Monday, 28 November 2011

Dandelions and Buttercups

Hi all,

Here is the next instalment from the Abbotts in Ireland

Annabelle’s bit:
The biggest news we have is a great sadness. Jen my aunt sadly died on the 3rd of June. She had a heart attack a couple of weeks before and fought bravely, but eventually she asked for “no heroics” and we realised that we needed to pray for a promotion rather than to stay here with us. She was very peaceful at the end and Mummy was with her. Emma managed to get here from Uganda and Philip and his girlfriend Michelle from Australia (they were visiting Michelle’s family, Philip lives in Pakistan) for the funeral. It was a lovely send off, the church was packed. Edward read a poem and I managed to read my bit with only a few tears. Emma and Philip read beautifully and mummy told about Jens life-lots of laughter and happy memories. We had at least 100 back here afterwards, Jen would have loved it! Edward said a lovely thing “Jen can see Jesus now-how cool!” and Jenny and I talked about how Jen can now eat as much chocolate as she likes (having been diabetic for years, this was a problem). So I now have a lovely picture of her in my mind, just chilling out and eating chocolate with Jesus…perfect.

Now about the rest of what has been going on:

We are all well and are enjoying the nice weather. Not too much ash coming down on us - although great excuse for the car being dirty!! Hope none of you have been stuck because of flights being cancelled.

Paul and Frin are fine too, planning their holidays in September. They are real saints putting up with us living in their house whilst the renovations continue at the Cottages. We have been living with them 11 months now, a bit longer than any of us had imagined when we started!!

Talking of the renovations - things are progressing. It is all moving forwards now which is a great relief. The second fix of electrics and plumbing are almost complete. All the walls and ceilings are painted now .We got through 400 litres of paint! Annabelle painted 3.7 miles of skirting and architrave once she had primed both sides and glossed. They are now being put on the walls. Gary has most of the bathrooms tiled- made easier by investing in an electric tile cutter! The kitchen is fitted and Annabelle is thrilled by her Rangemaster cooker and will soon be baking!

All this means that we are hoping to move in a week or so.

Gary’s bit:
I had started to play crib one night a week with an English mate who is renting one of the cottages on the estate, but he has gone back to London to work for a few months so I have lost my card partner - but I am still going to the pub anyway! I have been told I am fitting in quite well ... Hope that is a good thing!
The rugby season had been good fun even if I was getting a bit of stick in my Wales shirt. Munster did well in the Heineken Cup and the Mangers’ League so that was always a good excuse for a trip to Nyhan’s Bar.
I am getting to play a little bit of Golf with a few friends and also with the pub society. Some evenings as I get home - I park up and play the three holes in front of the castle before carrying up the drive to the house.

I am looking forward to being able to fish (now the flies have started hatching). I’ve been given some fantastic rods by Annabelle's godmother, so can not wait to put them to good use. The shooting season was great and I got quite involved with the local gun club. Matix (the black Lab) has matured a bit and has been a delight. So all in all as far as I am concerned this is heaven!

The job at PFH has been going well. I was made permanent after 2 months of a 3 month contract which is fantastic as the job market over here is far from good. I have a new boss and this is working out well. The company is even expanding. I’ve joined a gym close to work and go early in the morning to miss the traffic. It is great getting a bit fitter and not waste time sitting in traffic jams.

Annabelle’s 2nd bit:
I am well and settling back into a routine after a crazy month. I’ve been doing a lot of decorating. I’ve done a bit of supply nursery school teaching- probably a little more than we had intended, but as we were close up behind the plasterers as far as decorating goes we are not turning down the extra cash. I’ve managed to keep up my swimming, but it is a bit further to go than Northcroft was back in Newbury! I’ve also joined a group of mums from school who go walking once a week. We walk briskly for an hour or so and then don't feel so guilty eating all the cakes and scones afterwards!!

I really enjoy walking around the Estate with Matix. We’ve had herons nesting on the lake and the rabbits are prolific, there are a couple of black ones, very sweet, no one is allowed to shoot them! After such a cold long winter, the rhododendrons, bluebells, dandelions and buttercups have been spectacular! Matix gets home with yellow legs from the pollen. I am so looking forward to moving into the cottages and finding a new normal. I hope like the buttercups and dandelions after a long hard year we can put down strong roots and blossom!

The Kids bit:
Jenny is doing really well at school, she won a maths trophy and has lots of friends she is loving her riding and she did a riding camp at the beginning of July for a week- they broke up for the summer on the 25th June and don’t go back till 1st Sept! She is still enjoying playing the piano and is working towards her grade 2. She went to Brownie camp weekend and has discovered the joys of smores (chocolaty, marshmallowy, melted biscuits). Jenny is loving the freedom of living here, she and here friends can go down to the lake or the castle or collect the eggs without a grown up!

Edward too is having a fabulous time. He has continued to play in the U7 Bandon Rugby team and was presented with a medal (along with his team mates) at the annual club presentations. He did a Munster rugby camp in last week and had a wonderful time.
On the last day of term a group of mums and kids went straight to the beach from school. It was so great to see J&E playing on the beach and in the dunes with a gang of friends. Edward spent most of the time swimming and watching the older boys surfing-I think we may have a surfer in the making judging by the way he raved about it afterwards!
They have been to their first school disco at which Dad was a bouncer!