Friday, 28 October 2011

Christmas Greetings from the Abbotts - 2009

This year we are going environmentally friendly. The money that we would have spent is going to Christian Aid to buy a couple of goats for the "Goat Bank" in Burundi (see the attached word document) . This gives a goat to a farmer who then passes on one of its kids to help another farmer and so on so its the gift that keeps on giving!!

Its been an amazing year for us. We let our house in Newbury from September and moved lock , stock and barrel over to Bandon in Ireland. We are living with Annabelle's parents temporarily as the house that we are going to rent, which belongs to A's aunt Jen, is being renovated. This has been major reconstruction, but we now have floors upstairs and down, a new roof and windows. We hope to move across the field to it in the spring. In the mean time it is working out very well sharing Paul and Frin ' s house. Most of our furniture is in their large garage , or dotted about their house.

We have been going to three churches and will continue to mix and match for a while as they all seem wonderful. We may settle on the Baptist Church most weeks as the children's groups are fab, as is the music and teaching. We have been so welcomed to all the churches and have made good friends in each.

We came on a wing and a prayer as Gary had no job to come to and our prayers have been answered and he got a temporary contract working for a computer solutions company called P.F.H. Technology Group ( ) about 45 mins away in Cork . This has just been made permanent-HOORAY!! As Jen put
it ,we came over and Gary got the only job in Ireland! He is playing crib with a friend most Tuesdays in the pub. When he gets the chance he has been watching the rugby too-supporting Munster and Wales. he plays 5 aside football some Thursdays too.

Annabelle has been doing a bit of supply work for a Montessori school. She really enjoys it and is starting to get to grips with the names and the spellings (eg: Caoimhe- is pronounced Queeva!) She goes along to a ladies walking group with Matix on a Wednesday .They go for a brisk hours walk from different peoples houses and then coffee, scones and cake. She swims twice a week , once with the children and once alone, which she combines with a Tescos shop to justify the hours round trip.

Jenny is so happy at school, she immediately joined in with a group of 4 other girls ,who are lovely.She has been to a sleepover already and speaks with an Irish accent when with them; however there is not a hint of it at home. Jenny has some catching up to do in Irish lessons but she is learning fast. She has learned how to jump in riding. She has joined the Brownies
and been for a day in the woods with them. Her piano has really improved,she is aiming for grade 2 in the summer. She has done a concert for all of the residents at Jen's hospital and is playing "Walking in the Air" and "The Combat Man" in the school play.

Edward also loves school -particularly his teacher. His reading is excellent and he is doing really well in his Irish lessons apparently he is doing as well as children who have done it for a year already. He has joined Bandon Rugby Club and they have won all their matches this term. He is loving being truly immersed in nature (almost literally sometimes).

Matix loves being part of a pack with Paul & Frin's boxer-Tisa and Springer-Poley. He loves the freedom of the estate and has discovered the joys of eating crabs and mermaids purses on the beach.He finds the pigs fascinating but can no longer bait the goat as it sadly died in September (he was very old)-hence the Goat Bank gift,it seems appropriate.

Bandon had the worst floods on record in November. 187 businesses were affected. Many had over 4 feet of water in and a few had 7 feet! It has been amazing to see the community spirit in the town People have been so generous with their time and money. Nearly all of the shops and banks are open again and we had a wonderful belated Christmas light switching on ceremony with a snow machine!! If you want to see some pictures etc of the floods follow this link:

We are looking forward to our 1st Christmas living in Ireland ,we hope you have a wonderful, happy, peaceful, fun Christmas

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

News from Ireland with Rainbows!

Ok so here is the next installment from Ireland:

Gary's Bit
Probably the most exciting bit in news is that I have a job. I have a three month contract being the Financial Controller of a computer company called PFH whilst the incumbent is off having an operation. They are a reasonably sized firm with offices in Cork, Dublin and Galway. They are well respected in Cork and will be a great addition to my CV if the job does not get extended - and there is a possibility that it might.

The cottages are coming on. The downstairs floors are going to be poured this week. The plumbing has all been laid ready. Also the upstairs windows will be going in this week too.

Dad came over for a long weekend last weekend. It was great to see him. We took him to some of the local beaches and to a rather nice fish restaurant called "Fishy fishy".

Annabelle's bit
We are so excited that Gary has a job!!!!!! He is working so hard ,I think they will find that they can't do without him.It is on the outskirts of Cork on a place called Little Island, about a 45 minute commute. We are so happy that he has work, the reccesion is so much worse here than in the U.K.Everyone says (and we agree) that it is a miracle.

We had a lovely mid term break (half term) .Emma and Tim came over from Uganda, they had been to a wedding in England and so popped here for a few days. Philip came for the weekend too. It was wonderful to have the whole family under one roof. A little crazy ,loud, chaotic but so so fun. Their lives have become a little easier since they have hired a company to run the lodge on Bulago ( Tim part owns the island). So now they can concentrate on Ndege ju ya Africa (their aviation company) which is very successful. They have also got a driver now as well as the house boy and they have hired a chef at Ndege for clients and themselves ,so life is peachy for them! Philip may be going to Islamabad to work for a year. The date keeps canging so we will wait and see. He is very excited about the challenge . He doesn't seem concerned about safety- he seems to think he's invincible- I hope he's proved right!!

We all had a great time with Peter ,but I think he was rather horrified by the state of the cottages. We, on the other hand are pleased- he didn't see it a month ago! I am looking forward to getting the windows in. I had a meeting with the plumber last Thursday and it was foggy-INSIDE the house!! I go over every day (300metre walk) as there is usually something to be discussed or decided . This week it was radiators downstairs and outside taps.

I am managing to swim twice a week-once with Jenny while Edward has a lesson and once on my own or with my friend Karen-this I combine with a Tesco shop to justify the hours round trip. I bought G some bottles of London Pride this week-a real treat as you can't get draught bitter here.
I now have Irish plates on my car,which is a shame, I now can't play the "Lost tourist" when I cut in, do u turns or generally drive like a girl !
We get to the beach most weeks which Matix loves -Edward was desperate to swim in the sea today "as it is sunny"- it is mild but not that warm! The weather has been unbelievably changable we do sometimes experience every season in one day. The upside of this is that I have seen a rainbow every day this week!

Jenny is still very happy. Her piano is improving and the is now working towards grade 2. She has been to friends houses ,has had friends here and been on a brownie outing.

Edward has played in his 1st rugby match against Dunmanway and won. Grandpa ,(my Dad) came to watch too . He had to have the proper Bandon rugby club shirt-I was a little horrified at the 50 Euro price tag! Luckily they only had bigger ones so it will last him ages. He has been to yet another bithday party, a girl called Lucy,Jenny says that Lucy is in love with him, Edward says that they are just friends at the moment.

We have been trying out different churches since we arrived. We were worried that we wouldn't find one that suited us, but we have the opposite problem. They all have attributes that we like! We think we have settled at the Baptist Church for our main one but will continue to go to the Methodist sometimes, and we will go to St Peters(the Church of Ireland one that M&D go to) for the family service. We have made good friends at all of them but lots of the children's friends go to the Baptist ,so we will continue to mix and match a bit.

We are eating very well here ,Mummy & I are sharing the cooking and shopping. This weeks yumminess was beetroot brownies! Very chocolatey but also made with beetroot- from the garden, Hazelnuts- gathered and bantum eggs- from the pheasant pens. Free and yummy...Perfect!!