Go West

            Croagh Patrick, Co Mayo, Ireland

I can’t even begin to tell you how good it feels to have things moving. I’ve waited for so long! And so I was very, very excited when I got up early on Saturday and drove aaaaall the way to Westport in Co Mayo, on the West coast of Ireland. Incidentally, it’s also my favourite county.

As always when I travel West, with every mile I drove I remembered more and more why I love the West so much, and at the same time I shook my head a little as I wondered why on earth I don’t live there any longer (I used to as a student in Galway). But this may change, and soon.

I passed so many places that took my breath away, that I wished I had time to stop to take pictures. But I couldn’t; I had things to do, beautiful things!

I went to view a few houses, for sale and for rent, along the way. Now all I’m waiting for is my bank’s decision on the mortgage. Whichever way it goes, will be fine by me, I just want to KNOW so I can move ahead.

By noon, I arrived in Westport and met up with my fellow aspiring residents of the Cauldron Community (here’s an article), and I felt myself healing more and more. It felt SO good to be surrounded by people who actually understand my desire for sustainable living and community, and are looking for similar things. Some of them have already lived in eco-villages elsewhere in the world, and we all agreed that it’s time we had something similar in Ireland (there is a place that calls itself eco-village in Co Tipperary, but it’s basically a housing estate with a slightly smaller carbon footprint than any other).

We each shared our aspirations, our background, and what we could contribute to the community. As I listend to each of the others in turn, I saw them in my mind as part of the community and thought, ‘this’ll be our midwife… here’s the herbwoman… and the weaver… and the builder…” We heard the very amazing Tom Woolley talk about “hempcrete”, the latest in ecological building. Tom’s an architect who’s been involved in eco projects for decades, and he’s on board with the Cauldron Community, woohoo!

I hated leaving them all behind when I left in the evening but I really wanted to get back to my budgies. I drove home with a full heart and racing mind, and a fierce desire to do more for the community. To do that, the first thing that’ll have to happen is me moving closer, which I aim to do by mid September at the latest. A search for work I can do from home is going on at the same time, and things are beginning to happen.

Basically, I decided that yes, I’d love to live there, unless a mortgage + house of my own charms me into something else (although the chances of this happening are slim). In any case, it’ll still take a year or two before the community will be established. We don’t even know if it’ll really end up in the West, which is rather important to me. Things will happen when they can.

By the way, you could really help us out by making the project more visible. If you’re on Facebook, please go to the Cauldron Community page and hit the “Like” button on the top. It really does help us out a lot. Thank you!

More news to follow soon. I have a gut feeling that a lot will be decided by this time next week… watch this space…

My heart is singing.

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Radical Hag

For some time, I’ve had the idea in my head, for an article titled “In Which I Offend Everyone”. I think I’ll actually write it one day, and in it I’ll explain my views on a lot of topics, from food to religion to patriotism to whatever else pops into my head at the time. I might as well lay it all on the table because whenever I voice my opinion on one of these topics, there’s someone who’ll call me “extreme” or “a radical”.

“Radical” is an interesting word, actually. It comes from the Latin word for “root” (in fact, “radish” has the same origin. Imagine radical radishes!), and if I’m described as someone who operates from her roots, or goes to the root cause of issues, then I’m absolutely fine with that.

There’s a difference, though, between opinions and actions, and one of my goals in life is to adjust my actions to my opinions as much as I can. For example, I understand that we all need to drastically reduce our carbon footprint in order for our planet to survive, but I’m still using plastic bottles and drive a car. It’s one of the things I’ll keep working on – by making my house more energy-efficient, planting my own food (instead of buying food that has been transported over distances), using rainwater, and avoiding waste as much as I can. But there is always a compromise involved and I am acutely aware of it.

Why is it still important to have these ideals, then? It is important for me because it keeps me honest, and it keeps me aware of where I stand. It’s far too easy to be lulled into “normality” otherwise. I keep up my ideals and keep them in the forefront of my mind, lest I forget.

