Friday, 22 January 2016

Home At Last

I'm at this weird crossroads at my life at the moment and I feel solely responsible for a lot of heavy things.

Firstly, I'm due to go back to work in the next month or so and I am responsible for finding and engaging childcare for all three children - no easy feat in these parts.   Something I didn't really see clearly a year ago when we were considering  moving to a rural area, was just how it would affect our day to day living and that things such as childcare would be a lot more difficult to come by.

Me, trying to magic childcare out of my ass.
The after school club which was there when I googled last year is no longer running due to low turnout and any available childminders are either full to capacity or only have space for one child.  I kind of knew to expect these challenges and I'm working it out, but heck, it's hard.

Some things of course have completely taken me by surprise.

I never factored in how much different it was going to be living out here, and oddly, how much in love with it I was going to fall.  How spending so much time here, even though for the majority of it I am alone (and more alone than I have ever been) is kind of really good for me and how the weird little things like watching hawks out of the back window or walking in the woods with the dog just outside my front door can just, well, balance things out.

We've had a hell of a year health-wise, work-wise and, well, life-wise, and I think we have boiled everything right down to one thing.

Once we have had all of our arguments, flung out all the rubbish, heaved through the murk and the gloom, come out on the other side and spent some time walking in the light, it seems the answer is fairly obvious: nothing is as important as each other.

No career, no amount of money, no amount of things, no amount of eating out or new clothes or gadgets etc is half as important as our family's health, our family's love, our family's life and happiness together.

We all deserve to be happy.  We all deserve peace.

We all deserve to feel appreciated and loved and respected.

We all appreciate space and time and space.

We all deserve enough sleep, healthy food and warm stuff.

When we moved here, it was a huge risk.  One, because we were moving to a completely new area, changing the kids schools and having to change the entire way we live; no more jumping on the bus to wherever we needed to be, no more quickly popping out to the shops, no more having friends and family being able to easily swing by and visit us.

Everything now must be planned, measured and organised completely, and admittedly, it's taken, and is still taking, a bit of time to adjust to that.  We are so very used to having everything to hand.

After the chaos of 2015, with it's huge massive highs and it's break-neck lows, we are still kind of scrambling through things, albeit with less stressful desperation.  There's definitely a nicer pace to things and a glimmer of what is to come on the horizon, and I have to say, it looks really sweet.

It starts as you take the back road up towards our house.  We've been here for three seasons now and watched the surroundings change with each of them.  It's something really special.

Just now it's winter, and the trees are thin and bare.  The fields are cut and everything is open for you to see.

Birds of prey sit on fence posts and telegraph poles, right out in the open, their huge silhouettes strong against the shadows of the dim morning light - it really is a magnificent sight. They hunt in the field behind our house, a family of them hovering and swooping, like we have our own nature show in our kitchen window.

 Just yesterday while driving along I saw something stirring on the grass verge.  I rolled down the window and there in front of me, just a few feet away was a young hawk toying with it's prey. This bird was huge - a yellow beak, massive wings and huge claws. Stunning.

Take a walk through the fields and you happen upon hares which startle and zip right past you. 

The flash of a deer's white tail as it darts off through the woods is something I've come across more than once while walking the dog on a quiet afternoon.

And there's nothing at all like being present as huge flocks of Canadian Geese happen to start landing in the harvested corn fields right beside you.  All you can do is stand and watch as flock after flock locate each other and all land in a great chorus, suddenly falling completely silent as they complete their number.

It's magic, pure and simple.

I've always been a nature lover, someone who feels more at home in a natural space.

I've moved around a lot.  Been in so many different areas, so many different places; towns, city centres, suburbs, multi-storeys, flat-shares, houses.

But nothing will beat taking the road to our house.

First you hit fields.  Loads of fields. Like the opening credits to your favourite television show, they set the tone and the pace for what is to come.

The fields roll in.  Some horses.  Some sheep sometimes.  Depending on which road you take, there's highland cattle too.

