It looks so cold

The most spoken about thing with our move here was the weather. 

It looks so beautiful but so cold. It looks so cold. I love it but I can’t live without the sun. It all looks so nice but you have so many jackets it must be cold. Lovely but you’re dressed for the cold. I would never survive there. I need to see the sun everyday. I’m a summer person. I can’t live in a winter country like that one.

This actually became a little annoying. Like it never gets cold anywhere else in the world?

We have four seasons here, proper ones. It’s not like back home I feel we either had summer or winter, spring and autumn were short and sometimes hardly noticeable, we moved straight into winter clothes when the leaves turned brown and on the 1st of September we were summer ready and the swimming pool towels came out. That’s how it felt for me and how I experienced it.

We feel the four seasons for longer, the changes in the country side all around us are quite drastic, maybe because it’s mostly farming area. So I get to see the cut bales of grass on the fields…spring is very bright there are hanging baskets filled with flowers everywhere you go. Sidewalks, traffic circles outside homes, pubs the municipal or public areas everything is filled with daffodils and petunias and hydrangeas. It’s impossible to name them all. 

The seasons are three months long and we really see and feel all four of them, and yes, it is cold in winter. 

But it also gets very cold in SA in the winter months, we moaned every time it snowed in the Drakensberg and a cold front blew in from Cape Town. It’s called winter. 

It’s freezing cold here in winter Im sure it’s pretty much the same in the rest of the world in their own winter months. Here because of the winter rain everything freezes and sparkles and glitters. It’s very beautiful. We adapt to the seasons gradually and I don’t hate winter the way I used to. Honestly this weather has been better for me in terms of my migraine headaches. It snows in some parts of Ireland but where we live it’s rare to see snow, sometimes we get sleet.

It rains a lot, everything is always green and wet, my rain coat goes everywhere with me and all my jackets are waterproof and preferably have a hoodie (’cause if it starts raining suddenly my head stays dry). You get used to the rain it’s mostly very soft and light, I love it. Autumn is also very colourful and sooo beautiful. Our summer is a different kind of hot, the 23 degrees here are humid, uncomfortable and an unexplainable kind of hot. We had to buy a fan!!!

We have grey skies but we also see the sun a lot. We really have beautiful sunny days just like back home. And when it’s cold we just layer, add another jacket, a scarf and start a beanie collection. 

What’s not to love? ❤️

Everyday life

It’s June 2021 and I have been here for six months already. I cannot believe it. 

A little bit about my everyday life so far…

I started working in March but then in April got covid and after recovering didn’t return to the  office but started working from home. Which is really YAY!! 

My lunchtime short walks are now pass the shed and straight to the three dogs next door that I call my own – Levi, Roxy and Rebel and they love the treats all the time. 

The cows are out on the fields for the summer months, apparently it’s summer now but I have some doubts, LOL. We have turned off the heating in our house and now only switch on the water heater when we need a hot shower. 

Our house is heated with oil, (which is so expensive) we had an expensive surprise and learnt our lesson and are getting better at managing the oil. So the heaters or radiators have water in them and you need electricity to power up the oil thing that heats up the radiators that keeps the house warm. Something like that it’s so complicated I won’t even pretend to understand it. 

We also have three fire places one in each lounge and one in the kitchen, the one in the kitchen is called a stove, because it can warm up the water of the radiators and keep the house warm. But you need to keep that fire place burning like a hell fire the whole day and I mean you can’t let the fire get soft, it has to be strong the whole time to really get the radiators hot.

The jackets are still being worn maybe less layers, but seriously I don’t know why they call it summer, I’m still waiting for it to arrive. 

In the winter months the cattle are all kept in sheds they don’t do well in the muddy fields and cold and if they have babies they need to be warm and protected for the first month or so, so for that reason you won’t see them in the winter. But now that it is summer they are all over and sometimes right here in my back garden. I absolutely love them! To my surprise they are not tame, not as I expected them to be. When they’re in the sheds I can come closer and touch them, some tolerate it others move back and avoid me. On the fields though it’s a different story. I get this stare and no matter what I hold in my hand they just glare back at me and move further away. I have tried feeding them. Yip, I did, apples. 

They are wild animals and not pets and not too friendly. I was very disappointed I really thought I just had to avoid the bull and would be able to get closer to my fat girls, but ya it’s not happening. If they have babies they will charge you long before you think of being closer to the baby, they have supper powers and know what you are thinking about.

The sheep are out on the fields all year and survive any kind of weather Ireland throws at them. 

My neighbours don’t farm with sheep, not the ones very close to me, so I have not had the opportunity to get close to them yet and see if they’re less grumpy. 

We also have some horses near by and they are friendly enough and would probably love the apples but I have not been for a visit with hands full, I’ll try it one day and see how it goes. I wonder if sheep like apples? 

