Tuesday, February 28, 2017


Tomorrow we go to sign our new lease, pay the rent, and get the keys to the house. Once we move the rest of our stuff over, we will drop off the keys to this apartment. I am so looking forward to being there and settling in. We brought two loads on foot yesterday and also defrosted the freezer, swept the house, and cleaned out cupboards. There will be more cupboard clearing to do when we get there. The people who lived there last left stuff behind, including many shoes. There are three pair of men's pointy-toed shoes, which are popular here. Those can go to the clothes bank. In the press I found a box with one brand new canvas shoe inside. I wonder where the other shoe is. There are two library books on the counter--not sure if they are books that have been withdrawn or if they simply never got returned. I will check.

Bill chatted with a Vodaphone rep today to confirm that they got his online moving house form. It is in process, but we do not know exactly when we will have wifi at home--should be less than 28 working days anyway. In the meantime, the library now has wifi so we can use our own devices instead of having to use library computers, which we will do on Wednesdays and Fridays when the library is open.

Have a great week!

Friday, February 24, 2017

Do We Have Enough Plates?

One thing I love about renting in Ireland is that places come furnished and equipped with the basics. Furniture, pots, silverware, and just about everything else is all there. Every place we have lived has contained numerous egg cups and a wine rack. This told me something about food culture from the start 😊 Most of them have had various pint glasses which have been rehomed from a pub. I read in a book about drinking culture here that this pint glass pilfering is a thing.  I always have fun poking around and seeing what is in a new place. Like a few of the other places we've lived, the new house was used as a holiday home for a while, so there are a couple of kettles and even a couple of irons in the place. In Ballinrobe, we had two vacuum cleaners.

I like this system for a few reasons. First of all, it is a lot easier to move when you do not have to pack up furniture and dishes and stuff like that. We are spared the expense of buying this stuff. I always prefer to use things that are not new wherever possible and I would buy it in a charity shop if I needed it, but having it already there is better. Clearly, there is enough stuff around, so why not use what is already available instead of getting more? Finally, while this kind of situation would not work for a person who finds matching tableware to be very important, I am, happily, not such a person. I quite enjoy looking at the hodge podge of bowls, plates, and silverware--the designs, patterns and shapes are often interesting. Good thing, too, because I checked the cupboards the other day to see if there was any basic thing we would need to look for in the charity shop, and when I opened the door to the bowls and plates, I found that none would be needed.
I think we're good. Anyone want to come for supper? I have plenty of tableware. 😄

Happy Friday!

Thursday, February 23, 2017

On a Sock Kick

Last week, I finished a pair of gift socks and posted them with my fingers crossed, hoping they'd get to their destination by today. Happily, the package arrived yesterday, so there was plenty of time!
After those were done, I was deciding what to do next and realised I still felt sockish, so I grabbed a  skein of sock yarn, decided on a stitch pattern for the instep, cast on, and knit away. I finished the first one of the pair last night and a short time later, cast on and started knitting its mate. Just to be on the safe side, when I was packing yarn last week in preparation for our move, I removed enough yarn for another pair, just in case I finish this pair and still feel the socks calling to me. I have decided on the instep stitches too, so if the urge is still there, I will be ready! 😉

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Shifting Stuff

It's official. I am no longer a spring chicken. I am tired. I hope that means that I will fall asleep and stay asleep tonight, no matter what kind of pain my feet throw at me!

This morning we did some errands, including borrowing the key to our new place. We will be taking possession next week, but between now and then we will borrow the key a few times so we can bring some stuff over there. We did a couple of trips today.
We have two rolling suitcases--the red one above and a smaller green one. I packed both of those, both of my backpacks, and the shopping cart we have. I packed other stuff in various bags. Bill had a suitcase and backpack, as you can see. I had a backpack, the smaller suitcase, and the shopping cart, with another bag on top. When we got there, we emptied everything, rolled it home and filled it again. Because I had stuff already bagged, it did not take long to shove the bags into suitcases and take off again. Today's loads were primarily yarn, fabric, and thread with some other stuff tossed in, too. I kept a few skeins of sock yarn here so I'd have something to work on. I thought I might finish a sock last night, but I made it partway through the toe decreases and called it a night. Maybe I can do the last little bit tonight and then cast on its mate.

We could be in for a storm starting tonight and into tomorrow, with high winds and possibly sleety rain or wintry mix, so we will probably not make any trips tomorrow. Gives me time to get everything ready for the next trip!

