Thursday, December 04, 2008

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Calling Colleen in Raleigh!

Hi Colleen, thank you for signing Gracie's guestbook. I've tried emailing you but has come back undelivered. Beth was wondering if Maggie was on hsb and would like to keep in touch. Hope you are good and at some point, read this.
Deb x

Monday, November 10, 2008

Quick update

All alive and well here. Have a fried mother board on the laptop so hoping the USB - IDE adaptor I've sent away for will enable me to retrieve all my files and photos from the hard drive *sigh*

I will get this blog updated soon. Meanwhile, I've just launched my daughter's fundraising blog. Please visit and pass the word around. If you could put her button (as seen on my sidebar) on your blog, I'd be really grateful.

Thanks for popping in.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Arlington Court and Church

Zoo fun

EJ was really taken with these peacocks. He is animal mad and I'd a hard job convincing him that he most definitely could not cuddle the cheetah :)

Croyde Bay Devon

Well, we're back over a week so thought it was time for a quick update. I keep tossing up whether or not to can the whole blog thing but when I do get around to updating them, I find it enjoyable. I'm working on my time management and computer time has been slashed. I find reading and learning when online more beneficial than anything I have to say!

The trip to England was enjoyable although we did have a character strengthening weekend on the way back home :) I blame Land Rover although I guess they weren't even remotely at fault. Hubby this year, switched allegiance to Toyota and picked up a '97 tidy Landcruiser which would have lasted for years to come ... or so I thought. After less than two months, he was pining for a Land Rover and bought this old defender on ebay in September, to be picked up on our way home. If the house ever does sell and we move back down under, the plan is to drive part of the way and ship from the middle east. If we're stuck here, we may take a tiki tour round the interior of Turkey next year. Either way, I guess we'll need more space.

An object of great beauty - in the eyes of my husband

As the Landy didn't have a gear box- among other things, we hired a car trailer in Portadown, unhitched it in England and then drove it home. Hubby figured that one of the tyres was suspect and chugged along fairly slowly next to the hard shoulder on the motorway. On the Sunday morning we had a blow out and what should have been a three hour trip to Wales, turned into an eleven and a half hour endurance test. We'd spent a hairy night in the Birmingham F1 the previous night with youth of today running up and down the corridors banging on the doors (although a close encounter with this crabbit old thirty something woman at 4am put an end to that) so it was lovely when we finally arrived at the home of our friend's to celebrate their son's birthday. Thank you again guys for your kind hospitality. We had a wonderful time.

And now, as they say it's back to porridge and I'm sitting here playing with photos, some of which I'll share here.

The coast around north Devon is pretty. We'd never visited this area before and the kids don't get to the beach often at home so they really enjoyed themselves. It is great fun doing all these things again with an inquisitive two year old.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Checking in from Devon

I've been without internet access for a whole week now! No noticable withdrawls.
We're in north Devon by the sea and the weather has been favorable. Tomorrow we hope to drive on down to Cornwall.
We ended up not camping. At 4.30am on our way to the port, it dawned on dear husband that he'd forgotten to pack the one (only) thing he was in charge of - the tent! We had sleeping bags, new inflatable mattresses, replacement foot pump etc. - just no tent. So we ended up staying in a friend's mobile home on their farm. I felt awful as we had planned to pop in on them for an hour after arriving in Wales and ended up as house guests. Still, it was lovely to catch up and the kids had a blast.
My internet credit is almost done. I'm allergic to radio and it's blaring in my ear so I don't think I'll feed this any more coins. Will be back on the 20th God willing.

Home away from home - will she ever camp again!

Thursday, October 02, 2008


At 3 am we plan to drag everyone out of bed and drive for four hours to catch the morning sailing to Wales. We had originally planned to camp near the port this evening, however it is freezing cold and blowing a gale outside. Here's hoping it calms down a bit as we're booked into a campsite in Wales tomorrow night to break the journey down to Devon.

Once in Devon we've managed to hire a cheap caravan - off season is great - and will do the same again in Cornwall. On the way home, we will attempt to camp again. When you have this many kids, the budget dictates it. They on the other hand, view it as a huge adventure.

The reason we're heading to the south west of England is that our daughter is due back at the institute for brain injured children where she attends, for her bi annual review. TG was sustained a traumatic brain injury at three months of age due to a series of hospital blunders (of course, they're not saying that) which has left her with severe cerebral palsy. Someone asked me recently if I wasn't bitter and mad. The answer is no. I believe that this happened in the permissive will of God. I've been following a thread on another blog lately and am grateful that I understand and believe in the sovereignity of God. But that is by the by and probably a topic for different blog.

We plan to make this as educational for the kids as possible. I've been saving my Tesco coupons and have enough to pay for one of the ferries and a couple of days out. In Devon we hope to use them in Exmoor Zoo and visit The Big Sheep. We also have our NT membership so have packed the guide book and will plan as we go - weather permitting. In Wales, all the museums are FREE which is brilliant. A few years ago we did the Big Pit. This trip we hope to do the Museum of Welsh Life in Cardiff which is an open air folk park. In Cornwall (the reason for heading down there) we will revisit the Eden Project.

So, hopefully wifi permitting, I'll get some blogging done on the road but for now, it's off to bed.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

The country came to town ...

And so did 3 million people ... or so it seemed while trying to navigate one toddler through the thronging crowd.

