Habits for a Simple Life

simple life

During our four years in Ireland we learnt some important lessons on happiness.    I am reposting one of the first posts I ever wrote on this blog because it sums up what I wish our lives to return to.  It is called My Kettle:

When I moved to Ireland (albeit kicking and screaming),  I found, to my surprise, a gem of a country  with inhabitants to match!  Truly, the Irish are a special breed of people.  I use the word breed intentionally, for they are so very different to the English.  We live in a village not so very far from London, where many work up ‘in town’.  Life is lived at breakneck speed, with an almost tangible sense of perfection filtering through everyone’s world.  There is an expectation of having it all.  In Northern Ireland people tend to achieve the ‘having it all’ but at a much s-l-o-w-e-r pace!  Having it all in Ireland is more about family, friends and above all the famous Irish sense of humour!  It is less about money, possessions and job titles.  Time is stretched in a very laid back, leisurely manner.  It almost stands still, whilst everyone jokes, teases and laughs their way through life.  That life suited this typical English girl.

When God called us back to England we knew we had to hold on tightly to the lessons we had learnt in Ireland, to reject the pressures of London life and to choose Irish living in the midst of frenetic England.  So I brought my kettle.  It is a whistling, sit on the top of the hob, take at least half an hour to boil, type kettle.  Gary, when making me my morning cup of tea, puts on the kettle, takes the dog for a walk and hopes that it is boiled by the time he returns!  Yes, it is that slow!

But it reminds me of Ireland; it is reminiscent of times spent with friends without clock watching and most of all it teaches me to slow down, to make time and take time to cherish life.  I always thought my kettle was a bit of an irritant to friends that dropped by.  No one had said anything – the English are much too polite – however, anytime I offered a cup of tea there would be a kind of furtive glance at the plug, hoping that it may be attached to a, y’know, normal kettle that takes a minute or so to boil!  Last week, someone dropped in and just before she left she said how chilled she felt just being at our home.  I’m not sure she could have said anything to surprise me more given the inevitable noise and mess levels inside chez moi!   She went on to say that she tells all her friends about me and my kettle and how I always have time for a cup of tea.  And this, I think, sums up the Irish.  They always have time for a cup of tea!


Our general health has taken a battering over the past couple of years and one of the reasons for this, I believe, is that we have been sucked into the vortex that is London life.  The children are out and about doing many activities, we are heavily involved in our local church and life seems once more to be moving far too quickly.  Both Gary and I promised each other that we would stay close to the life we lived in Ireland, one with many family hours spent playing, walking and joking.  Together.  Hours spent with friends, building relaxed, nourishing friendships.  Quiet moments spent at home, simply being.  Not often in those four years were we found in front of a computer or television.  I read about a thousand times more than I do currently.  Both Gary and I had hobbies.  Gentle, soothing hobbies.  I look back on our times in Ireland as some of the most satisfying and contented times of our lives.

Loving our second home.

Over the past couple of years our good intentions have slipped and we have fallen into unhealthy habits.  Life seems to be rushed as we move from one activity to the next.  Home schooling has taken over somewhat and healthy habits have gone by the wayside.  It is a constant battle because the life, activities and past times on offer here in the South East of England are not necessarily bad ones, they are just not the best, as we have experienced, for our family.

The treasure at the end of the rainbow?  Northern Ireland, of course!

So this year we intend to change and move back to a more simple and healthful way of life.  This year I will be sharing some of those lessons we learnt in Ireland and our attempts at reintroducing them into our lives.