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

April Snow In Ireland

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It’s 9.30 in the morning and we’re driving to our new home, around the lower parts of the Derryveagh Mountains in driving snow! In April!

Snowcapped Mountains in Ireland

With a loaded van and two Welshies (the cats aren’t stupid they’re warm in our rental) we do love an adventure.

Never give up, embrace all life has to offer.

Rosie

Exciting Times ..We’re On The Move Again!

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Our Small Irish Home

We’re finally on the move. Our contract has been signed, the ten per cent deposit has been paid and we’re just waiting for all the dots on the I’s and crosses on the T’ until completion.In the meantime our vendor has allowed us to move into the house pending everything going through.

It’s exciting times, not least these two will finally have a garden, albeit small to start with, to run around in with no fear of other dogs.

Harley and Wiglet, our babies.

Eventually RD will open up the half acre paddock you can see on the side of the property. But that’s a little bit off for now. So far it’s been busy just getting what we need together to move in.

When we moved from France we came over with virtually nothing, all of our treasured belongings left in France in anticipation of moving them over. But sadly in this world we live in that has proved exceptionally difficult, what with tests, lockdowns, and isolation! Meaning we will move in without our stars, cherubs, and hearts, along with step ladders, and basic utensils for the kitchen which will need to be bought.

We have been busy buying: lamps, sparkly lights, rugs and sofas. Add to that all the basics you need like a fridge freezer, microwave, washing machine and it all begins to become quite scary, but also very exciting.

Our New Bedroom mmmm lots of work to do.

We have a beautiful super king size bed in France, but on Saturday we took on board ‘living in the here and now’, in that our bed is not here, and we need a bed now! We also finally accepted that our super king bed would never fit into our small bedroom, not unless we rip out the wardrobes which offer a huge amount of storage; it’s not feasible. So we bought a new king size bed, and the wardrobes are staying. Trust me when I say that the wardrobes are going to have the mother of all facelifts and the crystal doorknobs have already been ordered!

We will make room for the super king bed one day. I live in hope.

We had the conversation on Saturday about thinking realistically as to when we can retrieve our belongings, and how buying new things makes us realise we had still packed too much stuff to bring over to our new life. I think we may be letting even more things go.

The van is packed for its first three hour round trip to our house, including coal and logs so that we can light the fire when we get there. The oil has been ordered and should be delivered tomorrow, all good because the house has been unheated for at least two years, and it’s blowing a hooley with snow at the moment, so to say it’s cold is an understatement. Luckily we are not moving in until next Sunday hopefully it will be warm by then.

I wrote in 2015 that we had one more house left in us, now it looks like we have one more. #Excited.

Rosie

Life…Shows You The Way PT II

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Picking up from my last post in this series it was January 2019, and we had lived in France nearly four years. That January was hard, RD had not been paid for a job he had done and we were down to our last bones, literally, on my birthday we had five euros to our name. But we had learned that what you need will come if you just believe and on that evening my tablet pinged informing me that I had made an Etsy sale of over one hundred euro, we were solvent again until our pensions went into our account. Our belief had not failed us, it was another of the lessons we had learned ‘what you need will come.’

The next morning as we sat drinking our tea I felt a surge of anger and drive and I looked at RD and said “Fuck it’ you aren’t working via someone else anymore you’re advertising and working for yourself. Add to that your not cutting corners when you are asked to save them money, if they don’t want a good job done they can get someone else to do it. We are not going to be like other people out here, we’re having an ethos and that ethos will be ‘if a jobs worth doing it’s worth doing well.’”

I had seen so many times how people would undercut others to get the work instead, but then do a very bad job. It would have been so easy to be like them but that was the crux, that was the test: no matter how hard don’t get sucked into the same mindset as the others, rise above it, have faith that keeping your integrity and principles will get you what you need. God did we learn that lesson well!

So that very day I redesigned our Facebook page, and I advertised RD as available for work on the local sites. Within an hour he had a job to start, with a person who came to be our friend. She had been let down and ripped off before by other people in the area, but once RD had spent three days with her the trust had been built and she gave him a fabulous review which I could then use to further promote our service. Life had spurred me on to do what I had the skill to do.

In the next two day I set up a website with our ethos ‘If A Jobs Worth Doing It’s Worth Doing Well’ and I advertised us on the local sites twice a week.

