Thursday, 15 December 2011

2011 – A fun packed year for the family.

We had Annabelle's 40th birthday in March- It was a great weekend, starting with Cookie (the goat) giving birth to a perfect male kid -which was named Cappucino by J&E. Philip and Michelle came over for the weekend having just got back from working in Pakistan for a year. Emma- Annabelle's sister - also flew in from Uganda as a surprise – it was just brilliant.
We then had a party here for about 50 people and it’s official, this house is a good party house!
All the family had lunch on the Sunday in a wonderful fish restaurant right by the sea- perfect.

We flew to Portugal in April, direct from Cork and spent a lovely week in an all inclusive resort on the beach. It was lovely, a real break for us all, not having to even think about meals was a real treat. Having food and drink on tap all day by the pool was brilliant , but not for the waistline! Edward said "you mean there is free cheese all day!!"

We hired a car and drove over the border into Spain to stay with Belinda, Annabelle's cousin, and her 3 kids, in the mountains just North of Seville for a couple of days. We explored their olive and cork oak groves and rode the horse and ate yummy tapas in Zufre. It was especially great as they have now moved back to the UK so we got there just in time.

Gary had a flying visit back to Brecon to help his Dad (Peter) move in May. Peter moved from small village outside Brecon into the town and he is loving being in his new place. He has had electricians, plumbers and decorators in to make the place his own..

The summer was very eventful for the Abbotts. Jenny went on guide camp and a church camp, Edward went on rugby camp and football camp and both of them went on a riding camp at the stables where they have riding lessons. In between all the camps, we went to Euro Disney, Philip, Annabelle's brother, got married over here and we had friends and family to stay.

We went to EuroDisney for 4 days, flying over to Paris early on Wednesday and flying back on Saturday afternoon. We stayed on the EuroDisney site in the Sequoia Lodge, which was great as it was only a ten minute walk to the Parks. We had Wednesday afternoon and Thursday in the main Park, Friday in the Disney Studios Park and the Saturday morning in the main park again. We had an absolutely amazing time. We managed to go on almost all the rides at least once and our favourites we got to do a second time on the Saturday morning.

Because we were staying on-site we were allowed into the park an hour before the general public. We therefore went on the really popular rides at this time with very little queuing - also we were there just before the British Schools broke up, which I think meant again it was less busy. The food around the park, in the restaurants and hotel was great. We had vouchers for all of the kids meals which worked very well. The weather was good to as although it was not particularly sunny it was not too hot in the queues etc.

Philip and Michelle got married on 30th July. It was a great event. We had Annabelle's cousin Belinda and her family staying with us which was really good fun.
There was a marque between the castle and the lake-the perfect setting for a perfect day. Jenny and Edward were bridesmaid and pageboy, Jenny matching the other 6 adult bridesmaids in sky blue chiffon. Edward looked so grown up in the full morning coat etc. The party continued into the small hours, then we started again with 200 ish people coming for drinks the next day!

Gary went on a Sea Fishing trip with a few of the guys from the gun club off the South West Coast. Whilst out on the boat he saw a family pod of Dolphins. With only a mobile phone he got this shot..
The fishing was good and we got plenty of Mackerel, Ling, Pollock and a few Cod. The Fish pies we have had since are scrummy, especially with the fish stock Gary made after filleting what he brought home. Being a true hunter gatherer G now has a .22 rifle and has added rabbit to our "free" food and he has started the main shooting season well with pigeon, pheasant and some duck.

We went over to Wales in November for Gary's Dad (Peter)'s 80th. This included a trip to the Penderyn Whisky Distillery ( which was fascinating.
It was great to see Peter’s newly decorated house and to see him so settled. We also saw Tina and Trace’s newly decorated house as well.

Gary is not playing as much golf as he should be - but there always seems to be something on... Still he has had a few outings with the Nyhan's Bar Golf Society - which is always great fun. He continues to play 5- a-side football on a Thursday evening. He is still working at PFH.