You hit the first village and it's pure idyll - old drystane dykes and pillared walls,  There's history to it.  A really old phone box.  Some hand-painted signs advertising logs and hay bales for sale; and even better, you are interested in this because you know you could use these.  Or know someone who could.

Then an old bridge, more horses. A river.  A long, winding road and then, our village.  Community noticeboards with up to date information about social events, parties, services.  A village hall.  A restaurant.  The wee school.

Out of the village and up the road, past the woods, and suddenly: our house.

Our home.


Sweet, sweet heck, I'm home at last.

There's so much to do here, so much work to be done.  There are whole rooms waiting to be purged and completely rebuilt from the bottom up; this is no mere decorating job!

We will have to work very hard at this.

But,oh my goodness, I am home.

Since we started living here, I can feel my new life creeping in around me, filling up the gaps in whatever was missing.

As I begin to settle and put down roots (and I honestly never ever thought I would ever get to - what a treat) I begin to see the way things are going to be, and it's weird; it's strange to feel so comfortable and suddenly so relaxed.

No wondering where we might be next year, no feelings of unease.  For the first time in such a very long time I can think further ahead than the next year.  Everything we own has been in hibernation, waiting for the day it can come out and be - we've almost forgotten how to use these things.  It takes time to get comfortable with pictures and where things should go; people take years to work out the best way to do things.  We've had to work it out temporarily in other people's homes for so long now, we've forgotten that we are allowed to use our  own stuff.  Everything has been very much make-do, that we've fallen into that mode even now.

It's so nice to remember suddenly that we don't have to make do.  We can use our stuff and make homes for them. We can throw away the stuff we don't need, the stuff we've been holding on to just in case we get a house with or without something and use what we have and what we want.  We can start to make grooves in our lives.

The most travelled Xmas tree in the whole world! Pretty sure it should hold a record! It's going to be really surprised when it keeps coming out in the same house!

As maternity leave ends and I have to try and work out where I want to be - work or home - the pull towards home is so strong.  I've waited so long for this.

My passion for work has always been strong; I love to work.  I love to feel useful.

But I am so aware now of how much work fills up family time.  And now I have more family for my time.

So, here I go.  Building my new life.  Working it out, cutting my teeth. Shaping now and the future, and my childrens' future. Making decisions.  Weighing the balance.

I'm nervous.  I'm not historically good at making decisions.  I have a tendency to think that things are a great idea and then realise with a huge whack that it really, really wasn't.  I live and I learn (thankfully). I grow.  Don't we all?

It feels like I should have a lot at stake, but it also feels like I don't.  After all, I'm now where I always wanted to be. Have my priorities changed? I'm so unsure.

I don't have a magic crystal ball.  I have no idea where I'm going to be work-wise this time next year.

But, oh my days, I am going to be here.  In my home, whatever happens.

You have no idea what difference that makes to my mindset. 17 house moves in and I'm home.

Here goes.

Friday, 1 January 2016


I've talked a little bit about how things have changed so much for us all in the past year, but I've never gone into any detail.  One, because I'm genuinely so tired and time-poor that I just can't fathom how to, and two, because, well, nobody really cares that much, do they?

This time last year, we had no idea that this one even existed!

Life is life is life, and everybody always has their own thing going on which is more important to them, and that's cool by me.

How did this guy get big enough for school?

How in the heck did we end up here?  It's amazing!

I'm  huge believer in change and the ability it has to surprise you out of nowhere.  And I can definitely stand testimony to the fact that things can change incomprehensibly: what might seem crazy one year, can be your reality the next.

I can't imagine not knowing this little guy!

It is important to keep an open mind and embrace change.

My life, our lives, are so completely different to the way that they were this time last year and I guess it's still blowing my mind a little bit.

We've changed cars, lost a family member and gained two, moved house, struggled with ill health, changed schools, and poor Dave has changed jobs 4 times, all in the space of a year.  Yet, if you'd at me down last year and said that any of this was going to happen, let alone all of it, I'd have laughed in your face.

Where will we be this time next year?

I'm almost too scared to ask!
If you'd have told me that I'd have a view like this on my doorstep, I'd never have believed you!

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