Our second anniversary. And to carry on an annual tradition today was a day of re-visting the little black church and taking the second anniversary photos.
En-route: On road 54 - over the mountain - we decided to pull in and take in the stunning views of the sea to the South of the peninsula.
And there we stayed for two hours.
What we didn't spot in the layby was the thick ice. And either side: at least two foot deep snow.
I had discovered that the Kia Sportage AWD, with studded tyres slides,..really well - as I had somehow managed to bring the car to a stop in a ditch.
And when Stu tried to drive it out he parked it further in the ditch. At a precarious angle.
After an hour of trying to dig two feet of snow from around the driver's side wheels (no shovel in the car - so this was real manual labour) Stu tried again. And yep. You guessed it. The car slid deeper.
So after a bit of bartering with a local tow truck man - we gave away our food money, the car was removed from the ditch and we continued on our journey. At five miles an hour...in the middle of the road.
One point to note: The ONLY people to stop and offer help (before we rang tow truck man) was a local mum with three young children and a car full of female chinese tourists. GIRL POWER. Kind of.
Anyway. After an eventful day it's back to the Cube for a much-needed cup of tea and anniversary dinner (tuna pasta!).
Today's photos: Bloody self-explanatory
Firstly - the title...that one's for my Joe.
We arrived at Kef airport a little earlier than scheduled. Snow on the ground. And not a lot of wind.
On the drive up to the Cube we went through temps of 2 to -7C, snow, cloud and clear skies.
And on arrival - a huge gust of snow. Then a much needed brew. Followed by a hasty set-up of the camera and tripod to capture some green skies.
Just as we decided to take the car and go find a suitable vantage point - the sky went pitch black, followed by heavy snow.
Fingers crossed those lights come back on later tonight.
Today's photo: a quick snap of the Cube, the snow, Kirkjufell and aurora.
Most of the time my phone doesn't ring. It bleeps a lot (FB messenger) - but it rarely rings.
Of course today - being the day of packing and sorting for hols - just happened to be the day that everyone needed to speak to me. Everyone from my daughter, to my mother, to the solicitor, to the estate agent.
So whilst I was trying to concentrate on the Icelandair online check-in (does anyone else check they've correctly entered their passport numbers at least five times?) - my phone was merrily beeping, ringing and buzzing (emails).
And what makes it worse is that not only does the phone make all these noises - the iMac simultaneously makes its own noises. For texts, FB messages and incoming phonecalls.
Add all that to my growing to-do list on the blackboard...
The stress was unbearable.
So mid-check-in I googled menopause symptoms:
I'm not sleeping, stressed, anxious, absolutely exhausted, decidedly warm most of the time and suffering with my fourth cold since August
It seems I might just have caught the menopause from my best bud.
So whilst she was excited (in her words 'I've never had anything before') - I'm gutted.
"Go get the tests done" she said.
Not bloody likely. If I have the tests done and they're positive - then I know that the future holds no more than dry skin and sweaty hair. And if it's negative - then I'm just falling apart for no reason.
Of course this could all be down to stress and not old age:
Today's photo: An Icelandic beauty
Well it looks like we're going to have to learn Welsh. Or at the very least how to pronounce the Welsh place names.
We got the call from our estate agent today. We had our first offer. After a little discussion we refused it. They immediately came back with a better one - so long as the house came off the market and no more viewings.
Fine by me. No more picking up Joe's socks or praying that George stays asleep while they're in the house (and doesn't take a visit to the litter tray).
So offer accepted. Then an hour of pacing the floor. Wondering what to do next.
Solicitor sorted. Offer confirmed with the Wales house. And Stu has already picked the ceiling rose for the front room.
It does seem that it has all happened very fast. But for us it has been a long time coming. Months of browsing Rightmove for just the right house - at the right price.
Assuming all goes to plan (surveys etc.), we will be moving to a four bed house that has a name not a number. In fact I have no idea what the road name is.
It has a paddock, solar panels, wood burner for hot water and heating, a vegetable garden, views for miles (on a clear day), plenty of parking and only one nearby neighbour. It sits just outside the hamlet / village of Betws Gwerfil Goch.
Approximately one hour thirty from our current home. Just down the road (particularly when you consider that where we stay in Norway it is a one hour drive for a pint of milk).
And four miles from the nearest town (Corwen).
It needs a lot of Stu's handiwork. But equally we can move straight in and live quite happily as it is. But for those who know us well - it's more likely that we'll have walls stripped (wood chip wallpaper!) within the first week.
I can't wait to get started.
Today's photos: estate agent images of the kitchen.
Today's Googling consisted of 'what can you do with a paddock?'. This is of course a hypothetical 'if we had one' type of question
The results were illuminating. With a dim bulb.
It seems we're not the only ones to ask that question - there are forums on the subject.
Anyway - assuming it is classed as agricultural, we could maybe start a small orchard, keep an alpaca (but not if you ask Stu - he is entirely against giving some poor fluffy alpaca a loving home). let a local farmer keep some sheep on it (to keep the grass short) or even get a couple of sheep ourselves.
Or just dump stuff on it.
But whatever - it's a first for us. We normally Google things like 'why is my cat snuffly', or 'how to build a firework tent for your terrified border collie', or 'cake recipe with ground almonds' and 'do I need to put my rabbit on a diet".
Mind you Stu has just sent me a link to a door lock that you unlock with your phone. Not sure what the Google search for that one was.
Today's photo: Mollie enjoying snow (before she had ears)
So yesterday's post generated a call from Mother, a chat with big sis, offers of support on FB, a voicemail from a good friend and a long chat (and much needed laugh) with another.
Thanks. All of you.
I feel really bad for setting the hares running. But yesterday wasn't great. Not gonna lie.