There were ladies in bicycles ...

animals galore ...

tractors and steam engines ...

tanks (hey this is N Ireland) ...

wagons ...

and an American preacher

Answers in Genesis

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Around Armagh

Another humble abode

I'm determined to get the most out of my NT membership but it just won't stop raining. A couple of Saturdays ago, we drove to the coast thinking we'd do the Giant's Causeway and beach. Although not quite biblical proportions, the deluge must've been getting pretty close. For those of you who don't have the privilege of inhabiting this cold, damp island, we've had the worst flooding for over 40 years (or something like that.)

One afternoon the last weekend in August, it did stop raining and the sun actually shone so I took a walk around the grounds of The Argory which is an old country estate in the county where we live. Here are some snapshots of the well watered garden.

I'm not sure what these great plants actually are. The leaves are huge and the inside intriguing ... to little old me anyway. Any clues? I'd love some in my garden.

Next weekend our local shopping town hosts 'The Country comes to Town' - one day a year when they close the town off and bring in animals, tractors and stalls etc. Usually it's the same old stuff from the previous year, even down to the layout of the stalls but this year is the 10th anniversary, so there may well be subtle changes. EJ is tractor and animal mad so it will be nice to go with an enthusiastic charge. The full report shall appear here.

Thursday, August 21, 2008


Kim at The Narrow Path and Pam at Mom's Mutterings have blessed me with the Sharing The Love award. Memoirs of a Mommy created this award in honor of the donor that saved Noah's life. The purpose of this award is to raise awareness about organ donation and to share the love.

Thank you both, I'm honored to receive it. Had Miss T's cardiac reconstruction surgery been unsuccessful, she would have required a transplant. We know how difficult it is.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Cliffs of Moher

I'm guilty of blog neglect. Nothing new there. Thought I'd wind this up with a blurb about the cliffs of Moher but found a nice website that tells ye all about it. You can even take a little tour.

These photos were taken in Doolin with the cliffs in the background. The ferry to the Aran Islands run from this quaint little village. The volcanic rock around the sea front was pretty amazing.

I'm not sure what will be happening in September. Miss T is due for a reassessment in the south of England which is temptingly close to the channel and Europe. I was severely tempted to try and squeeze in a trip taking in Pompeii in Italy, old Corinth in Greece, Ephesus and Cappadocea in Turkey and Iran (the border crossing is a bit of a nightmare but once there, the country and warmth and hospitality of the people is amazing), however budget and my cute little night owl have scuppered that plan. At the minute I'm trying to arrange a home exchange in England although couples that can travel in school holidays don't necessarily want a pile of kids in their homes, and the ones with a brood like us, have them in school. Maybe Dad and T will just fly over. We'll see.
If I can get the old scanner up and running, I'll score the archives for past exploits. Thank you for visiting.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

West coast of Ireland - Connemara

Connemara National Park was founded and opened to the public in 1980. It features 29.57 square kilometres of mountains, bogs, heaths, grasslands and forests. Dotted throughout are peat bogs and mounds of cut turf that are being harvested for burning. The scenery closely resembled that of Skye and the Scottish west coast.

More to follow ...

West coast of Ireland - driving dangerously!

Total gridlock

Almost a head on collision

West coast of Ireland - Murrisk

Just as the big blue blue skies in America are amazing, the light in the west coast of Ireland is equally as fascinating. The first campsite we pulled into was at the foot of a fog engulfed mountain. Behind us was the sea and sunny blue sky. By late evening, the fog turned slowly black and the sun shone brighter. It never rained.

View from the tent
The following day we walked around an old abbey and stopped by the National Famine Monument and Croagh Patrick, which was only a couple of minute's drive. The bronze sculpture is monument to the Great Famine of the 1840s and depicts a 'coffin ship' with skeleton bodies in the rigging. This was of particular interest to the dc as they've been reading about it over summer.

We were trialling a tepee tent. Fantastic! Having looked at every other type out there, this is the only thing that ticks all the boxes. It's amazingly cheap, easy to put up (less than 10 minutes), has no inner tents to mess around with, has a sewn in ground sheet, is water proof and mould proof, exremely spacious - can sleep 12 and is lightweight to transport around. Cost £295 with free postage to Ireland. Total saving on equivalent - £1500! If you need details, get in touch.

West coast of Ireland - Drumcliff

We're back again after a whistle stop tour of the west coast of Ireland. Had three full days sight seeing - it was unanimously decided that after a second grim night in the tent with junior that we'd spend all day Friday tiki touring around and then do a long drive home late evening. Once we sort out his night time thing at home, we'll pick up where we left off :) Despite the sleep deprivation, it was a really neat and refreshing couple of days! I guess I'm used to running on not much shut eye.

We lunched in Castle Coole but didn't hang around for a tour as they were pretty booked up then drove to Sligo stopping in Drumcliff to see the high cross (above) and round tour which are all that remains from a monastic settlement founded by St Columba in 574.

The poet and writer WB Yeats is buried in the churchyard which houses the high cross where his grandfather was once the rector. Athough originally buried in France after his death in 1939, his wishes were granted in 1948 when his remains were brought back to rest at Drumcliff. I confess to knowing absolutely nothing about his work. The location is pretty with Ben Bulben visible from the rear of the church. The sun broke through and was hitting the mountain when we were there which was magical. The epitaph is taken from one of his poems which is entitled "Under Ben Bulben". Another excerpt from the same poem reads "Under bare Ben Bulben's head In Drumcliff churchyard Yeats is laid.

From here we headed south and set up camp in wild and woolly country at Murrisk.