I am glad to be in the process now. It will be nice to get there for good and start to settle in!

Sunday, February 19, 2017

A Bit of Stitching

Wednesday night, I finished the gift project I'd been working on and it went out in the post on Thursday. Yay! What to start next? I chose to cast on a pair of socks.

Some months ago, I spent some time flipping through one of my knitting stitch dictionaries and choosing some stitch patterns to adapt to knitting in the round on the 34 stitches that usually makes up the instep. The other day I looked through my notes and chose a stitch to use with some blue/grey cotton/wool/nylon sock yarn. Then I cast on with my size 1s (US) and proceeded with the ribbed cuff, changing to 0s for the rest of the sock. Last night, I finished the heel flap and turned the heel.
Next up will be picking up the gusset stitches and decreasing on those while setting up the lace pattern on the instep. I thought I might do that this afternoon, but I got lost in a book and then had to take a nap. Hopefully I will do some knitting tonight.

I also did some tatting and turned a cross stitch doodle into a bookmark.
The cross stitch one is a repetition of this motif:
I spent some time a while back playing around with various placements of the motif and I still have some of the doodles. Might as well put them to use. This one is now a bookmark and I've used a couple of others on cards. I find my small collection of cross stitched doodles quite handy sometimes!

We've had a nice, quiet, restful weekend. Hope you have had a lovely weekend too, doing things that make you happy with people that make you happy!

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Coasting and Wool

We went to the library today to drop off a couple of books and to pick up the one Bill had in. Then we called in at the grocery store. I wanted to take a short walk after that. I have been so tired these last months that I have not been walking much, but I am trying now to get out a little bit, even for short walks. I often do not feel like it, and sometimes I wonder how I will drag my sorry butt down the stairs and out the door, but I know I will feel better afterwards, so I make myself do it. I am looking forward to getting more of my energy back so I can walk more and longer!

It was windy today and the gulls were coasting in the wind.

No one was at the pier--just us, the gulls, and the sound of the water hitting the rocks. It was chilly, but beautiful.

We decided to stop at the charity shop on our way home. Bill picked up a couple of books and I walked into the back room and picked up these.
The green is a superwash Irish wool. The rust colour had no ball band, but I thought it might be wool. I brought it home and did the burn test. I was pleased when the snipped piece would not stay lit. Sure enough, the burnt end was ash and not a hard bead--it's wool. Between Bill's books and my wool, it was a euro well spent.

I am hoping to finish a project tonight so I can post it tomorrow. I had plans to finish yesterday, but I was finding it hard to keep my eyes open and am at a point where counting is necessary. I suspected I was not up to the task yesterday--fingers crossed for today!

Supper will be easy and quick. The other night I made some chicken. broccoli, and onion with herbs to go over pasta. Last night I made soup and wholemeal cheese bread (yum!). I have leftovers of soup and the chicken broccoli, but not enough of either one to make a meal. Happily, they'll go well together, so I will dump it all in a pot and add more broth if necessary to make a new pot of soup from the leftovers. We will have grilled cheese sandwiches on the cheese bread too.

May you have a day of ease with happy surprises!

Saturday, February 11, 2017

It's the One Thing

The one thing I will miss when we move to our new place will be the view of the hills in the distance and a wedge of the water. When we lived in Killybegs, I loved the view from our bedroom window upstairs and our kitchen window downstairs--we were on a hill and part of the harbour was across the road. It was a quiet section of water, not the busy working area that was down the street. I would be chopping, mixing, cooking and watching the water, birds, sailboats, and the fisherman who sometimes checked his traps from his wee boat. When he was out there, he was very popular with the birds! It made me sad to lose that when we moved here. I consoled myself with what we did have here, which is a glimpse of the water over the rooftops and a dramatic sky. I got into the habit of checking every morning and throughout the day to see what kind of weather was coming--we could see the rain showers approaching. The water is a different colour every day--sometimes black, sometimes blue, sometimes grey. When we cannot see the water or the hills in the distance, we know the fog has rolled in. There have been many spectacular sunsets this winter and most days bring an interesting sky as day turns to night. Today was no exception.
The new place is set a little further up the road from the main part of town; it is not on a hill; and there is a B&B across the street, so we will not be looking at the water from our windows. I am hoping though, that once I get away from the issues here I will feel better and will be able to spend more time at the water's edge! Two and a half weeks until we move in and we are really looking forward to it! The place may not have a view of the hills and water, but considering what it does have, I'll consider it a great trade-off!

