I don’t know what to write at the moment..

I don’t. Life is busy with the family and house. Grief for my dad keeps coming in waves – memories, pictures in my mind mainly, regrets, nice thoughts, grief for my mum. I’m ok, then not. But life does go on. It’s hard for me, being here at the moment in some ways. I miss things, places, people, normalness (not sure that’s a word, but hey). I know a fair few people are probably thinking get a grip, look where you are! But that’s how I’m feeling at this point. It’ll change, but at this moment of writing it’s true. It’s all a process…

So hello – in a nutshell, both cars are now Irish plated, so insured and taxed legally too… As I write, Chris is working on the car to try and get it through its test. He’s a star. His new job seems to be going well…I need to find a carpenter and a tiler to sort the kitchen and bathroom, then we can get a bath and have some kitchen storage (we are really looking forward to that). The electrician hasn’t yet turned up, so I’ll probably have to find someone else. I’ll look on done deal (an Irish selling site), I think, there’s always people advertising on there. We just need a few bits checking out, an immersion doing, outdoor lamp and cooker point wiring in. Also need to get a normal cooker for the warmer months when we won’t have the range on. I’ve started planting seeds in pots (mainly flowers) and bought the seed potatoes, so I’ll be doing them soon ish. Growing things is always good. It is a good thing.

I’m praying that knowledge of God grows in this place and in our families, proper knowledge through Jesus, our beautiful saviour. I pray that we can help people know our Jesus is also their Jesus, that he lived, died and rose again for them. ‘Tis true!

Not bad to say I didn’t know what to write at the beginning.

Bye for now!

Cathy

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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)

Medical care?

The bureaucracy in Ireland is quite outstanding and not in a good way. We got asked to ring HSE about our medical card application yesterday and they’ve asked us to provide a valuation of our house! I’ve looked it up and there doesn’t seem to be any reason for this…the means test shouldn’t include your home…so I’ve emailed them to ask why it’s been requested?? It might be a mistake, but it’s quite a hefty one if it is. The NHS is a beautiful thing you know… value it. I wish they had it here.. or at least a version of it. It’s really wound me up to be honest.

I’ve asked for that application to be stopped until we know what Chris will be earning. (Praise God again that he’s got a job and that he enjoys it!). Then we will apply again.. I don’t get it (the medical system) at all here. It does worry me sometimes when I hear stories about the hospitals, and also how far away they are. Our GP (it has to be said), is brilliant though.

But as God says: Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7

So this is what I do, daily. I tell him everything (unlike you lot who get the edited version for which you should be truly thankful 😆) and as it says in Phillipians:

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. (Phillipians 4:4-7).

I need to read this more ^ (And practice it)

Gods peace is good. Better then good. Indescribable in some ways, or certainly unexplainable in any other way than it is from Him. It’s certainly my only option. Peace in the midst of uncertainty, in a country which is beautiful but very new to us.

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

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!

Getting started on the changes (maybe/possibly soon)

We’ve decided to stop messing about and Chris got serious today about getting in touch with people and getting quotes and organising work to be done. A fella came from a place called H & F and quoted us for a Stanley range and heating supply and fit. We’ve changed our minds again…and gone for the oil fired range (instead of solid fuel) that also heats the radiators and water now. So we are going to go ahead with that, we just need to get an electrician in first and also get an oil tank set up outside.

We took the chimney breast covering down and unfortunately it wasn’t a stone chimney breast but concrete rendering,

So after we get the range installed we are going to get it all plaster boarded. At least the stone covering did actually need removing in order to get to the chimney and check it out properly. (I also didn’t like it at all). The chimney also needs lining, which H & F will also do.

Chris was on a roll! He then arranged for an electrician to come next week and rang up another company too, to get a quote for new windows (which are really needed, the bedroom one is pretty rotten in places). We may have managed to get an oil tank too and possibly someone to build a stand for it. (Thanks to a friend we’ve made since we got here).

We had some snow, the day after the last blog:

but it didn’t last very long, I think there’s more in Derbyshire at the moment than here. It was very pretty though, J keeps saying he wants to build a snowman, but we haven’t managed it yet. It has definitely got colder, but we keep the fire going and the radiators warm and all is well.

We’ve finally got the kids PPS numbers, the doc wrote a slightly sarcastic letter to the PPS office (which made me (not so secretly now) smile), but we still got them. So that’s a plus! It means we can now apply for medical cards, child benefit and maybe get J a pre-school place.

Finally! My tooth has been filled, no root canal, although she said there was a chance I would still need one and that I am apparently now more prone to abscess development. But more than a full day later and I am still pain free. Praise Jesus. So here’s hoping it stays that way. They were ever so good, got me in really quickly, explained everything well and weren’t as expensive as I feared they may be (as dentists are all private over here I think). Hopefully that episode is over, lesson learnt…don’t wait two months when having tooth pain… Go straight away!

I’ve never had a dentist that fits you in quite easily and quickly and without fuss before. Quite a nice experience in a weird way.