I have had to ask advice on how to clean a shower. There’s a thing called hard water here, too much lime scale and I still can’t understand why Europe has this hard water. Some people don’t even want kettles because of that and the trouble of cleaning them regularly. 

The glass doors and any metal surface like your sink table (that thing where dish rack sits) and the taps always look so grubby and full of white spots.  

I will clean the shower today and in the evening after one shower the glass door looks murky like it has not been cleaned in a month. It’s unbelievable. So I learnt that VIAKAL is the magic cleaner but also only keeps it shiny for max three days and then you can’t see a naked person inside if they wanted to stand there and play hide and seek. 

The crows! For anyone that dislikes a hadeda (not me) the crow is like Mr Bean and the hadeda is like Chuck Norris, which would you rather have screaming and flying above you? 

It’s a no brainer, Mr Bean is funny but I want the hadeda!! I miss that sound, I am missing a few things now that the holiday is over and reality has sinked in.

Shopping

Maybe I should start by making a shopping list with all the things I used to buy back home and then circle the stuff that I can’t buy here and things that they just don’t have alternatives for. 

I see on the SA moving to Ireland group some people miss for lots of things, but some of those items are things I didn’t really buy so I don’t share in their pain. 

We also have a few shops here that import some really good South African products and when they receive a new shipment they post it on every group. It’s easy to reach these suppliers there are a couple of them spread out here in Ireland and we can also order online and they deliver rather quickly. 

No one needs to cry over the green sunlight dishwashing liquid, because fairy original lemon is just as good. OMO would be nice, when I first arrived here I wanted a small box of powdered hand soap for light things (like the fabric masks and other delicates) I could not find a small box anywhere. I could get washing machine powder in a small box though. Hand wash soap everything was huge, seriously who needs 1,625Kg of washing powder? I had to give up and get the big one and now it’s gone lumpy. I think today I would be able to find something smaller I know more shops and where to look now. 

The sweet stuff – this is a hard one. Hubby loved tennis biscuits and lemon creams. We do get very nice coconut biscuits here but they are not tennis biscuits!! Lemon creams used to be available on Amazon now it says – currently unavailable  ;( 

Anything resembling a lemon cream here is kak. 

You will never find anything close to romany creams here or bakers blue label Marie biscuits. For some strange reason this can’t be brought in (by the SA shops) the EU does not allow it so they bring some fake Marie biscuits. The ones you do find here are really kak.

Malteses are everyones favourite in Ireland but I don’t like them, so please stop complaining about the price of woolies malted puffs, it’s worth every penny!  

Jelly!! Guys they don’t have powdered jelly here. They sell ready made small packets of squishy stuff and all gelatine here is pork based. Yes the health shop sell a vegan gelatine free powdered jelly, which I have not tried yet, they have two flavours only. But it’s a start. 

Speaking about the pig jelly and how EU is so progressive (rolling my eyes so far back) with all the E flavours and sugar and colourants etc. but they don’t know what the halal and kosher sign look like because I have never seen it on any product here. My mind is thinking nothing is safe?

So the gelatine story for me is this, I try to be vegetarian, but if I eat a sweet that has bovine jelly in it I’m OK with that. I don’t feel like I’ve deceived my farm animals too much. 

I mean I eat eggs and cheese so don’t judge me here. Pork jelly??? If you know me you know it’s a religion issue and I don’t eat pork (unclean meat as stated in bible). 

So a small halal/kosher sign would make me so happy. It would save me the trouble of googling for vegan products that are only available at health shops and most are in Galway, which I only get to once a month if I’m lucky. 

You won’t find Pronutro here or anything similar, the oats are strange and very mushy but edible, I like the local peanut butters, marmite is everywhere, and there is so much short bread here I really don’t see the need to pay 4.90€ (+- R84) for a packet of eet-sum-mor, but I would pay that much for bakers blue label Marie. 

For some strange reason the only rusks they import are Ouma rusks and I don’t like those, so I need to find an easy recipe and make my own. We definitely had better brands than Ouma. 

Feta cheese comes in one block in a small plastic sleeve or bag. Very little water or brine and you have to use that block within a week because it goes off quickly. And please don’t tell me to make my own brine for my feta, I already made the salad. 

Vegetarian and vegan foods we have plenty lost of different brands and easy to find. But of all the sausages I have tried there isn’t one that I like, the texture is just too mushy. Some are really kak tasting too and I would kill for a FRYS hotdog. 

So it all really comes down to how badly you want something, at the SA shops you can get cream soda but I feel that’s for 8 year olds or to cure a babalaas and don’t fit either. At the SA shops you can get a stoney ginger beer but they have something similar here that tastes just as good. They bring in Nik Naks and I would probably buy that but not the other simba chips, I’m happy with the local flavours and varieties we find here. 

What would I ask for if someone was visiting from home? Blue label Marie biscuits, the real fresh gem squash and also some seeds to plant my own for next season, tin of guavas, jelly powders, nestle hot chocolate that red plastic container of 250g. Oh and milo, but SA shop does have that. 

