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…
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.
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.
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
So it’s time to move and things are on their way, more to come……
If you think others will like my blog please share
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 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.
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.
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.
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!
There are thirty mountain ranges in Ireland, with glen’s running down through them. The word glen comes from the Irish and Scottish word ‘gleann’ and means a narrow valley, more often than not with water cascading down through it cutting through the rock as it goes. We are currently living near the Derryveagh Mountain range in Donegal. My understanding is that it is the Bluestack mountains that we will be able to see from the house we are hoping to buy, which is good news as far as I am concerned.
I have written before of my love of the glens. When I was a very young child we would visit Ireland on holiday, and whilst my dad helped his brother on his farm I would play with my cousins in the glen that run past the side of their farmland. There was a small stone bridge that straddled the freezing cold sparkling water as it ran down from the mountains to meet the sea, and we would all congregate under the bridge on warm sunny days catching tiddlers and then letting them go. It is one of my favourite memories of my holidays in Ireland.
Ever since then I have always been fascinated with the beauty of the glens, as they catch the light and take it with them to the sea.
The last time I was in Ireland before moving here, was thirty-six years ago when my dad brought the whole family, including boyfriends of the time, to visit his family. I can remember walking up what I think were the Galtee Mountains and along the edge of the Glen of Aherlow; the further you walked up the mountain the bigger the glen was in places, sometimes a raging torrent angrily hurtling down the hills, as if it really didn’t want to leave it’s surroundings but compelled by some sort of magic to keep going anyway. The sun was shining and the glen was at it’s most magnificent, a watery jewel that only nature could create.
My partner at the time had a terrible wound on his hand, he had caught it with a grinder and took layers of skin off and it just wouldn’t heal. My dad told him to place his hand in the freezing pure waters of the glen and hold it there. His hand was healed before the holiday was over.
For those new to my blog, of which there seem to be quite a few so welcome, our Welshie Harley has always loved water, and especially the light that sparkles on it. There was never a moment of peace when our pool was in place for the summer, no laying in the water and relaxing because Harley would just be stood up beside the pool barking incessantly until you splashed him, and he would then chase the sparkling droplets all around the garden. It was the same with the hose, he just loved it.
It was one of the things that broke our heart when we took it down for the last time. But we comforted ourselves that he would love his life here.
Harley had a terrible health scare back in 2017 when he nearly died. Since then we have always been afraid that it would have affected him in other ways, add to that he is not getting any younger and it is always a worry.
Towards the end of last year we had another health scare with him, which resulted in me being in tears for a whole weekend until we decided to ‘wait and see’. But one of the things that I said at the time, through the tears was that I just wanted to get Harley to Ireland, and for him to see the beaches, and more importantly the glens, with their sparkling magical light that I knew my boy would love.
I was not wrong.
Although we have not been able to go into the mountains for walks due to the dreaded lockdown we have been able to experience some of the glens as they finally meet the sea; and Harley, like his mummy, has absolutely loved them.
We have visited a town near to us where the glen finally runs free into the sea, gurgling hysterically as it’s journey finally comes to fruition. Harley could not resist getting closer to take a look.
A few weeks ago we went to the long beach near to us, and there was a small glen trickling down to freedom, because we have not been able to get into the mountains we showed it to Harley, it was one of those moments that makes you smile.
I cannot wait until we can go into the mountains and my boy can finally stand in their healing waters. More to come on this subject.
If you think others will like my blog please share
Only recently someone said to me that ‘Yousure know how to find a view’. I thought of it the other day as I was pegging out my washing in the blustery winds and suddenly stopped and looked at this…
As I turned and found myself looking at this on the other side, It did just make me stop and think of that conversation.
But I was also reminded of a conversation I had last summer with an elderly lady that I cared for. She had the most amazing view from every room in the home she had lived in for over fifty years. When I commented on the view she said ‘Yes, it’s a view!’ I understood exactly what she meant, a view is a fleeting thing, something that holds you in awe for a time and then it becomes like the sideboard, something that you take for granted, something that you have seen over and over, it no longer makes you go ‘wow!’ Unless you stop at times, and look out and remind yourself of how lucky you are.
When we first moved to Montaigu in France the view across the valley literally took my breath away.
I would stand at my washing line and look across this valley and remind myself ‘I live here!’ In the same way as I would look out of my bedroom window at the hay bales as summer drew to a close and marvel at the colours, and nature.
As time moved on although we never really tired of the view I can’t say that we were ‘in awe’ any longer, not unless we made ourself stop, and count our blessings.
But every morning if I was up early enough to see the sunrise I would rush out in my jymbi jambes and slippers and take photos of the sunrise, because no two were ever the same, all truly breathtaking. We count that view as a blessing, something in our memories for the rest of our lives.
Now I find myself here in Donegal Ireland, surrounded by mountain ranges and beaches, it is the most atmospheric place that I have ever lived.
As I walk to the beach the colours change over and over, as does the weather with the sun, wind and rain.
I think it will be impossible to become bored with this, but I also think that’s because we try to always focus on the here and now, never take anything for granted, and count our blessings. One of those is that I have a view, but is it in the perspective? Can we not see something beautiful wherever we are? I don’t know I think I’ve been blessed.
More to come.
If you think others will like my blog please share
The cold is here in Ireland, along with most of North West Europe, but so far we have had only a flurry of snow.
Today RD had an appointment and I was here with the puppies, meaning we walked down to the beach alone. Well apart from the little Jack Russell, who I have nicknamed Fannie Annie, who has decided that she wants to walk with us most days. Wiglet tried to bite her initially, as is normal for our insecure little dog, but Fannie Annie was far too fast for her and in the end our little fat-arsed Oompa Loompa gave up and called a truce.
There is nothing like walking in the biting wind, the kind that stings your face, to wake you up and invigorate you.
Nature really is a fabulous thing.
When we arrived on the beach the tide was out, and I found myself surrounded by stark winter colours everywhere.
With the dunes taking the brunt of the wind the beach felt calm and the sun was warm on my back, a timely reminder that despite this cold Spring is on its way.
I count my blessings every day.
If you think others will like my blog please share