Light On Our Feet With Good News

Close up of a stooping bluebell, nestled in green grass

Friday 23rd April 2021
We go into Launceston town, park in the long stay because all parking is free until May 17th (when the hospitality industry restarts). We are early and Mr’s knee hurts so we pick a charity shop without stairs; Mr buys a faux leather jacket, I pick out a summery top. Bargains curled in hand as neither of us has a bag, we find our way to the office and ask for our trainee solicitor, a young chap in a slouchy silvery suit. He comes out of a meeting, nervous, finds an empty room, and we follow him in. There’s a big blue folder of searches and enquiries which we look through, young chap jabbing a finger at relevant bits, his hands are not steady. We think the paperwork is probably satisfactory but this is new territory so it’s all leap of faith stuff - deep breath, take up the pen, sign.
We leave the signatures, take the folder, and our bargains, go to Barnecutts and choose a bun each. I pick a plain chelsea, Mr goes for a rocky road. Celebratory carbs that we can burn off with nervous energy as the money is transferred in three lumps.
We wait for contracts to be exchanged: possibly Monday.

Monday 26th April 2021
I am at work with so far no message about being a landowner.

Wednesday 28th April 2021
At home. No word on land contracts. Birds warble, rain drops, wind gusts through thin branches on the tall pine, a tractor rumbles by. Mr has dropped his accounts to the accountant, done our household shopping and bought new work trousers with a glorious number of pockets. Amongst the usual tasks of laundry and washing up and wood burner maintenance I have ventured behind the spice rack and removed months of grime.

Thursday 29th April 2021
Mr wants to plant some wildflower seeds in the field, since it is so nearly ours. We take the van and pots of salad. Dog sits up next to me, nervous panting like she does whenever travel is involved. She steams up the windows but it’s a sunny fresh day so we open the windows. Hedges and branches are weighted with blossom and new growth. We eat lunch in the van, parked in the layby by the river Deer, ears full of birdsong. I take Dog and manage to squeeze her through the iron fence- halfway through I realise I should have taken off her harness. No harm done, merely clumsy. I am slowing myself down by rushing because I need a wee. Dog freed, I scramble myself over and up to the cover of a nettle patch by the stable. Ground that was ankle deep mud is hard as brick. Dog scuffs up dust as she brings me sticks to throw- while I’m squatting, and with her arthritic hips, and as usual I love the optimism of her single focus.
I will try to remember this when the land tasks mount up. Pick one thing, do that. Be happy.
Dignity restored, I untie the middle gate. Mr arrives with spade, fork, box of seeds. The ground is hard work. I shy off to walk the boundaries: there’s bluebells stooping, merry stitchwort white and bright, pale cuckoo flower, pops of violets, wiggled strands of ground elder, the earth richly dark, the new leaf as bright as any flower. Spring is here, summer is coming, all is growth, expansion. Mr hits on a plan to use the preturned dirt of molehills for his planting. We both wander the hedge-edges.
I ask, ‘Any news?’ He takes out his phone and calls.
No news yet.
We get back to the middle gate, his phone rings. We are stood in the gateway by the swirl of the end ash tree: Mr is grinning. The contracts have been exchanged. We own the land we are standing on.
We have to go teach at Bude, but first, after getting Dog through a suitable gap in the gate, we go back to the van and stop to introduce ourselves to the vendor who lives in an old house by the river, where a weeping willow sways and a friendly Irish Wolfhound comes to greet.

At Bude we are light on our feet with good news.
A student’s father (they live very close to the land) offers to help, if there’s anything we need?
‘Two tonnes of quarry stone?’ says Mr.
And it so happens that they have a large pile of rock they would love to get rid of, so here’s a task: get a trailer, collect hard standing to sort out parking on site.
It begins.
Two middle aged white folks, squinting into the sun, background is field grass and blue sky


Geo. said…
Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful! It takes some artful writing to get me this glad at 2 a.m. , but you managed it and I'm appreciative.
Wonderful news. You can't see me but I am smiling with and for you.
Lisa Southard said…
I doubt you not! Excited and humbled to be sharing this journey with you :-)

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