Friday, 24 January 2014

Letting go

This is my little bit of indoor Spring in the middle of Winter!  One of my aunties always sends me a bowl of Hyacinths for Christmas.  It's the woody bowl one with the deep pink bulbs in - I've never had such dark ones as that and they are lovely and the perfume - you could float on it.  More pink ones of my own planting either side of it, and two Cyclamens to the left, with a tiny Morrisons' indulgence of a £1 pot of tiny daffodils (Tete-a-Tete)?  I had to keep Theo off the bulbs when they first went on there as he thought that the bowls were for him to perch on to follow the windowsill birds more efficiently! 

Healthwise, I hope I am starting to mend, although the pleurisy pain is worse at times now I am on a regime of different antibiotics (500mg Amoxillin 3 times a day) plus the Steroids still, although I can start reducing the dose of those from tomorrow.  I have to be careful not to eat a big meal as that presses on my lungs which is rather painful.  Anyway, I am still feeling positive, taking various immune-boosting pills, eating as naturally and healthily as possible, and looking forward to the future. I am stopping myself from worrying, and trying to organize myself and declutter.

Ah, decluttering.  That has to be done with my husband's help as I can't bend or lift.  However, we have gotten rid of several boxes of paperbacks to the charity shop, and sold some boxes of good books, plus china, treen, lamps etc and have just left another few boxes in auction to go.  So there is more room in the junk room.  I have even - gasp - been up to the attic and sorted through my craft books and made a pile of 25 books which I know I am very unlikely to refer to/want to use ever again.  I hope to find them new homes at a summer car boot sale.  I will probably go through my wool stash too, as it has reached the 2 metal trunk stage.  Time to reduce!

Last week I sent off ALL my wine making equipment to the Green Charity Shop in Llandeilo.  Now I have to be more or less teetotal, there is absolutely no point in wine making, although I have been doing it for about 40 years now, and mum did before me.  All the demijohns and equipment took up so much room, but at least now someone else has the benefit and I am sure it was snapped up, just as my soap making equipment was when I donated that last year.

I am forcing myself to let go of the past.  Back in the 1970s, when I first discovered John Seymour's Self-Sufficiency, watched the Good Life, and took on board all the interests which have sustained me down the years, crafts and making things were very much under this same umbrella.  Spinning, weaving, dyeing, knitting, crochet all came under the wool heading.  I had spinning lessons from a friend, and bought a table-top weaving loom, which lived in the attic for nearly 20 years until last year I acknowledged that I was never going to do weaving. It was too time consuming, and - as our eldest daughter sagely pointed out - I didn't really have the temperament for all the setting up and planning.  She had a point!  I put the loom in auction and knew I had done the right thing.   

When mum was still alive, I went on a 6 week course to learn how to spin, and bought my own Ashford wheel.  Whilst I have used it, life gets in the way these days and we are more involved in the antiques sides of our interests these days, and with a view to having less (and not feeling so guilty about crafts not being done) I have decided that the spinning wheel, my books, and associated little looms and things, will not be coming with us when we move.  They could make someone else satisfied, and indeed,the moment I mentioned that I would be parting with them, a friend spoke up straight away!  So not only do I get some money (which is going to be my spending money when Eldest Daughter takes me to Florence in March), but I get a visit from Kim (yippee) and I make a friend of hers very happy and I feel less guilty myself.

We have made the decision to put the house on the market for 1st April, rather than 1st March, which gives me time to recover and allows more time for us to get the house pristine, and the garden tidy, just a bit at a time.  We have also looked at the few suitable over-wintering listed properties on line which suit our needs, trying to be as sensible as possible so won't be viewing the one which can only be accessed by stout 4x4 or a helicopter (but it was SO pretty and the VIEWS!)  That feels a real positive and we will do two lots of viewings and meet up with a good friend in the area at the same time.  All these properties are on the Herefordshire/Gloucestershire border centred on Hay-on-Wye.

That's another bit of letting go for me.  I have realized that Devon and Somerset, however much I want to move there, aren't the best place for us to relocate.  Somerset seems to have fewer affordable properties of the sort we want, in the area we want, and whilst Devon has plenty of them, again they are generally further away Westwards and Northwards from the real area we need to be and from good road links.  Plus, "life" is so much busier in the areas we have looked and we are used to a much quieter pace of life, away from the crowds.  I had set my heart on Devon - going home to my roots - so this has been a very very hard truth to accept...  I can't explain how important that was.  How I could FEEL Devon pulling at my heart strings - even when we were driving towards it I could literally FEEL the connection.  It was so hard to deny, especially in the name of common sense.  

We need good road connections though, to see family and friends, and family and friends are so important to us as we get older.  We need to be in an area we like and know, and would be happy to live, where the pace of life is not so dissimilar to around here - market towns and not urban connurbations.  Somewhere beautiful, with the sort of historic houses, churches, towns we have enjoyed visiting these last few years from our base here in Wales. Now that the decision is made, I feel much happier about it and focused, and we are hopeful that with the new agent (a pro-active one who WANTS to sell our house, and who has a London market) we may just achieve a sale this year.  Keep your fingers crossed for us.

By the way, our son is having the time of his life in Oz, and as long as I don't know what he's up to until after he's done it, I can cope without worrying!



