How to raise wild girls and how to build a mud kitchenRead More...
Happy New Year and hello to January of 2018.
I have been quiet for some time on my blog now. I have struggled these past two months or so, with a really difficult feeling of not knowing what to write, feeling awkward writing anything, and just experiencing a disquieting eerieness about the whole situation. I never usually have trouble writing, even if its just lines in my diary. I find the process soothing, and for me, a way of making sense of my days. So to be stuck in the middle of an unwelcome and bewildering silence has made me lose my confidence a little.
To be honest, writing now, feels like that first clumsy and stiff morning on your first day back at school from a long summer holiday; when you find yourself holding a new pencil in your hand, and it feels as though you are holding a plank of wood between your fingers.
The ideas and thoughts for this post, therefore, have come from that sense of alienation and worry I experienced, feeling a little lost without the words to express what I was thinking about, and in truth, not having any clarity of thought anyway. A combination of Christmas, the Winter Solstice, New Year and the enevitable quietness of January have all given me some time for reflection. And perhaps, afterall, that is what I have needed. Perhaps I just need to start from the beginning again.
Coincidentally I have also spent most of this new year thinking and reflecting. I have been following a process called the January Book. Devised by the sylist and writer Hannah Bullivant (I found out about it via her amazing instagram account, and her beautiful website, which you can find at http://www.seedsandstitches.com), it is a way of outlining plans for your coming year by focusing on key areas of your life, dividing them into catergories such as family, career, finances and home, and by a process of reflecting on those areas, making a sustainable plan for the year ahead.
And in addition, we have been having a little more renovation to our home (from having a door made for the bathroom, where previously there was none) to having a partition wall put up between the living room and the sunroom (a rather grand term for what really is a little extension with a perspex roof) It has meant a lot of noise, a lot of mud and mess, and a feeling of being completely overwhelmed at having to tidy up ready for the next day, and not knowing where to begin.
But most of all I am really starting to notice a gathering change in my two little girls, as they are growing up from babies to little toddlers, and it is this realisation that has had the biggest emotional effect on me overall. I have loved every moment of them being babies – and the poignant reminder that if my IVF treatment hadn’t been succesful I would never have been able to experience any of it, has made it even more so.
And it is there I suspect all the answers to my wordless stories lie. Being quiet was neccesary for some thinking, and all my thinking was about change – and in reflecting on change, I began to see that it was all about letting go.
This Spring has been lovely. We have just had some wonderfully hot days, where the three of us have been out beneath the sun, walking with the dogs, or busy down at the allotment, fretting over the courgette plants Grandad grew for us from seed in his greenhouse.
With the house move still not completed, and with building work still to be finished, I find that at the moment I feel very in-between with homes, and it very much feels like a waiting game. So to banish those feelings of rootlessness and restlessness, which always leave me feeling a little twitchy and unsettled, I find I am spending more time outdoors to find some balance and patience.
We are enjoying the warmth. I am enjoying watching the girls playing on the grass, discovering soil and getting their hands and feet dirty. (Why is that the sight of my daughters’ dirty toes at the end of the day fills me with an inexplicable sense of love and pride?) We have all caught the sun on our faces and feet.
I have a lot of new things to be doing this summer after taking on the allotment. There has been extra work, clearing the plots and turning the soil. I have planted potatoes (the first shoots have just popped up), two rows of kale, some courgette plants and runner beans. I find it actually to be very soothing to be at the allotment. It is usually just the three of us, and Pip running around near the compost looking for the rabbits.
This is our last summer here are Bent Corner. It is a home which will always mean a great amount to me. It is where I became myself in so many ways, the first time I was able to have a home of my own and to live by myself. This is the place where my daughters were born, where I was pregnant. I have so much to be grateful and thankful for, having lived beneath this very kind and friendly roof.
Meanwhile our new home is slowly being uncovered from layers and years of strange make-overs and modernisations. In place of pine, there is the original stone fireplaces and oak beams. It has been quite scary, seeing the house being peeled and stripped and knocked and chiselled, but slowly it is coming to life and beginning to smile.
I smile with it.
I have been trying to write a new post for over a week now, and a combination of Florence not settling early enough, and me being too tired at the end of the day to write, I have written, deleted, written and deleted to the point of feeling that I really must have nothing to say.
But the truth is I have so much I want to say. I am in a curious stage of in-between at the moment and that is possibly at the heart of why I am faltering every time I try to write. I am getting ready to move but I haven’t moved yet – and the home I am creating isn’t quite ready for us. So it feels like I am waiting, gathering, collecting and sorting, ready for it all to begin.
I am trying to make use of this fallow time, and within it use these moments of transition to let go of certain things; be they emotions, possessions, habits. And in their place begin to imagine instead new ways of being. I want to bring the slow and gentle pace of living into the heart of how we live. Mostly, I am desperate to nest with my children, to cook and bake and make a home.
Chapel Sundays….the original Art of SlowRead More...