Sunrises in Ireland

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Sunrise in Montaigu France

I have always loved sunrises and sunsets, and living in France that love grew when the sun rose over the valleys, unbelievably different every day.

When we made our decision to leave it was one of the things I knew I would miss, living in the hope that I would find inspirational sunrises from our new home.

Getting up early for my new job has it’s bonuses, as I pushed up our blind this morning I was met with this…

Sunrise over the blue stack Mountains Ireland
The View From My Bedroom Window

It was a reminder that you have to have the courage to make change and trust there will be new beautiful sunrises along the way.

Rosie

Meeting My Idylls

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Those who have followed our adventure ,especially last year as we made our decision to leave France, will know that it was not easy. I read this post that I wrote on our last morning in our old home and it made me cry, even though I am happy and know we have made a good decision in moving to Ireland.

Montaigu healed us, it was our sanctuary in a place that could be so difficult. I loved our French friends and neighbours but, with the exception of very few, I detested the English. I have written about it often, and over the last almost six months I have realised how a lot of the time we lived there we lived in our ‘Montaigu bubble’ because it was the place where we felt safe. That is not a way to live, and as change and new adventures often do, we can see that now. Although our memories of our home will always be poignant.

Last summer I wrote about how were still deliberating about our move and how we both wrote lists about what we loved and what we hated. On the hate list for me was the lack of work available to me in France and how I wanted to go back to work, it was part of my idyll for my new life. It’s something most of us will think will be great: retirement, but not for me or RD. Work gives you structure, gets you out into the community, something essential when moving to a new country. It teaches you about where you live and so much more. So for us both, going back to work was essential.

Now I will write about RD’s search for work in another post, because it really was a ‘life shows you the way’ example, but this post is about my experience and that is I have a job! I started two weeks ago, a lovely part-time job four days a week, I love it!

During my search many dilemmas were sent my way. I had applied the same train of thought as last summer in that both of us wrote what our idyll where work was concerned would be. We have found this to be a failsafe system in keeping us focused on what’s important to us. Where work was concerned that meant not just the salary.

For me that came in really handy, because I was asked to go back to work in the UK in my specialty from my career in a previous life. I am not going to lie the excellent pay opportunity was tempting, but ….. I would have been in London for four months, away from RD and the furries, and having done that before I knew that whatever the pay it wasn’t enough to take me out of the ‘here and now’. None of us are getting any younger, and when temptation is before you it’s so easy to forget that and look to the future, the one the doesn’t actually exist. So I turned the job down. I thought about how I had moved to Ireland to make a new life, embracing the culture and my community, how was I going to do that in England?

I was then asked to work from home, again in my specialty, and again the money was excellent and again I was tempted. But by then I had also had a fabulous interview with the two lovely ladies I work with now. There aren’t many interviews I’ve been to where you feel as if you are talking to friends, laughing with each other, and I had been offered the job.

I realised that I was considering the ‘working from home’ job because of the money, when in fact that is probably about the third most important thing on my list now, considering my age and the fact that I have no debt. This job offered me part-time work, ticked that off my list, it offered me work in a workplace, meeting new people, structure in my day, a new focus, all things ticked off my list. I declined the job working from home and took this one.

I feel that I have learned my lessons well.

This week I was paid a salary for the first time in six years. To know I have regular income has reminded me how important that is. I sleep better, I don’t constantly worry where the next job is coming from where RD is concerned, even though my current role may only be temporary, because I know that life has a plan, I just need to keep following it.

Sorry for the lack of posting, there will be more to come.

Rosie

The Poisoned Glen

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As part of our visit to beautiful Dunlewey Church we went on the hunt for the famous Poisoned Glen, it didn’t disappoint.

The Poisoned Glen responding to the call of beautiful Dunlewey Lough

Now we all know that Ireland is full to overflowing with legends, and needless to say anywhere with a name like ‘The Poisoned Glen’ is going to have a legend attached, I suppose it is also inevitable that there are various accounts as to how it got it’s name.

Two involve the one eyed giant King Balor. The first version of the story is that Balor’s exiled grandson Lughaidh (do the best you can pronouncing that one, I am struggling with the guttural sounds of Gaelic!) met with his grandfather at the opening of the glen to fight, and duly killed him. As he fell Balor’s one eye bled into the glen, poisoning it as it did so. Legend has it that if you look at the mountains behind the bridge you can see the face of the fallen giant..