Annabelle still swims twice a week when she can and she was going to the ladies walking group until her job started. Yes Annabelle now has a year’s contract covering maternity leave from September to June working for a company that has 5 Montessori schools in Cork. She has been based mainly in Clonakilty, but if needed more elsewhere she is sometimes sent to 2 different ones in Bandon. They say variety is the spice of life, but she is looking forward to being head Montessori teacher from Jan-June in Clonakilty. She is loving being back in school – although the challenge of the working, looking after the kids and running the house means that her days are always full!

Jenny continues to play the piano and has passed her grade 2. She is loving Guides and has been on a number of trips etc with them as well as the camp. She is collecting loads of badges too and is becoming quite a knitter.

Edward has started Drama Club and was runner up best actor in his drama class,(he plans on putting the certificate in his C.V!). He has also gone with Gary when he goes shooting and is enjoying the outdoor life. He has just taken up the guitar (after Gary won a ¾ sized one at the School Christmas Fair).

Both the children love their horse riding. They are both progressing well. We have fenced off a paddock at the back of the house and are actively looking for ponies. They both continue to swim regularly Jenny has now started a Life Guard’s course and Edward has moved up another level.

So, all in all, a very enjoyable and full 2011. We hope you have enjoyed finding out what we have been up to. Next year we intend update the blog more often

We hope you all have a super, enjoyable and relaxing Christmas.
This year for all the Christmas cards not sent we are going to buy 2 sets of ducks for families in Bangladesh (

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

A White Christmas from the Emerald Isle 2010

We had a lovely yet busy summer. We moved into the house at the end of July-It's heavenly!!.

The house is now finished other than a few doors still need a final coat of gloss.
We had two sets of friends come and stay. It was so lovely to relax and enjoy the house.

We spent loads of time on the beach. Both Jenny and Edward learned to catch a wave on a boogie board- what a buzz!!
They are loving riding and are really progressing, Jenny is now jumping really well and Edward cantered for the first time this week having refused to put his feet into the styrups until he was allowed to try!
Edward's rugby is now full contact ,so he comes home bruised ,muddy and happy!
Jenny is now a Guide and loves it- we are all benefitting from her aim to do a good deed every day
Edward has moved up a level in swimming ane Jenny has started lane swimming at a small local pool with the intention of doing lifeguard training when she is big enough.

We now have goats living in the castle again,Cookie and Cloud (named by J&E). They are delightful-the castle seemed very empty without any.
Gary's work is busy but he has managed to fit in some shooting at the weekends, and will play some golf over Christmas.
Annabelle is still painting doors and is really enjoying the warm, dry house. She can now host the walking group and is still trying to get the scones right- flapjacks are popular though! She has some supply teaching lined up for February and is ready to step in if she is needed before then.

We managed to all get to the U.K twice this year. Once was for Tina's (Gary's sister ) Civil partership ceremony with Tracey . It was a beautiful day in a beautiful setting.

We also came over for half term.We saw so many of you -it was a really fun mad exhausting week. Thanks to all those who fed & watered us and gave us beds for the night!

Other big news is that Philip-Annabelle's brother will be marrying Michelle Butler here in Ireland at the end of July!! Annabelle went to the engagement party at the Players Theatre in London in November-such fun to be free of responsability in London for a weekend. She landed in snow at Cork airport and had to leave the car by the castle and walk-it stayed there for over a week! The school was shut so we all went sledging and generally got in a festive mood

We still have snow on the ground and the thaw is not expected till at least Christmas night ,so we will have a white Christmas! hurrahhh!!!
Jenny and Edward break up today(23rd) .Its a non uniform day, Edward was so pleased because it meant he could wear his yellow Mexican hat!?

We are doing Christmas at our house. Annabelle's parents, Philip, Michelle, & John (annabelle's cousin) are all coming. Should be a giggle.
We hope you have a wonderful Christmas and new year