Now it was common for other English in the area to then comment negatively on other people’s posts, and believe me I had my fair share of that. But I was not prepared to be bullied by others, as I was back in ‘work mode’. If they were rude I would answer them brusquely and professionally, they could never respond because more often they were lying or just being negative. On one post a lady put that ‘it would be good if you answered your emails.’ Now I was in charge of all admin, and trust me when I say I am always on top of it. I went back through any contact confirming that no email had been received, so I told her so, in firm professional and businesslike way, also advising her that she was being rude in her tone. It was clear she was lying, but at that point other people took interest and answered her, appreciating the fact that I had put a stop to the nastiness. From there RD got a job with a lovely couple, who were respected in the area. We stood by our principles and they gave him another fabulous review, and work took off from there.

But France is tough, for every euro you earn you have to pay a minimum of 25% in social security, irrespective of any costs that are not taken into account, and before any tax is deducted. This meant that very often RD was working for less than a euro an hour. We survived that year, stuck to our principles and even refused work when people wanted us to cut corners. RD did some fabulous work and we built a client base and even had work in the winter (so hard in France).

But still it was difficult and still the discussion around whether to stay went on. One sunny day in March we walked down our road, looking out across the valleys and agreed that ‘Life would show us the way.’

It was in the Spring that year that I bought ‘The Book Of Awakening’ by Mark Nepo, and RD would read a passage most mornings as we drank our early morning tea. We found that each passage seemed to resonate with our thoughts at that time, and more and more we questioned what we were doing. But still we stayed.

As work came in we took it that the message from Life was to stay in France. But I think Life is more subtle than that at times, so over time we realised how we were still struggling, it wasn’t as hard, but it was still a struggle. We loved our French neighbours, and French friends, we loved our home and it’s location, and there were times we were confused as to the message life was sending. Now I know that Life was showing us, as it so often does, that even with fairly regular work in France it was still an existence. More than anything it was challenging us to still be honest with ourselves and ask ourselves did we want to ‘just exist?’

Over the course of the year we met people who would say how difficult it was to live in the old stone houses, and how they had sold up because of the problems. They look lovely but they are hard work. Then I cleaned a lady’s house who was returning to the UK, after living in France for ten years. When I asked her why she was leaving she explained that she felt life went in ten year cycles, and that we should always consider change as the cycle grows old. It resonated with me and I knew that Life meeting her was one of Life’s messages.

In the summer we read March the 7th passage from ‘The Book Of Awakening’ entitled ‘Let Go Of The Rice’. It is one of the things that changed the way I look at life, or should I say ‘us’. It said it all, how monkeys are caught in traps because they do not believe that what they need will come, because they live in fear, and consequently lose their lives when all they had to do was ‘let go of the rice.’ And that was it, we understood and we started to look at houses in Ireland.

In the August of that year I was ill, I have written how we had no health insurance and how it frightened me. It was life asking me to consider what we would do, whether France was really the right place for us. It’s bad enough being ill, add the complications of language and it is multiplied a thousand times. To reinforce its message Life sent us work with people whose husbands had suffered strokes, or sadly deteriorated from Dementia, and all of them were having horrendous problems in the French system. I found myself questioning how we would survive (there’s that word again!) as we got older. When chopping our own wood no-longer became an option, when RD could no-longer work. I couldn’t find work in France, no matter how I tried, not enough to support us. I questioned whether I wanted to grow old in France, and after I was ill in the August those doubts began to build, but still we persevered, until in the end, as she so often does Life started to hit us round the head to make us listen……

More to come…

Rosie

Life In Limbo – We Are Getting Restless

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Dunmore in Beautiful Donegal Ireland

RD and I are getting restless. Ever the home-makers after twelve weeks of living in our rental we want to move on into our own house and start to build our lives.

Now don’t get me wrong, I am grateful for this lovely little cottage we are renting. The landlord is so lovely, and the crofters around us have been so welcoming and friendly. But it’s not our home, and with our things still in France I have tried to make it as homely as possible buying some things we will need for our new house and using them here. I love our pretty crystal lights, currently on our bedside tables, but probably destined for our new living room.

Having always been a homebody there is of course nothing like a cushion or throw. The animals love them too…

Kittens on our day ed in Montaigu
Wiglet in her old French Antique Cot, it didn’t make the move to Ireland.

Sadly most of my cushions are in France, and some didn’t make the move, so I brought some throws and cushions with us, as many as I could shove under the dogs without their heads touching the roof of the van! Knowing we will need some more I bought some from trusty Ikea, and I have made the living room as much our own as I could.

But it’s not home, no cherubs, no pretty curtains, no bed with crystals or little stars, no vintage French mirrors.

As those that read my blog know the views here have been nothing but breathtaking, and we count our blessings for the opportunity to live here.