Look in the middle to the left, and you can see the outline of the giant’s face.

The other account is that Balor had a beautiful daughter who he kept locked away and hidden from mankind (of course he did, misogyny is rife in fairytales!) Despite all his efforts word got out about her beauty and she was duly kidnapped. Balor went after the kidnapper and cut him off at this very bridge killing him and retrieving his daughter. As the kidnapper died under the bridge the glen was forever poisoned.

Harley and RD studying the place of battle,

The less interesting truth is that the people of Dunlewy were inspired to name it An Gleann Neamhe (The Heavenly Glen), but when the English mapped the area they carelessly marked it as ‘An Gleann Neimhe – The Poisoned Glen! And so it’s name was born! As we know, we can always rely on the English!

This place has inspired many, it’s not hard to understand why, and Clannad, who hail from Donegal, included a track titled ‘Poisoned Glen’ on their album ‘Anam’.

For me the best thing was watching Harley pup in the healing waters of the glen, his adventure with them continues, and it is truly heavenly to behold.

I hope you’re all inspired to visit this beautiful place if you can..

Rosie

Dunlewy Church known as The Irish Taj Mahal

Waiting….for home

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Its funny the things that make a home. Since moving to our house we have been making do with the old ripped sofa and chairs that were here. To say that they were uncomfortable would be an understatement, add to that they were clearly full of flea eggs! So when we arrived, clicked the heating on and sat down there we were: dinner! Luckily all of our animals had been treated with the combo that kills the eggs and the cats did their job, sleeping on the sofa and chairs and slowly killing the fleas. It was a joy! As RD would say the chairs and sofa were on ‘death row.’

Today we have been mostly sitting in our bare living room waiting for our new sofas. We dispatched the chairs to the garage (good luck in the cold fleas) yesterday, but were up early taking the sofa out. Understandably, given the past few months all of the furries, started to get stressed, looking at us as if to say ‘Oh no not again! We’re not moving again are we?’ In fact when we took the sofa to the garage (pending skip hire) Daisy set up a protest strike and proceeded to sit on it for hours whilst staring in the window, clearly making a statement that where the sofa was going she was going too.

Daisy (also known as Pussy Upsy Daisy) in protest mode.

For those of you who follow this blog you will see that we have changed the house quite a bit. But we still don’t own this house so I have not shared it all with you, and cannot do so until the sale is complete (something I am chasing weekly). But I am proud of what we have achieved in the living room, everything will be white in this house, a first for me, but necessary because it is so small. We have been busy.

Before…..with flea ridden sofas
Now … I love our mirror, a small thing but helps us feel at home.
A new table is now on the horizon..

The mirror above the fireplace is new, but the wooden mirrors were left here and I gave them a new lease of life whitewashing them and adding some pretty cheap hearts that we found. I miss my stars, that are currently still trapped in France (more of that to come.) I do believe that a star is for life and not just for Christmas. Its funny the small things you miss.

One of our handmade stars…

Because we don’t own the house we have decided to hold fire on the floorcovering until we do. We don’t know where life is taking us yet, or what we will do to the house when we do own it, so for now our new rug will suffice.

The curtains are up framing the view

The sofa’s duly arrived this afternoon, and all our cushions were placed, and then redesigned by Wiglet!

Wiglet, our new interior designer, she does love a cushion!

As RD and I sat down we both looked at each other and said ‘Now it’s home.’ Sitting on our own sofa, with our own cushion’s we both realised that this was the first time it felt like home for us in over five months. Needless to say I think that the Welshies and girlies are happy too!

Harley, finally back on the sofa with mummy

It’s good to be home. More to come I haven’t forgotten The Poisoned Glen!

Rosie

Magical Mystical Ireland: Abandoned Churches built from endearing love.

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A Perfect Picture With Welshie as an accessory!
Dunlewey Church

We have promised ourselves that this time we will visit places in Ireland. In France money was always so tight we didn’t visit as many places as we would have liked. This time it will be different, and I plan on sharing the fabulous places with you……

So a few weeks ago we kitted up the puppies, made up a little simple picnic of sandwiches and extremely fattening pork pie and Scotch eggs (we’re just about to calm that down now, all the lovely fattening stuff!) and some cokes as beverage, and off we went on a charabang outing in my new little car to Dunlewey Church, nestled at the foot of Mount Errigal.