But then my Stu came home and I got a much needed hug. Then some calls. Then my Joe came home for another much needed hug. And more calls and laughing.
In other news: yesterday our house went on the market. We had our first viewing today. Someone who wants to live in Timperley. Which is just bloody marvellous as we live in Altrincham. We didn't move the fucking house just for the viewing! And George didn't need to get locked in a dog crate!
Anyway - calm.
Two more viewings scheduled in. And a plan B for George. No crate. That has been returned. He hated it. He yowled. And as soon as I let him out he scooted up on my knee for a big cuddle. He also did a poo mid-viewing. Superb timing.
Tomorrow I am off out with the camera. And on Sunday I am doing an Autumnal shoot at Dunham.
And that's it. I'm still here. Didn't shrivel up in a sobbing heap. Hugs and laughs, as ever, saved the day!
Today's photo: George having a cuddle post dog-crate.
Sometimes life throws you a shitty stick.
I feel I have just caught a shitty twig. Whilst having my happy legs kicked from under me. Nothing major has happened. But I feel empty.
What have I got to feel down about (intentionally leaving out the question mark - because it's not really a question). I have two beautiful grown up kids. I love the bones of them. They make me so proud. I have a wonderful husband (a bit of a grump at times but he makes me laugh and lights up my heart - he's my best buddy). I am financially secure - for now. I am healthy. I should be happy.
And I was. Until yesterday. I was clear about our future. I could see it laid out before me. We've (the we being me and Stu) spent months thinking, looking and imagining.
We've not rushed. We've taken our time. And then things seemed to fall into place. But they haven't. Have they.
I have no idea what to do. I am at a complete loss. Some of the people I thought I could rely on who I thought would be happy for me - who would understand. They aren't. They don't.
It seems after years of being selfless and doing my utmost for those close to me are not enough. I feel like they want blood. I feel like shouting and screaming. TAKE THE FUCKING LOT.
I'm being a little dramatic. Really I just want to curl up in a ball and sob.
I've worked hard. At raising a family. Looking after house and home. Earning the pennies that have kept us afloat.
And now I feel the need for me and Stu time. Time to be a little more selfish (if that's even the right word).
Sorry for being cryptic. But I have no one I can talk to. No one who can give me an unbiased opinion. So I am putting metaphorical pen to paper instead.
Anyway - today I am trying to look around at the positives. The things that warm my heart. Trying to get myself motivated and give me reason to get dressed and face the world. To get me out of my office (it's 15C in here....a little chilly).
To be honest it's not really working.
Today's photo: Me in Iceland. In snow. Wondering what the bloody hell I'm looking at.
We're running at warp 7 (is that fast?) to November I can almost smell the Icelandic sulphur.
So - progress and insights since my last update:
That's kind of it.
Today's photos:The newly upholstered and painted chair-with-the-very-short-legs.
A Welsh Abbey looking a little worse for wear.
A Westfjords road with a dusting of the white stuff.
This trip to Wales I have managed to shake off that life-long itchy feet feeling I've always had when I've even thought about this side of Chester.
We've even had the Welsh drizzle and that didn't put a dampner on my change of heart.
I'm staying in a yurt, with big sister Sally, in Cynwyd (Cunwid) surrounded by pine trees and pheasants. And hens. And a couple of dogs.
The hills are rolling. There are a lot of sheep. And I mean a lot.
So while we're here yurting we're looking at houses. Welsh ones.
The first was approached down a farmer's track (potholes and mud) then a slide down some steps. By the time we had arrived I knew it was getting taken off my shortlist pronto. Then the estate agent lady opened the door. And we were greeted with the rank smell of damp. I hate damp.
So I hate the word moist and hate actual damp smells. There's a theme.
House number two was a different matter. Loads of character, a small paddock (or lumpy grass), uninterrupted views to some hills at the front and sheep on all sides.
So that one is a firm possible maybe.
Anyway - bagel has been inhaled, second cup of tea nearing completion and the sun is out. Time to get a wriggle on and find some steep roads to scare the shit out of Sally.
I'm not too sure that being off work is good for me.
Since I finished at Barclays earlier this year my Joe decided to give me the biggest scare of my life, I sprained my knee trying to get Merlin the cat out of neighbour's garden and this weekend I tore my calf muscle (according to Altrincham General hospital) - though I think it's just a strain.
I followed doctor's orders to the letter (for a couple of hours) - and I'm now back on both feet, though with a Long John Silver-esq look to my walk.
Today I took a huge step. I have booked a couple of estate agents to come and value the house. I'm also in the process of booking a couple of viewings for properties in Wales, next week.
The thought of hills, streams, trees (and Welsh rain) is driving me nuts along with the idea of NO MORTGAGE.
Out of the whole of North Wales there are only a small number of properties that fit the bill. Somewhere rural. Off the beaten track (but not too far from civilisation). With parking. With views. Enough space for visitors and the family Christmas dinner. With enough garden for me to potter about in. Enough room for the dogs to run riot. Not too close to the seaside and all that that brings (kiss me quick hats, bucket and spade brigade etc.). And finally - close enough for us to pop back to see family.
In other news: I didn't get an interview with Rolls Royce submarines. To be honest - it's a relief.
In the rest of the news: I've taken on the task of de-antiquing an old nursing / bedroom chair. I have no idea what I'm doing. So far I've managed to flick old furniture tacks all round the kitchen (whilst trying to remove some rather fetching, leatherette from the back).
Curious George had a distressing moment last night when he flew out of his litter tray with poo on his paws. It was quite distressing for Stu too (my calf muscle picked that precise moment to cause so much pain I couldn't get off the sofa) - as he managed to stand in poo before he managed to capture George and clean up.
So that's it for now. Life - but not as we know it.
Today's photo: the chair (and if it turns out shit once I've refurbished? You won't see it again).