I said kak a lot today

Exploring

One good thing came out of Covid, I am now working from home! Yay!

We started exploring on weekends, a packed basket with a sandwich each, some fruit and other light snacks. 

Sometimes we ate the packed lunch in the car, trying to avoid being blown away by the crazy winds. And some times we stop and eat somewhere else and have a hot meal, and then we come home with the basket untouched. 

We eat the snacks at night on the sofa in front of the TV and fire place. 

Ireland is green the whole year because it rains non stop. We get more rain in the winter months, but basically it rains the whole year. So everything is always green. 

It’s not like back home, my drive home down Rifle Range road the different seasons were very noticeable. 

In winter everything was dry, brown and yellow ochre in colour. Then came the veld fires, then the August wind, then the rain hopefully in September. And everything would suddenly become a fresh green. 

Here the “fences” which are mostly beech hedges are green in summer, turn a beautiful red in autumn and for winter they are the only brown and sort of dead looking plants around. Other than that it’s green everywhere you look. 

There’s a castle, a castle ruin, an old church or church ruin, an old farm house or a hedge school at every corner. Forests and beautiful gardens in every town and village.  

There’s also a pub, church and pharmacy at every 100 meters. 

Ok maybe I’m exaggerating here with the 100m bit, but as you can imagine we do have a lot of pubs and churches. 

One thing that does surprise me is the amount of pharmacies we have here in each town!! 

Our small town has about 12, I tried counting some time ago and may have lost count halfway. We also have pharmacies in-store, like in TESCO. I don’t know why there are so many and maybe it stands out because the towns are small and we probably had loads back in SA too but I seem to notice them more here. Fresh eyes I guess…

Exploring Ireland does not have to be expensive, many places are open with free entrance. Because of tours being canceled due to covid some places had free entrance for self guided tours and pamphlets are handed out with information of the sight you are visiting. 

Everywhere you go, you will find each special place is family orientated, there is always some kind of entertainment for children. Interactive games and puzzles inside castles, some even having tour guides in dress up costumes, animal farms and picnic areas. And secret fairy gardens too. I love that. 

Rain or shine no one stays home because its wet outside, they go out! The whole family galoshes and rain coat and they walk everywhere. Nothing is too far or too wet. If people stayed indoors because of the rain the streets would be deserted. No child is too small to be outdoors you see prams ready to go everywhere. The world seems to revolve around children here.

Ireland is a beautiful country and if you enjoy nature and the country side. If you love rolling green hills scattered with sheep or cows, fields of dandelion and the smell of fresh earth, slow quiet walks in the forest then this is a place to add to your bucket list. And that is not all we have here, I’m just sharing my most loved sceneries.

On our weekend adventures we have already seen a lot, but there is still so much more to explore!

Chilli in my Cornflakes

We got covid 😦 

Hubby got it at work and then I got it from him. This was not an easy time for us, it was scary and lonely. 

He had a lot of fever, chills, then hot and shacking again from the cold. He slept a lot and didn’t eat much, he lost so much weight, the dark rings under his eyes grew larger and were scary. He had body pains and a bad cough. 

I had terrible body pains in the bones, my legs, thighs and hips were sore and laying down or sitting was uncomfortable, standing felt ok for two minutes and then I was sore again. It was a deep pain, that reminded me of giving birth, like the bones in my body were trying to make space for something. For covid. 

I lost my sense of smell and taste. 

Having no taste was a strange feeling, everything was bland, I thought if I can’t taste then what happens if I drink some beer? I am blind folded and can’t smell and can’t taste so I might think it’s water? Right? Or coke, I always loved the taste of real coke not the diet or sugar free stuff, would I know the difference now? 

We couldn’t sleep at night, and for me when I did sleep I had stupid, stupid wild dreams, we walked around like zombies in the day from the couch to the bed, from the room to the kitchen and nothing felt appetising or interesting so we moved to the sofa and then got tired of that quickly and moved to the room again. Pure boredom.

We slept in separate rooms to allow each other some rest from each others’ restlessness. 

They really were dark, lonely and scary days. I also had thoughts of – what if we die no one will be at our funeral we are alone here so who will come? I know it’s a stupid thought but this is the kak that occupied my mind. I know I need to take a mal pil.

Our medication was paracetamol and extra new vitamins. Our neighbour bought us food and would ring the doorbell and drop off soup, bread, fruit and more paracetamol almost every second day. 

My son ordered one large shopping cart from TESCO and when they delivered I covered the dining room table with food, ready made meals, biscuits, herbal tea, tissues, more vitamins and smoothies. My angel.

Juices, soup and smoothies was the easiest way to “eat” something. 

Lonely and scary with added pain and not knowing if you’ll wake up feeling better tomorrow or worse.

I don’t wish this on anyone.