I will, for example, never ever find it “normal” to go to work eight hours a day for someone else’s wealth, and get monetary compensation for it. It’s a fairly new concept historically speaking and it doesn’t make sense to me, in fact it gives rise to all sorts of problems. For the individual, the biggest problem is the demands on their time. It floors me when I hear someone say: “Oh I don’t mind going to work, I wouldn’t know what to do with myself if I didn’t!”

Now, if they genuinely enjoy their job and choose to work, that’s one thing and it’s fine. But not knowing what to do otherwise? How little imagination can one have?? Are there no worthwhile things to do on this planet? No living beings to love, help, support, no hobbies to be enjoyed, no achievements to pursue? It’s not been long since our day was stolen from us by “jobs”, and already we’ve forgotten what it was like.

Well, I haven’t forgotten. I have a million things I want to do. And I know I’ll still need a job for a while, even though I’m trying to make it one I can do from my own home, but that doesn’t mean that I’ve let go of the ideal. I haven’t. The compromise comes from other things I want to do, like provide a safe haven for neglected/abused pet birds, which requires a quiet space I need to acquire either by renting or purchase. But I’m absolutely committed to reclaiming as much of my day as I can, bit by bit, and to get closer and closer to my ideal.

Because that, my dears, is what life is all about.

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The Future Is Taking Shape

                 The Bray Golf Course. Yes, I realise it’s nice here too!

Changes are coming.

I feel a little funny saying this, because I’ve been saying it since the beginning of the year. And by the way, do you realise that 2015 is now more than halfway over? Time really does fly. I almost feel like yelling: “Slow down! I have a lot more to get done this year!”

So the current status is, I handed in the final requested document for the appeal of my mortgage application this week. My bank advisor assures me the decision won’t take long now. I’m hoping and praying but at the same time, I’m prepared for all possible outcomes, which are:

1. Either they’ll approve my mortgage and I’ll go looking for a hag cottage in the West. I may or may not move into rental accommodation there for a few months until it’s all done and dusted. All this also depends on me getting actual work from home (I’m working on that as well, but nothing concrete yet).

2. Or they’ll decline the mortgage, and then I’ll move into rental accommodation in the West, again pending a job from home. This should be possible though, I have a few leads and if necessary I’ll compromise on things like salary (I have a very good idea of how much I need to live on, and once I don’t have to save 750 EUR a month for my deposit anymore, I can afford a cut in salary).

I don’t quite dare put a date on it, but I’d like to move out of my current place within the next three months. This is the one thing I know for certain; it’s a lovely place, but it no longer suits my needs and it’s actually harming me now, with my light sleep that’s always interrupted by the sounds through the wall. It served its purpose but my time here is over.

The birds need rest too in the night, the fact that it gets noisy just after I turn off their light at ten, is very stressful for them. I want a light, airy room for them in a detached (free-standing) house. I want them to be happy, especially my two little patients.

I haven’t told you this yet, but it turned out a few weeks ago that my two babies are a. not Miko and Leah but Mika and Leo, haha (I’m calling her Miko now and him Laeas), and b. survivors of a horrible disease called the French Moult, which makes young chicks lose tons of feathers, which never fully grow back. The breeder waited until their bodies were feathered again and then sold them to a clueless pet shop, where luckily I was the one to pick them up.

They just looked very young at first, but then Miko’s flight feathers and tail grew out awkward and crooked so she can only fly a little, and Laeas’s didn’t really grow at all. Poor Laeas will probably never fly, and it frustrates him so much. I’m trying to make it as easy for him as possible, carry him places and construct lots of walkways so he can get to the same places Miko can.

The experience has just highlighted to me all that’s wrong with animal protection in this country. The pet shop didn’t even have the name and contact details of the breeder. Crooks are getting away with all sorts of things – strictly speaking, my two should have been culled as babies, cruel as it sounds. Now that they’re older and I love them, I’ll obviously care for them and make life as easy for them as possible, but it’ll always be a struggle for Miko and Laeas.

And that’s it from me for now. I wish you a sunny weekend and hopefully some time to yourself!