Stunning Dunlewey Church in it’s remote setting

As you can see from these pictures this stunning, atmospheric place didn’t disappoint, with Dunlewy Lough in the background, and the mountains all around. Classic Ireland with the heather and the bracken, overcast skies and the sun breaking through. It is a truly breathtaking place.

The church was built in the 1800’s by Jane Russell in homage to her love for her late husband James. It is such an atmospheric beautiful place it is known as the Taj Mahal of Ireland.

Born in England the couple married in 1825, and James went on to make his fortune as a hop merchant. They had five daughters and moved to Donegal after purchasing the Dunlewey Estate. Sadly in 1848 James died, and the heartbroken Jane built this beautiful church as a place to lay her husband to rest. He is buried in the vault beneath the floor of the church. I can understand why, she chose such a beautiful spot, a place where he could look out at the lough, hear the Poisoned Glen and be protected by the beautiful Errigal.

The view through the Alter window, absolutely breathtaking
with Dunlewey Lough in the background

The estate was eventually managed by a new landlord, Richard Lewis Crankshaw and when he died in 1929 he was buried in the grounds of the church. But his widow, Nellie, was a Roman Catholic (no surprises there we are in Ireland!) and because the church was not a Catholic church she would not be buried with her husband. So she was buried in the Catholic church that was immediately across the lough from Dunlewey church. To ensure that she was still close with her husband her gravestone was turned towards the old Dunlewey Church, so that they could look across the lough to each other. It’s clear this beautiful place inspires romance just as the moors did for Cathy and Heathcliffe. In fact many couples choose to marry here, despite the weather, despite the lack of roof, because the sadness, and the happiness, and all in between can be felt in this place, like a vibration.

Sadly as more and more people emigrated from Ireland the church was no longer used and fell into disrepair, with the roof being removed in 1955, as a safety measure and the fixtures and fittings distributed to other churches, including the bell which is now in place at the Cashel Church of Ireland near Doe Castle. But in 1987 the local community restored the floor of the church and in 2005 restoration work was undertaken to ensure that this beautiful place was preserved, as it should be.

It was a fabulous day out, and we will be returning, we didn’t even get to walk around the lough, because we then found the Poisoned Glen…..

Rosie

Thanks Paddy I’m Back On The Road

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It’s sad I know but despite being 58 yrars old I bought this key ring months ago, for the key that would belong to the car I was going to buy one day.

But I held back. We were in the middle of nowhere, didn’t need two cars, and if I was honest I would have crapped myself driving out on the single track from our rented property. So I left the driving to RD, not because I can’t drive the van, but because I didn’t have the confidence to reverse it out of any spaces when I couldn’t see out of the back window. I know ladies I’ve let the side down, but it is what it is.

I was also considering the extra cost of a car when we didn’t really need one at that time. Car insurance in Ireland is expensive (and sorry to Irish readers but Jesus! I thought the French drive like madmen!) and I reasoned that why pay insurance when the car would not be Utilised. But before I knew it we were four months into this year, in our new house (albeit not owning it) and I realised that I had not driven for over seven months! It had to stop, I had to get mobile and embrace my new life. I needed my own car.

Now I was being tight, I want to settle into Ireland and we need to find work, so I didn’t want to spend a fortune on a car. In fact I wanted something that would just keep me mobile for the first year or so. A little run around, or a little ‘shitter’ as some would call it, and then I truly believe my dad stepped in….

The 28th of April is my late dad’s birthday. Paddy had ideas I believe about my car, I think he was looking down in me wondering what the feck I was doing (did you see I went a little bit Irish there) sitting on my arse letting RD do all the driving and slowly using my confidence, and independence. Me, the most confident and independent little bitch he had ever laid eyes on. It had to stop. So on his birthday up popped a little advert on Facebook for a Toyota Yaris, small car, two lady owners, at snip of just under six hundred euro, cheap insurance.