But before we moved here we used the lessons we had learnt: in not letting our hearts run away with us, and we drew up a list of our ‘idyll’ for where we wanted to live. With one of the biggest things being that we didn’t want to be in the middle of nowhere. We need to work, we want to work, we have realised that we don’t want to retire, yet, so we need to be nearer to where work is available. We also wanted to be near amenities, but still in the peace of the countryside; where we are now is literally at the tip of a little peninsula, surrounded by sea with a fifteen minute drive just to get out onto the main road, stunningly beautiful, but also remote. There is always a compromise.

All of that has served to re-enforce that we want to be near to a community, including shops, pubs (of course!) and a hub.

Carrickfin Beach and Donegal Airport.

Look at the picture above and you will see a small road on the right hugging the coastline, follow that road up into the outcrop and we currently live at the very end of that little outcrop on the left, literally right by the sea. You cannot even see the house we are so far out. It really is a spectacular place to be, and for a short stay or holiday I personally don’t think it could be beaten. But to get to any main town to work you have to drive almost an hour and a half up through the mountains, so it is impacting on finding work because once our current address is seen we would probably be excluded due to the journey. (Although I think that may be life trying to tell us something.)

Add to all of this that we are surrounded by houses on all sides, as is normal with crofts, it also means that there are other dogs all around us and Wiglet is constantly on a state of high alert. She had a bad start in life, put in a pound with other dogs who beat the crap out of her, so being able to see other dogs in our garden from all angles is her idea of a nightmare. We are stressed because she is stressed and we need to de-stress her.

Wiglet and her Wonky Smile

Poor Harley has constantly been on a lead when we take him out for nearly four months and we can see that he is depressed, which is hardly surprising given that he had the run of an acre of land in Montaigu

Harley, Waiting Patiently

So it’s time to move and things are on their way, more to come……

Rosie

A recent post from a blog I love……………. 299. Freedom tickets

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This is a blog I love, he has the courage to say what he thinks. Such a rare thing in this day and age. So here is a quote from it…

‘It is difficult to be optimistic when intelligent friends say that they lack ‘permission’ to travel more than 5 miles for a walk, or that the most destructive British public policies of the past century that also trample on inalienable human rights are somehow worth getting behind. And when the Labour Party that I once voted for bends over and gives the Tories a free pass.’

Pretty much sums it up for me. All I have ever asked is that people ‘think’. Everyone is entitled to their own opinions, or so I thought, when did that change?

What do I take from this pandemic? I will be stepping away from some, for my own sanity.

Parts of the BBC have been pumping out streams of dung for years. One of the worst elements is the virtue-signalling and persuasion inserted slyly …

299. Freedom tickets

Our First Spring In Ireland

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As I started to write this post the realisation came to me that I will actually see all the seasons in Ireland for the first time this year. It just seemed like a revelation, because we only visited in the summer when I was a child, therefore I never saw Ireland in any other guise.

I learned to really respect the seasons during my time in France. I wrote often of them, especially Spring and Autumn, with both seasons representing change: one welcomes life, one tries to teach us to understand death, and letting go. Life’s ever evolving pattern.

I am looking forward to what the seasons in Ireland will bring, having already experienced the Winter with it’s hooleys and snowy mountains! So many Irish people said how we needed to wrap up warm because of the cold winds, but we were used to them from living on our little house on the hill in Northern France for six years, the winter did not phase us, but the scenery blew us away…

Earrach …It is the first day of Spring today

Earrach means Spring in Gaelic, and there are three days considered to be the first day of Spring in Ireland, but in Ireland the one most consider the first day of Spring is the 1st of February. It’s known as Imbolc ( which means ‘in the belly’ referring to the pregnant ewes) in line with Gaelic tradition, and was a day to celebrate the end of a harsh winter and the coming of warmer weather, being the midway point between the Winter and Spring equinox, it was also the opportunity to rebuild stocks, and for milk to be available. It’s also known as St Brigid’s Day.

A Picture Depicting Brigid The Pagan Goddess

Now there are two schools of thought on this: Brigid was a pagan goddess whose pagan ceremony was held on the 1st of February, as she was also considered the patroness of early Spring. Then suddenly in medieval times, and quite fortuitously, a nun by the same name came along with all the same attributes of the goddess Brigid, how weird! And guess what? She was made a Saint, whose celebratory day was also the 1st of February. I don’t know, it seems to happen so often, how these Christian holidays and Saints day tie in with pagan ones. Must just be coincidence! Poor old pagan Goddess Brigid was elbowed out of the way and her day was given to a prioress who supposedly helped the poor. That’s not to diss St Brigid, she is now considered a patron saint of Ireland, and probably liked to have a good old knees up and a drink with St Patrick!