Yesterday afternoon we called in at the letting agent's office to take care of the security deposit and we chatted with the young woman there. She said they'd gotten in touch with the owner of the house, who is living in Vietnam, and she was happy to rent it to us. We also got talking about the electric storage heat again. Leo had told us that he has a hard time even getting people to look at a place with storage heat. She told us yesterday that people had looked at the house, but the heating was what put them off. It is unusual for a house like that to even have storage heat--usually it would be the oil fired central heating (OFCH in the ads) in addition to the fireplace. Ah well, it all worked out well for us. We love electric storage heating and if the place had not had that, someone else would have rented it already and we would not be able to live there.

In the afternoon, I tried making some chick pea bread in my bread maker. In my bread machine book, it said that adding chick peas to the dough not only provides a nutty flavour, but also makes the loaf lighter and it rises higher. The recipe called for plain bread flour, but I used a mix of plain flour and strong (bread) wholemeal flour. It came out quite well!
It tastes good, slices well, and has a good texture. I would have never thought of adding chick peas, but there you go!

Hope you're having a great weekend!

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Bad Vibe/Good Vibe

I've mentioned before that the past couple of months have been difficult as I struggle to get even a little bit of sleep and have weird nerve issues and stuff like that. Here is the rest of the story.

I was never overly keen on this apartment. When we looked at it, I was looking to see if it was 'good enough.' I was not looking for wonderful or spectacular or anything like that. Bill was so keen to come here and I did not want to, but I was determined that unless it seemed really bad, I would not make a fuss.

So we looked at it and when he asked what I thought, I said halfheartedly, 'It's OK.' And so it seemed. Moville had promise, but I had misgivings about this apartment from the start. Then we went back to Killybegs for 3 weeks and when we came back, we discovered that mould was growing up our bedroom wall just behind the bed and all around one of the windows. When we pulled aside the net curtain to look out the window over the sink, the area was black with mould. We both got a little depressed. We cleaned it up and kept an eye on stuff. In November, when we went from below freezing temps for several days to the 60s, the mould began to grow again. It is everywhere--except, oddly enough, the small middle bedroom. There is a small bit around the window in there, but the rest of the room is clean. Not so anywhere else. We were trying to clean with vinegar, since bleach bothers me--I get a burning throat and breathing gets weird. We just could not keep up. I developed an allergy to mould a decade ago, so all of the weird health issues I have had for the past 2 1/2 months started with the mould. Finally, we found a spray cleaner that has bleach in it, but it is not overpowering and as long as we do a bit at a time, I can deal with it. It does inhibit the new growth a bit, so instead of scrubbing everything down once every week or ten days, now we can go a month, but even though we can't see it, we know it is there. We both are having trouble sleeping, Bill is itching, I have had the headache, nerve issues, etc.

Then there is the furniture issue. We knew before coming here that the furniture in the sitting room/dining room consists of a loveseat, table and four wooden chairs. The loveseat quickly proved to be painful. It slopes toward the center, so sitting on it means sitting at an angle when we are both on there together. I let Bill have the whole thing so he can sit in the centre with a pillow underneath and one behind himself. That left a hard wooden chair for me, which hurt my back (as did the loveseat when I tried that at first). I found a sort of medical stool thing in the charity shop recently and got that because it was better than the wooden chairs. I have a pillow on the seat and a cushion against the back, and this makes it somewhat comfortable for shortish periods of time, but I still cannot sit out here for a long time. I have spent most of our time here in one of the bedrooms sitting on a bed. This means, of course, that Bill and I spend very little time together in the same room. He still has numbness from his shingles and the loveseat seems to exacerbate this and sometimes it turns to pain. I have had back pain that interferes with sleep. No way to find a decent chair and add that to the room, because there is no space--there is a giant TV in the corner--and mould growing behind it.

I also discovered this winter what a really bad idea tile floors are in a place that is not tropical. The bedrooms are carpeted. The sitting room is nice wood with tile trim. Everywhere else is tile. My raynaud's suffering feet have not been happy--cold and then warm, they burn and shoot pain, again interfering with sleep. I can tell you that it is a really bleak feeling to be wandering around this apartment at 3 am, crying, in pain from the waist down, and wanting more than anything a place to sit down and get a small bit of relief. It has been getting worse--all of it. Bill has been saying we need to move. I have been saying I do not think I can physically do it--all the packing and dragging stuff from place to place on the bus and all of that. I have felt weak on some days coming home from the shop. I am so tired. Besides that, he loves Moville. I have been depressed to varying degrees since we got here. I have never really liked this apartment, although I have tried hard to do so. The vibe was always wrong and while it looks nice with the lovely tile and wood floors and the rest of it, it is a hassle to actually live in. Even inviting someone for tea was an issue because there was no comfortable place for them to sit. I would always feel bad, watching visitors fidget around.