Something told me to enquire about this car, it had only been up for sale for two hours. I did, and that evening we drove down to Donegal Town to view it. Now here in lies the rub….When we arrived at the home of the man selling it there stood a little Irish man called Paddy. I took a double take as he looked just like my dad, with white hair and the full lower lip as denotes my family heritage. Not only that every time he was thinking about something or having a draw on his cigarette he would stick his bottom lip out, just like my dad.

We bought the car, and when he gave us our change he then handed me another ten euro back and told me to treat myself! it was so bizarre.

RD, and my little car. I love it.

I hadn’t said anything to RD about my thoughts on how alike the man looked to my dad, but when we got home and I jokingly remarked how my dad had sent the car to me, RD turned to me and said ‘I didn’t want to upset you but that man really looked like your dad, even the way he held and smoked his cigarette.’

It wasn’t just me then! Perhaps ….

Rosie

I Will Love It, Won’t I?

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The View From Our Bedroom Window

I thought that I would share with you the views from our new home. Some time back one of my readers said to me ‘You sure can pick a view!’ and that thought came to mind when I was looking out of our bedroom window the other day.

The immediate view from our bedroom window when lying in bed.

The vista here changes constantly due to the atmosphere created by the mountains, and at times we have sheep, like little white clouds dotted about on the hillside, or huge cows grazing contentedly. When the sun shines it dips low into the hills and when it rains you can see the rain lifting from the Bluestack Mountains as if magicked up by fairies’ and sent our way.

Rain on the Mountaintop

Despite visiting Ireland many times with my late dad more than ever before I have come to realise that Ireland is truly a place where magic is in the air.

I was sad to leave the beautiful vallees of Montaigu, I counted my blessings for the years I had spent there when I said au revoir, but I trusted in ‘life’ and she bought me to new views, and new horizons. As someone once said to me ‘it’s just a view.

Sunrise Over Ambrieres Les Vallees Our View From Our Old House.

Over the past few weeks we have been busy, but I cannot share any changes we have made to the house until it becomes fully ours. At the moment we are renting it at a reduced rate as the house sale has still not completed. There will be more of that to come when it is all done.

in the meantime we have taken the time to start to find our way around our surroundings and walked the dogs up the lanes to the old Presbyterian church.

We have started to make the house into a home, the ever present sparkly lights are essential as always. After two weeks of living here and getting dressed and undressed in the dark we have finally got our blinds up.

RD is loving it here, not least the language, or not least the lack of a language barrier. Every time he goes into the garden he ends up talking to someone who is walking by. Last Friday night he went out in the garden, with the Welshie posse and didn’t come back. When I went out to look for him there he was, in his pyjamas, dogs in tow, chatting to Gerald, who likes to take his dog for a walk in the late evening. It just made me smile, when I thought back to when we were getting on the boat to come here, and he looked at me and said ‘I will love it won’t I? I am trusting you.’ Given that he had never been to Ireland, it was a lot of trust he placed in me, but I know him well, knew he would love it, and he does!

So does she…..

Wiglet the Welshie

Rosie

No Internet Means Some Things Grind To A Halt

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Our Very Own Telegraph Pole

We thought we had it all set up, we thought we had it all arranged: we would move into our house on the Saturday and the man was coming to sort the Internet on Monday. We can do that we thought, we can cope in this 4G black hole for two days. But things never work out like that do they?

The Pole Across the Road

On said Monday along came the ‘Internet Man’, as we unofficially entitled him. In he came with just a clipboard and happily informed us the we could not have wire from the pole across the road coming across said road to our bungalow because our bungalow was too low!? Personally I thought that was de-rigueur (see I did learn some French on my French adventure) for bungalows, but who was I to argue. I could however see his point that if a large tractor trundled past it would take our internet cable off down the road to the cows, who would have no use for it at all.

We did suggest that he take it to the Chimney, but it appears you cannot attach things to the chimney now, because the men are not allowed to work at height! It appears that telegraph poles are not high, but chimneys on bungalows are. Is it me?

The Telegraph Pole Disguised As A Tree

Then he looked across our paddock, which is virtually inaccessible at the moment, the cats are loving their freedom from the Welshies as they are the only ones able to make their way through it, much to the distress of the local mice.

