Played out this afternoon. Amazing how good it makes you feel. Adjusted the leaning plants from yesterday’s wind and followed J about. Really calm day today. Such a difference in 24 hours! Amazing with how wet it’s been that some tulips have come up and have buds! We saw a couple of goldfinches too but I couldn’t get a picture on the phone, they’re too small and quick. They’re very beautiful.
Project veg plot
I have a project! The area of raised ground behind the house is just about dry enough to sort out for our veg plot (with a few flowers thrown in for good measure). So I’ve started edging and digging the beds and planning it out. I love doing it. Especially planning and deciding where to put the paths and beds and what will go where.
A before (ish) photo, not quite the same view as the next:
and a current photo:
It is so satisfying, just doing a bit at a time. It has to be a bit really, I have to wait for littlest’s nap time, then I try to do the digging. The top bit in front of the shed is where I’m at at the moment:
still about half a bed to dig, there’s some big stones in there. When I can get them out they get thrown down the bank, there’s one so far that I can’t shift, so I think I’ll stick another on top and leave it there so I can see where it is and don’t do a clang a spade down on it thing and reverberate. I’m hoping to get potatoes in here over the next week but it’s still fairly claggy, so we’ll see.
This is the other side:
To the far left as you look at the raised area we are hoping to put up a poly tunnel. Either this year or next, we aren’t sure yet. There’s so many roots and branches to clear, but it’s good fun.
I’ve felt a bit low recently and being outside, being active and gardening are things I really enjoy and they charge me up. I asked God what to do about how I was feeling earlier in the week and amongst other things I felt he said to get outside. He also gave me this verse:
Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?
I need to trust him.
also, we have pots everywhere! I love it! Seeds are germinating all over the house 😍
these are cornflowers, blackball and blue ball. Hopefully we’ll pick the right spot for them once they’re a bit bigger and they’ll flourish!
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!
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.
You have said, “Seek my face.” My heart says to you, “Your face, LORD, do I seek.” (Psalm 27.8)
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.
It’s sunny again!
It is indeed! It’s been a lovely day today, I took the boys for a walk up the lane and it was gorgeous, there are primroses coming up everywhere. The boys loved it, it was a little difficult keeping littlest to where I wanted him, he was all over the road, looking, picking things up, lying down when he didn’t want to go in a certain direction. He’s certainly found his legs. It was fun. J didn’t want to go for a walk and then when he did he loved it too. It was also good as because we were out and about we got to meet another of our neighbours that we hadn’t yet met.
We’ve nearly got one of our cars sorted at last! The transfer of residence came through which meant we didn’t have to pay VRT (vehicle registration tax), which means in turn it now has Irish number plates (you get given the new number and you have to get the plates sorted yourself) and we have got it taxed and insured here. It just needs to pass the NCT (national car test) now. We are waiting for the code to come through for our jeep so we can get the new registration number for that too. I’m hoping we can transfer the MOT over, we will see. It was a bit of a shock when we taxed the Alto, road tax in the UK was £30 a year, here it is nearly 300 euros. Quite a difference. Swings and roundabouts maybe, there are things that cost more and things that cost less here.
Our new Irish driving licenses came through too, everything just in time for Brexit, if it ever happens. A customs officer at a checkpoint stopped Chris when he had dropped me off at the airport a few weeks ago, it was ok when Chris explained we were waiting for our transfer of residence, but he told Chris to get the cars sorted before Brexit or we wouldn’t be able to and they have been. We also got told that in a no deal Brexit we wouldn’t be able to drive as residents in Ireland on our UK licences, so it’s good that they’re sorted too. We had to get a medical report each though to keep one of the classes. It was so easy to get the doctors appointment, we got it the next day! Must be because people have to pay to go to the doctors. Again, positives and negatives….
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
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.
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.
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.
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.