But that’s not the end of it, all is not lost the Irish still have a soft spot for Brigid the pagan goddess, and still make the pagan crosses to hang on their doors to welcome The goddess who would visit them on the first day of Spring.

The Pagan Cross of Brigid

Now, believing what you will, Spring in Ireland traditionally starts on the 1st of February for logical reasons: the days get longer, the weather starts to warm up (although when hail was sheeting down on us last week you wouldn’t have thought so!) and the flowers start to break through. In fact last week we watched in wonder, with tears in our eyes from laughter as the crofter tried to put two lambs in the field behind his house, he picked one up and carried it to the field, then he went back for the second as the first followed him back bleating it’s head off, bless him he must have done it at least five times until he got someone else to help him. If I can I am going to ask if I can see them, taking the chance that I may never eat lamb again if I do.

Over the last two weeks we have had hail, snow, rain (of course it’s Ireland!) and beautiful warm sunshine. They do say that March comes in like a lion and out like a lamb! With all this weather we have had some fabulous cloud phenomena over the mountains, it’s like seeing an ever changing painting, and we are loving it.

Mount Errigal with Levanter clouds around the bottom

There is nothing like warm Spring sunshine to give you hope, and despite all the madness in the world today nature goes on her way, doing what she needs to do, no lockdowns for her!

Spring Sunshine in Carrickfin Donegal

Moira (also known as Rosie)

Gaelic..I Think I’ve Always Been More Irish Than English

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In Donegal where we are putting down roots the Gaelic language is still the main language, although all those we have met have kindly spoken English to us. Most signs in our area are in Gaelic, and I plan to learn some as the years go on.

I believe it’s important to embrace the culture of where you live, even more so when it’s your heritage. It should help that I learned quite a bit of French because I notice how a lot of Gaelic words are very close to some French words. Although the French are mainly considered Gauls, many people in Brittany consider themselves Celts, and so the link continues.

I am lost on the pronunciation however, although I am getting my head around some of it involving dropping the syllables, for example Donegal … Dún na nGall, when you say it quickly it sounds the same but has a gutteral intonation.

My actual name is Moira, I use Rosie as a pseudonym because of my book, but at times it pisses me off that I lose my own identity due to that. Given that Moira is an Irish Gaelic name, derived from Celtic, I think it’s important now I live in Ireland to own it and embrace the Gaelic language.

Moira comes from the name Máire which means bitter, beloved, drop of the sea. How apt then that I have chosen to live in a place surrounded by the sea. It’s good to see that my name is right up there with Boudicca, it explains my strength, being able to fight my own corner and my hate of injustice since as long as I can remember.

I have always felt closer to my Irish roots than my English. I am proud of England for many things, mainly their stoic approach to the second world war; for whilst I am not someone who condones war I understand that from all wars that war was probably the one most necessary. Britain was up against it where that war was concerned, and they stood their ground, eventually convincing others of its need; but I think it’s important to also remember that WWI was a pre-cursor to it’s cause.

I don’t buy into the crap of ‘let’s make Britain great again’, or watching the 1966 World Cup Final over and over again. It was 55 years ago, lets move on FFS!

I have never felt a sense of English pride, not when I look back through our history and listened to my dad’s experience where Ireland was concerned. Sadly, including my time in France, there have been many times when I have been ashamed of my English heritage, including that sense of entitlement and grabbiness that I have found on my travels, perhaps that comes from all those times in our history that we have just ‘taken’ other’s countries! Then there is football hooliganism: Jack Charlton was so ashamed he gave up the Irish Football Managers job because of it. Or when I holidayed in Turkey and the other English guests ran down to put their Union Jack towels on their sun-beds, there was no other person from any other country (mostly from Germany) who did. Where did that myth about the germans putting their towels on the sunbeds come from? I know some people will read this and say ‘well other nations do that too!’ But I am half English, I’m not speaking for ‘other nations’.

Let us not forget all the times my relatives would call my dad the ‘thick Paddy’, when he was the cleverest of them all. So clever he never felt the need to put them straight, he knew he had the last laugh when he left them to drown in their own ignorance and ego.

Perhaps my Irish ancestry is coming through. I know that’s why I have been thinking about my dad more than ever and finally understanding him, more than ever. We learn and evolve, if we want to.

Where Gaelic is concerned some of the words are familiar to me and I understand them, it may be that my Irish DNA is coming through and my ancestors memories are finally starting to show themselves.

I do feel as if I am finally home.

Deireadh seachtaine maith a bheith agat

Moira