Diddies and Daisy in the paddock

After studying the pole he decided that RD would have to climb the trees and trim them before he could put a wire from that to our said bungalow. Now there lay a problem, as I have mentioned in previous blogs we have none of our stuff from France, by that I mean no ladders, no saws, no tools, so cutting down branches from that height was going to prove a problem. At that point The Internet Man took pity, and promptly ordered us our very own pole, which is now safely planted in our garden, see my first picture.

So it’s been difficult. Although I tried to blog we are in a 4G black hole, and it proved impossible. I think it’s something to do with the beautiful hills and mountains in which we are settled!

The View From Our Front Garden

I have to say that they were amazingly quick and two weeks later normal service was resumed, pole and all! A big difference to France, where we had to wait seven weeks until they fixed our line when our internet was blown out in winter storms.

So I’m back now, and my urge to write is in fact overwhelming. I have missed it, but we have been busy, and I have lots to share.

In the meantime I think Wiglet is happy.

Wiglet, Also Known As The Princess And The Pea, As She Does Love To Lie On A Bed Of Pillows. Think It’s Safe To Say She Loves Our New Bed!

Moisy (also known as Rosie)

Blessings Are Often The Small Things We Take For Granted.

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A few years ago I wrote a series of blogs about counting my blessings over the Christmas period. It was as always a hard winter in France and Christmas was a very pared down affair, although that was, and will continue to be, a good thing in this house. The simplicity of our Christmas enabled me to see the small simple blessings like a cup of tea in the morning.

Fast forward to current times and Monday night just gone, as I lay in my new bed absolutely exhausted after sleeping on the floor for 2 nights. As I lay there I realised how blessed I was to have a bed, and my thoughts led me to think of how if I had to sleep on the floor for an indefinite amount of nights my health would definitely be affected. And I felt blessed, and I said thank you to ‘life’ for giving me the abilities and the tenacity to be in this position.

I found my eyes filling with tears when I thought of all the people sleeping on the floor, from older people to street children, and all those in-between, and I felt humbled.

Moisy

Moving Again PT I

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Harley and Wiglet looking at their new view

It’s been a week since we started the move from our rental property to our new house, and what a week! Being the second time we have moved country we are used to the hard work and logistics that have to be put into place. The when you move country is you often have to move twice, once into a rental and then again into the home you buy.

RD and I were talking the other day about how we have basically been packing and unpacking in some form for seven months this time: Montaigu France – Gite in France- Rental Cottage in Ireland- New home.

But I’m not complaining because we have learned a lot from this part of the adventure, not least for me, because I have learned that whilst I think we need to do X life will show me we need to do Y, and this time I listen.

The start of decorating the bedroom

I was convinced we needed to decorate our bedroom before our bed came yesterday (that’s another story!) and bless RD he duly starting stripping the wall, but we had deliveries every day, on top of actually loading our van with stuff from the rental and driving it across the mountains to our new home, often through snowy wonderlands.

The oven in our new home looked as if it had something growing in it! Needless to say once the huge delivery of white goods arrived on Saturday that was a priority job for RD, along with fitting the washing machine and so much more: moving the fridge 4 times (women of the world will understand), putting the Hoover together, and the bed when it finally arrived, and the coffee table….

As well as decanting the boxes and boxes of stuff we have acquired and brought with us I have been busy ordering essentials, like crockery! Nearly all of our worldly goods are in France with no sign of when we can have them sent over, or collect them. But as most of them are going in the garage they’re not a priority for now, but it does mean we have to buy many essentials all over again.

I have also been busy arranging rubbish collection (not automatic in Ireland, it’s collected by private companies) and arranging internet, and deliveries. To say we’re tired is an understatement.

The front gates and gate into the paddock had to be covered in wire to stop the Welshies getting out, that was our first job, carried out by RD on the first day we started the move in the snow and sleet. When we finally spent our first night here on Saturday, sleeping in the floor, we had been driving a total of 15 hours in round trips back to the rental. Add the final trip on Sunday when we went back to pick up our final bits and clean the cottage RD had wracked up 18 hours of driving and we still had another full van to unload. Followed by another night of sleeping on the floor!

I have limited internet, it’s hit and miss with the 4G on my phone, so pictures will be few for now, but I will do my best to keep you all in the mix. RD and I really feel that this little house is home, I think we all feel that.

Moisy