The other day, Bill brought up a listing for a terraced house on one of the roads into town. It has been on the letting agent's site for a while. He suggested I look at the pictures. I had a good feeling about it. Yesterday morning we were going to make our weekly stop at veg man's stall and we called in at the office before we did that, to see if the place was still available. Immediately after telling us that it was available, the wonderful young woman (she is always SO helpful, kind and nice) said, 'Just so you know, it has electric storage heat.' I laughed and told her that we love storage heat. She laughed and said that was good. We set up an appointment to go see it a few hours later. When we got home, I mentioned to Bill that perhaps the reason it was still available was because of the heat--we'd been wondering why it hadn't been rented, because rental properties are few and far between here. Later, when we were in the house, I asked Leo (letting agent) if people do not like that sort of heat and he said they do not. He has a hard time getting people to even look at a place with electric storage heat. The ideal for people is open fire with back boiler and oil fired central heating too. That is what we had in Killybegs, although we did not use the oil. He said those houses get snapped up. Give me electric heat any time!!

Anyway, we walked through the house and I felt myself both relax and get excited. The place made me happy. The vibe is good. It feels right. I love it. I think I feel the same about it as I did the cottage in Killybegs, but for different reasons. Before we decided to view it, we made a list of pros and cons. The cons were few--it is on a main road into town (but not right in the town centre) and the rent is a little more than we pay now (as it would be, since it is a different sort of place). The list of pros was long. But the biggest thing in its favour was how I felt when I was in there. I felt like I could breathe. I was smiling. We will move in at the end of the month. In the past, we have moved using a moving van, a U-Haul, our vehicle, a borrowed work van, a plane, public transport (bus) and now we will move on foot using rolling suitcases and a shopping cart. The new house is down the street and around the corner--takes us less than 10 minutes to get there. I really was resistant to the idea of moving again, but this one seems right. And, it has been empty for a while and it was not cleaned in a major way before the person left--and still there was no mould to be seen. We checked. That seems like a good sign!

Bill was relieved because when we got home, I said I had hope now and was kind of excited. I really liked the place a lot. It has been hard for him because he loves Moville, but finds this apartment frustrating. Plus it has been hard for him to see me struggling with pain and discomfort and being unable to function. I was thinking that it was kind of interesting how much I loved the cottage in Killybegs, even though it was small and crowded. This place is also small (except for our mouldy bedroom), slightly less crowded in some rooms, and yet I always feel like the place is closing in on me for some reason. We will both be glad to move along. And I feel like now I can really enjoy Moville without having my feelings about the village mixed up with the bad apartment vibes. Last night was another night of poor sleep and I was exhausted before I got out of bed. Even so, I did not wander around crying in the night and this morning, I found myself humming Mendelssohn's Italian Symphony in the shower. Just knowing there is an end in sight has made me feel better.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

That Wind Was Sharp!

Yesterday, we went out to put a book in the wee free library. After we placed the book on the shelf, we wandered down a path that goes by the stairway leading to a small beach. In the summer there are always people down on the beach--kids splash around in the water and folks sit on the bench that is built into the wall. Not so yesterday though! The tide was in and there was not much beach showing.
Besides that, it was cold--even for me-- and I do not use that word lightly. I tend to whine about being hot or at least warm fairly often, because I am a wimp when it comes to heat. But cold is fine. Having lived in interior Alaska for 9 years and being used to going about my daily life in temperatures of -20 to -40 (F) for weeks and months at a time, it is hard to get worked up in temps of +20 or +30. But as people always say, that was a dry cold and I have learned that it does make a difference. It's quite damp here, of course, and yesterday we had the wind added in. The wind was sharp and I felt cold. It was nice to be standing there, feeling like it was winter, listening to the sound of the waves and watching the water change shapes and crash into the shore.

After we got home, I made a very large cup of tea, had a couple of Hobnobs, and read for a while. So cosy!

It seemed like a good day for a nice, hearty, warming supper and as luck would have it, I'd cooked a chicken overnight in the slow cooker. We'd called in at the shop at just the right time the day before to find chickens for half price, so we bought two. In another bit of good timing, Bill had defrosted the wee freezer compartment the day before that, so, with a bit of rearranging, I was just able to fit the other chicken in there.

