Donegal and Northern Ireland

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It was so good to return to Donegal and Northern Ireland, My Man’s childhood home. It’s been two and half years since we were last there, so we were more than ready to go back. In 2010 we visited the area nine times from our home 12 hours away, as both My Man’s parents were ill and died within six months of each other. It was an awful, gut wrenching year. But filled with comfort and the security of family and faith. Our children came on many of those visits in 2010 and shared in some of the conversations about illness, death and grief but also in those about God, support, love and faith. They missed chunks of school that year, being ferried too and fro, when we were told Granda was going to die in next few days, but hung on for another two weeks! Then and later that year when Granny was dying. Each day we were there, we would visit the hospital or hospice, chat with friends and family, then head out to one of the tranquil beaches that edge Donegal and Northern Ireland for respite and to let Dot (daughter) and Dash (son) have some fun!

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There we would walk and talk, play and swim in the cold water, run up and down the sandhills, collect shells,have picnics, walk alone, scream silently inside, ask God to carry us through the pain. There is something about the wide open space hovering over the sea, the mountains and hills which crash down dramatically to the water, the constant growl of the waves in the distance and on the shore which always draws me to a place where I feel so close to God that I could touch Him. It’s something to do with standing amidst the awesomeness of His creation and yet knowing that He cares so deeply for me. He knows everything I am thinking and feeling and still loves me.

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To return to our treasured beaches and familiar places was wonderful. Like coming home, which it was of course for My Man, but for me and the kids too. Extended family had offered us their holiday home which was in this stunning setting.

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We returned to most of our favourite beaches and swam in the icy cold waters at each – well Dot’n’Dash did. My Man and I did swim in the sea at some beaches but it was painfully cold.

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We visited various Aunts and Uncles and saw cousins and their kids, drank lots of tea and ate lots of cake! It was fantastic week but strange to think that it will be some time before we’re next back.


The beginnings of my Norfolk blanket

Thankfully, my wool order arrived the day before we travelled back to Northern Ireland.


Lovely colours, though I think I will need to add a couple more colours to help the blend. I took my inspiration loosely from photographs of one of our family’s favourite places, along the North Norfolk coast.

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 The wool is lovely to work with and my new crochet hook has a matt finish which produces a soft sound as it brushes through the stitches. At first I was randomly picking the colours for my granny squares, but the more I produce the more I find myself refining the combinations. What was at first going to be a loose colour palette is becoming more designed, with four colours of yarn being used in different combinations for four squares. Complicated stuff!! It will develop as it grows, I’m sure. This is what the squares look like so far.


60 odd squares done. 70 odd to go!! Before the next stage of piecing them together and creating borders.

The Birthday Resolution

Earlier this week it was my birthday! I registered this blog some time ago. Then chickened out of uploading any chat. So instead of a New Year’s resolution, I have a new birthday resolution. That is to start using this blog and see what happens and how it develops.

My man wasn’t sure what to give me as a present but there are a few things I’d like to get, like a stash of yarn to crochet a throw, or some perfume. But I mentioned to him that the thing I would like most of all would be to turn the little box room into a quiet space for crafting, reading and praying. He thought that was a good idea. It’s unconventional, I know to get a room for your birthday, but that’s what I got! Fantastic. Very exciting. Here are some photos of what it looks like now, after I have moved a lot of the “stuff” out of it.

Box Room 3 Box Room 1  Box Room 4 Box Room 2

It was our children’s first bedroom and housed their cot. Hence the hand painted flowers around the window.

Now I have the “go ahead” I need to plan what needs to be done. Extra plug sockets (there is only one single socket) and decorating (the painted over foam backed wallpaper has to go). All the ground work before I can move things in.

My idea is to try to recycle, reuse and restore, in order to make it as efficient and cheap a job as possible. I already have been scouting in the garage for old lamps and desk tops. Will have to decide whether or not to revamp the old wardrobe bought 23 years ago for £10 from a charity shop!

I have also ordered some yarn, in order to crochet a granny square blanket. Big enough to cover a double bed so it may take some time. I’m going to use an Attic24’s Big Blanket and am using some bargain yarn from here . I’m eagerly awaiting it’s arrival tomorrow as we are heading off on a trip over that expensive piece of sea, known as the Irish Sea, and would love to start hooking whilst we’re away.

I will try to remember to take photos of our trip and of my crafty makes, but this blogging lark is new to me so I might forget.

What was your most memorable birthday present, regardless of cost?

Why was it special to you?

See you when we get back.

Welcome To The World of The Juggling Swan!

Well, I have done it now!! I have started a blog. Who will read it and share my thoughts, I do not know.

Maybe, an introduction to my life would be a good place to start. My bleary eyed day begins with a small dog bounding up the stairs and leaping onto the bed to say “good morning”. Then a tortoiseshell cat meanders in and licks my nose to say “hello”. It may seem mad to most people but it is completely necessary for me to then have a few minutes talking to God. If I have had a good night’s sleep and a calm day lies ahead, it’s a “Good Morning, Lord” type prayer. If I have slept badly and life is particularly hectic, it tends to be more of a “Good Lord, it’s morning!! Help me get through the day” conversation.

If I have woken up early enough, I then bring Hector (our Google Nexus) into bed and take a look at WordLive, a great daily thought for the day. Check it out. WordLive – Your daily Bible reading guide with study notes.

Then it’s time to get the kids and myself ready for the day ahead…