some native trees there instead. There are a couple of birch already in there but struggling and a lot of holly.

I knew there were some bottles in the wood, but this week I started investigating a little further and there are what looks like hundreds! I’ve started excavating them and am going to keep on doing so. It was suggested that we do a bottle wall, I’d love to in some ways but with everything we have to do now and over the next few years it is currently unlikely – so bottle bank here I come!

So I (Cathy) am watching Brexit and the UK and Irish responses to it with interest and I have to say, since we’ve been here we’ve met with nothing but friendliness and have been welcomed in general but Brexit particularly online seems to be stirring up a lot of anti English comments, I don’t know if that is because of the certain type of people who comment on online posts or if it is a general feeling, but I have to say the English or the UK don’t exactly help themselves sometimes. Whoever started the petition to get the Republic to join the UK is a little bit assumptive or taking the mickey methinks.

So anyway, back to the old homestead….I’m getting hatching egg fever again, I think I’m going to go for the breed Cream Legbar if possible as they are autosexing, you can tell if they’re male or female as soon as they hatch, which is helpful. I’m REALLY looking forward to hatching them, I just need to find a supplier over here. Cream Legbars have green/blue eggs and are bred mainly as laying hens, not for meat.

last year’s chicks 🐣

I’m also going to start reading up on goat keeping as I mentioned earlier, I think we have probably decided on goats as the main/first animal we will keep. Only a few as we only have 3 acres but we will see, there is no rush, as we also have to get the premises ready, as if you have livestock, you have to be registered with the Department of Agriculture as a goat/sheep keeper and be approved. We don’t know if it will be this year or next, but it will probably happen at some point.

Bye for now. May God bless you one and all with the knowledge of Him.

Cathy.

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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)

Photo by luizclas on Pexels.com

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.

Snow, snow, everywhere!

I’ll be honest. I haven’t really felt like writing anything since the last post. It was very refreshing to write honestly and was enough for at least a few days! God is the best thing that has ever happened to me and it feels good to share that.

We got our stuff delivered almost a week ago now. It went well really, better than we thought it it would. The removals men worked really quickly and were lovely. We’ve got one bedroom set up properly now (with beds!) for all of us and its lovely, very cosy and has a nice feel. The living room is also set up for now. It’s lovely having a couple of almost normal rooms. The rest of the house is quite crowded really as we have a lot of things and as of yet not much storage. That will change in the future. So we’re trying to keep that in mind. It’s easy to get wound up if we let ourselves and it isn’t worth it.

it’s snowed! We woke up this morning to quite a surprising amount of snow.

Chris was quite excited because it meant he could go out in his nobbly tyred jeep. The windows man was coming to quote us today and got to Ballinaglera village and then Chris went and picked him up for the short journey to us. I was impressed! Nothing was stopping him trying to get here! He’s coming back next week with the fitter to measure up and then we will hopefully get a date. New windows should make the place quite a bit warmer, which will be great!

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.

Day 7 in the house

(This morning) We’re in the car driving to Enniskillen. It’s so weird, there was no indication at all that we had just gone into the North, then we noticed a UK road sign. So strange.

And! We’ve just been to a petrol station as it was in pounds and I could pay with our Uk bank account. I found all this stupidly exciting.

(Now) Back at the ranch, we’ve had all around the cottage cleared by a fella with a massive digger and stones are being put down to make a drive. It’s been such a blessing, one of our neighbours was having some work done and asked if we needed any ground clearing. We said yes and the man came round to see Chris and started the work. The fella is a genius with the digger and has worked really hard for the last couple of days, it should be done early next week. Strangely, I don’t think I’ve actually got a digger picture.

before

After..

Some other random pics:

all this lot has now gone and is clear earth.

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!!!