I cooked some onion, carrot, and cauliflower, made some gravy with the liquid from the bottom of the crock after the chicken was cooked, added some chopped up chicken, and we had that over brown rice.
I have enough leftovers to reheat for supper tonight and half of the cooked chicken left, which I will use in tomorrow's supper.

Here's hoping you are having a cosy and delicious weekend too!

Saturday, February 4, 2017


Yesterday, as always, we were served tea and biscuits at the library as we played with our yarn. The biscuits were new to me. Judging from the way they looked, I assumed they contained oatmeal. I tasted one. It was really good--a bit crumbly, not very sweet, and quite tasty. I asked Gerard what kind of biscuit it was and he replied that they were Hobnobs. After we left the library, Bill and I went on to the shop as we'd planned--we needed eggs and bananas. While picking up those things, we came across some packets of Hobnobs. They were even on sale! A couple of packets came home with us. 😋
The first two ingredients are oatmeal and wholemeal flour, so that explains the 'nobbly' texture. I quite like them.

The week before, Gerard was away and there was a sub. She also introduced me to a new-to-me biscuit. Again it was plain, not very sweet, yet quite good. Until I tasted one, I was not sure whether it was a biscuit or a cracker, sweet or savoury. It was a biscuit. I saw the packet and discovered that they were Marie biscuits. I later found out that this is pronounced like 'marry.' When in the shop a few days later, I saw them on the shelf--they'd been there all along and I just hadn't noticed. I picked up a package.
I quite like the tea and biscuit part of Irish culture. So many biscuits, so little time!

Friday, February 3, 2017

Through the Fog

It is Friday, so this morning I hauled my tired self to the library to help people play with yarn. I did not really want to go. Since my marathon sleep a week and a half ago, I have gone back to getting a few hours of sleep a night, one or two hours at a time. I would so love to go to bed and sleep for several hours straight. This morning I got up, had breakfast and a cup of coffee, looked at my watch, and realised that I had 45 minutes to spare. I put Lyric FM on the radio and crawled back into bed, spending that 45 minute interlude drifting between sleep and full awareness and listening to the beautiful music. Then I reluctantly got up again, dressed, and went off to the library.

One woman had learned how to make a crocheted ribbing last week and she finished that before she arrived today. I showed her how to join the strip of sc- through-the-back-loop rows into a tube and begin on the rest of the hat she wanted to make. She is using some yarn that someone walked up and gave her outside a shop and she is enjoying it a great deal.

Another woman was making garter stitch squares for a project going on in their village. Someone is collecting the squares and will be putting them together to make blankets. These will go to some organisation in an African country or countries to be given to what they call 'fish and chips babies.' According to the person collecting the squares, these babies have nothing to be brought home in besides newspapers, thus the name.

I brought some thread scraps and a hook and had time to make another wee flower in this strip I started a few days ago. It's handy, because each flower is only 3 rounds, so use just a few yards of thread.
I am not sure yet what this will become. Bookmark? Necklace? Placemat? Pouch? I will decide sometime soon.

I have not been able to do much over these past few weeks. I had a gift project started, but was at a point that required attention and counting, so I did not pick it up while my brain fog was worse. The other day I was pleased to be able to pick it up and make some progress on it and I've been working on it a bit each day..

When we went to Sligo last week I brought a circular needle and a skein of yarn I'd gotten in a clearance box full of odd balls during a trip to Buncrana months ago. I loved the yarn in the skein--the colour, the silver thread wrap, and the sequins scattered through it. It was only 120 yards, so I knew I would not be making a big project with it. I decided on a thin infinity scarf, so I cast on 250 (I think) and just knit around and around. My plan was to keep knitting until I had enough yarn left to bind off, but I stopped earlier because the yarn was getting annoying to work with. It was kinking up and sticking to itself. I probably could have gotten another round or two from what I have left, but that would not have made a difference to the finished piece and I did not need the aggravation! Still, I like the scarf, which I learned will also work as a headband.
After the library ladies had gone to catch their bus, Bill and I headed for the shop and I noticed that one of the planters in Market Square had a daffodil. Poor thing looked like it had been blown and battered in the wind we've had for a couple of days.
I had another 15-minute rest this afternoon. I am keeping my fingers crossed that when my head hits the pillow tonight, it stays there for hours and hours.I have stuff I want to do and it would be much easier without this foggy feeling!

Hope your Friday is fabulous!