  1. Hello BB
    Firstly I would like to thank you for your blog which I have thoroughly enjoyed reading for quite some time - I initially found it serendipitously(hope I have spelled it right!)whilst searching online for information on Trefenty. I live in Ammanford and love visiting interesting places - standing stones,castles,churches etc and I know many of the places in your wonderful blog.(and enjoy taking photos of them also)
    I too am restricted by poor health and I send my very best wishes and hope that you are soon feeling much better.
    I feel as though I know you through reading your words which often resonate with me - it's brilliant to hear that your son is having a whale of a time - and good luck in selling your home and finding a special home in the Hay on Wye area - a stunningly beautiful area rich in historical monuments(perhaps you had better get some extra shelves for the books!)
    all the best

  2. I know how much you wanted to be here but I think it's the right decision. For a start, you'll get SO much more for your money away from Devon and I'll keep the photos coming!

    So pleased you're feeling a little bit better and the garden will look much better in April than March. I too have a little window sill full of bulbs since they do nothing in our garden. My Iris have just appeared and it'a lift for the spirits. Keep decluttering....good for the soul. I must do some too. xx

  3. A very thought-provoking post. Having wrenched myself away from my ancestral roots in New England 16 years ago--I'm well aware that a few careful paragraphs don't encompass the near agony of heart and mind which are part of the necessary process.
    I also know too well the accumulating of various crafting tools when enthusiasm took over common sense--there are things are aren't going to get at in this life!

  4. I love the Hay on Wye area - wise choice I think.
    Hopeyour health improves as spring comes along.

  5. Sounds like you are doing great ... its hard making decisions and letting go ... but your positive action with the house and decluttering ... big move forward .. and to be admired this dull and dreary time of year.

  6. Good to hear you are feeling an improvement in your health. I'm with you on the decluttering, I'm sorting through my own stuff right now, selling, throwing and donating as I go. I'm picking things up and thinking do i really want them sharing my life/space/energy even items stored gather dust and need cleaning.
    I feel better now they are gone - liberated.
    And just think--- less to move come the day you find the perfect house and a keen buyer.

  7. It's good to hear you sounding so much more positive. I'm sure you'll find a house that you'll love in the Herefordshire/Gloucestershire area. It's beautiful around there and still very rural. The housing market is getting better too so you're much more likely to sell your house this year. Fingers crossed!

  8. I will have to look up Hay on Wye and Devon so I can know what areas you are talking about.
    I know the pull of home...When I decided to move back to Tucson, I grew up here. I drove back to look at houses. I was driving down the interstate, the sun was setting and I felt like I drove through a golden wall of air and was engulfed in a warm embrace.
    Indeed I felt like I was home again.
    I am happy to hear you are feeling a little better.

    cheers, parsnip

  9. Parsnip - Whilst we love Hay-on-Wye, it is more likely to be Ross-on-Wye that we head for because of the better road links. It will be nice to be able to go to Hay still though, and it is much nearer Ross than to us here in deepest Wales. We know the area we are moving to reasonably well from many trips there, and I have a friend there who I stay with too. If I am totally honest, it is more familiar and homely to me than Devon is.

    Rowan - houses do seem to be selling, and the new agent we are going with is Cardiff based, so NOT parochial like the local ones. We are hopeful of a sale.

    Sharie - that's the key word - liberated. Once I have made the decision, it's like a little swish of freedom around me! I could get to like this as I gradually get more ruthless with "stuff".

    Vicky - I have had SO MUCH negativity recently, that to actually do positive things makes SUCH a difference. We both grew up in an age when everything got kept if it had some life or usefulness in it and that's hard to ignore so you tend to hold on to things when really they should have gone years ago. But Sod's Law decrees that the moment you DO ditch that old frame, burn that bit of wood, 3 weeks later you will NEED IT FOR SOMETHING!!! It has happened time and time again here . . .

    Pat - it is a lovely area and the default setting for our days out usually. I am hoping the sunshine will knock this bug totally on the head, so fingers crossed for a good summer.

    Sharon - ah, I think we come from the same place in our heads about roots and belonging. When I am feeling very poorly, I just want to go home - which is the New Forest area of Hampshire, or over the Dorset border, where we lived before moving here. Those places feel safe, because I know them so well, they are familiar, and my friends and family are nearby. Devon is where I have been trying to get back to most of my life, and I never questioned it. Now I have, and it doesn't make so much sense, practically. Perhaps I don't belong there, as I've always convinced myself I did. I must bloom where I am planted now.

    Em - yes, better value for sure. Plus the sort of houses we like are in good supply in the area we are searching, though so far the two "best" ones are in far too close proximity to the Wye or the Severn to make them a possibility (esp. the latter one which was PERFECT but the Severn was known to flood behind it cutting a road link off, so not too sensible for us approaching-geriatrics!) My Rhubarb is sprouting now, and bulbs coming through, so I am hoping for an early spring this year.

    Pam - hello and welcome. You're practically a neighbour! It's good to hear that we share interests and my outings are familiar to you. Sorry to hear that you have health problems too, but I hope you can keep getting out and about - it's what keeps me sane in the winter months, even though the weather in our parts is less than welcoming to wandering round "interesting" places, especially those off the beaten track! Keep commenting, now you have popped up over the parapet :) Our son is now in Melbourne, and presumably he and his friend are looking to sort out work.

  10. I can certainly vouch for the expensiveness of Devon! and the transport is terrible and the tourists make the place so busy......but I still love it despite those things. I'm happy to hear you health is steadying out now and the mental decisions you are currently making will help I'm sure. I bought some daffs in pots for my spring fix and one is just about to flower, when the weather is terrible.