Wednesday, 25 September 2019

Post-Equinox, A Rainbow

Wednesday 25 September 2019
Not everything gets written down - sometimes I think I’ll have a Virginia Woolf day and scribe the way thoughts wash around here. Sometimes I think I will report on all factual happenings and it would be no less absurd. Stuff about river weed, rum shots, lost shoes and breast milk: that was Saturday night, although I, blamelessly babysitting, was introduced to these circumstances early on Sunday morning. Sunday, sans sleep: scraping strength from somewhere to view my daughter’s next home, a largish cottage with a spread of neglected garden perfect for wild children and rum-weary adults.
Monday: it is the Equinox. I am at work. Co-worker, client and me sit in the car, on Falmouth’s sea-front, letting the wind rock us, listening to the rain.
Meanwhile, most other days, Mr and I clump around bogland, farmland, overpriced land, looking for our land. Yesterday the common reeds at an edge of woods shook themselves into a young roe deer. This patch would do but we either we felt no passion for it or we have become numbed to even sensible potential, even with the enticement of prancing wildlife.
On the way home we stopped to pretend we could afford to buy an old chapel - which we did love. We are not immune!
‘Bring it to us, Universe, please.’ Says I, launching another online search, finding suddenly a slew of lovable places.
Meanwhile, at the house move, I am back to babysitting, rocking a teething but smiling Grandchild 7 into a snooze while his toddler sister, sporting a jaunty facial bruise, finds a left over half-cup of tea to paint the wall with, before washing her hair and sharing the dregs with her toy pug-dog. On the way home I rescue the rusted trampette.
This morning; brave me fighting off a cough with blackberry vinegar; Dog and I take a stroll by the Exe before spending our day looking after Granma Grace.
Above the traffic laden bridge, a rainbow briefly lives.

Wednesday, 18 September 2019

Diary Of A Simple Week


Wednesday 11th September 2019 Dog is curled by the airer where Granma Grace’s cloths and clothes are drying. Granma is gone to bed although it is not yet 7pm, having felt unwell, and afraid of becoming too unwell to get to her bed. I would say not to worry, I can carry you there, but she would hate to be a bother to anyone and would not wish to be carried for my sake and might start not getting up at all for the fear of that.
There was a swan asleep in the garden - Derek, a regular guest - he has heaved himself away towards the river.
Two petals have fallen from the rose in the vase.
This afternoon I answered my mobile to a flow of toddlerese from Grandchild 7 who had absconded with her Daddy’s phone.
‘Hello my darling, what are you up to today?’
‘Haha phone (+ gibberish)’
‘Is Mummy there?’
‘Er? Mep?’ (Meaning yes, but she doesn’t need to interfere.)
My daughter’s voice: ‘Er, who are you phoning?’
Me: ‘Tell her it’s Granma.’
G7: ‘Nah.’
My daughter: ‘Hi Ma, me and S are rapping and cooking tea. It’s chaos but I knew all the words.’
There was music and cackling and the clank of pans. We called ‘Love You!’ and got back to our respective days.
The world is choking in the background of all this, melancholia like fog. It is hard to focus, pointless to panic. We are making tiny good choices so at least we tried. Sometimes we do things like buy new socks and feel guilty yet grateful for the opportunity to have a good day before we all get flooded or scorched. Friday 13 September 2019 This year’s Harvest Moon is behind the plum tree; the plum tree’s shadow stripes through fire-pit smoke. Flames chomp on a log from the felled ash. I am bleeding like a sacrifice, a menstrual resurgence. Wine in our glasses. Dog wags her tail over burning wood without consequence. Close to midnight and moonlit enough to wake a few hedge birds. Some other thing snuffles in the field behind. We recline our chairs. We are layered against the evening chill, not quite enough. Over the river mist is forming, ropey, shiny-white, like unspooling tripe. Now what, Moon? Is there still magic? Will it work? Tuesday 17th September 2019 Tuesday morning we get up, we do weights Boom! And the accounts Boom! We might creak out of bed at first, we might grumble: the afterglow is all worth it. There’s no witnesses but us, so we escape the crime of smugness (until this typing gets shared, then guilty.) So why write about it? To remind myself how lovely it is to be strong and healthy, to have this most excellent of fortunes. A patch of moon in the morning sky: I say, ah yes, dear Moon, I like this magic, very much. I think I will gather blackberries from our ample hedge. Autumn sun in the sky too, nary a cloud. Washing pegged out that undulates in the fine breeze. Fingertips purple from picking, I wade through nettles to the fat crop behind the shed. For over forty years I have been a fruit forager and this is the first time that a cricket has leapt out of the brambles and knocked my sunglasses from my face. It landed on my chest, slid under my t-shirt, scrambled out, jumped into the berry pot, and back to the bramble-tangle - I think I might have become an extra in an insect martial arts movie sequence. The orb spiders held to their webs. Wednesday 18th September 2019 Today it is my intention to eat all of the roasted pumpkin seeds - a particularly chewy batch so not without challenge, but simple and agreeable and it’s sunny out and all of this together makes contentment easier to reach. 

Workouts make us look like mad professors.

Tuesday, 3 September 2019

Progress Report: Love and Lists

We nearly bought a patch of pine woodland, all prickly and sweet-smelling and blooming with potential but not quite right for practical purpose.
Mr fell for the wetland meadow with the railway bridges, I for the land with a sea view, where the wind had buckled every tree.
The woodland was a mutual crush.

Dog loves every bit of land we find, her purpose being that much simpler. She has minimal need of shelter or planning permission or financial forecasting. Happy Dog.

At the time of writing, happy Dog is sleeping, a light huff emitting from dreams. I am daydreaming of the life we nearly had or may have had in the weird woods, or anything other than this island of Rural Planning Law upon which I have marooned myself, and where I have become like a vintage cup, a thing of privilege with fine cracks under my glaze.
I am writing this in hope of looking back and admiring.
I am writing this because there was a time when we didn’t know how we would get here.
Progress can be tired and confused. Dreams can be a labour. This I write with the shame of self-pity, as I am not made of china at all.
I love a sting of fear, revel in (mild to average) peril.
Also - however - wary (on older, wiser days) of defining myself with the struggle of this journey.
I am made of learning curves, of granite, of choices, of accidents, of rubber, of instinct and impulse. I do not require a definition.
I am pouring over property maps with a sensible face and tearing up the map of self with happy-maniacal laughter; it is possible that I need to pause here for coffee.

Coffee: cold-brewed, served in a cup-mug hybrid. A lack of pattern matching amuses my attention; the drink is dark, chocolate hinted, centring.
Perked and calmed and back to where we are with this:

Our land requirements are:
Planning potential.
Established trees, or area suitable for planting.
Space for polytunnels, sheds, charcoal kiln, sundry working areas.
Lake or potential for lake; or river.
Area suitable for wild camping.
In suitable distance of other workplaces.
We have to love it enough to graft for it. We have to remember if it does not match requirements we have chosen a different life.