Tuesday, 5 December 2017

Owls and Cathedral Bells

Greetings from my new nest!

I can hardly believe it, but my move is complete.

My knitting chair overlooks the wild end of a Big House's garden.

I have owls, my friends!
When I heard them last night, it brought tears to my eyes.

On Sunday morning, it was the cathedral bells.
Every hour, a clock tower chimes for me.
These are the sounds of the Old Town.
My home.

And already, it definitely feels like Home.
I have found my home at last!

On the day of my move, I woke early to a strange white light.
I assumed it was the moon.

I breakfasted and packed my last bowl, mug, spoon.
I picked up the bin bag and stepped outside...
Oh NO!
Three or four inches of snow, and more falling, thick and fast.
I threw the bin bag into my car boot and set off up the hill.
It will be fine, it's all going to be...

I made it over the hill, but only just.
I disposed of my bin bag and tried to turn the car.
I reversed up the public road and took a slow and steady run at the track.
So I parked by the standing stone and trudged up the hill, heart pounding.
Not today!

My removal men rang - the city was gridlocked, they would be late.
I decided not to mention the state of the road - after all, it might thaw soon..?
They rang again at 10am, seeking directions from the neighbouring farm.
When there was still no sign of them at 10.30, I went out to look for the van.
Halfway up the hill, there they were, shoveling snow, the vehicle stuck fast.
I offered a giant bag of salt, FL's emergency stash.
It helped.
Their determination was astonishing.

The loading took no time at all.
I had honed my possessions to the bare essentials:  books and wool mostly!
The only furniture to go was a solid wood book case, a single bed and one small table, which I had treated with beeswax the week before.

The Steadings' children were playing in the snow.
I said goodbye.

The removal van set off.
I wandered into the house to await the new owner, who was coming to get the keys.
He rang to say the city was still in chaos - he would be late.

I decided to visit the Tree, to bid FL farewell.

And there they all were:  the removal men, my neighbours, a broken tow rope...
The younger one was shoveling furiously.
The older one was revving his engine.
I suggested this was not going to happen without a tractor.

And so, the day after I said "Thanks very much, good luck!" to my Friendly Farmer, I had to make a sheepish phone call.
"P?  Um... it's Ruth here..."
You probably heard him laughing from where you are now.
He was on his way.

I stomped over the fields to the Tree.
I informed FL that enough was enough, and that he had to let me go.
I needed to leave.
"That's it - do you hear me?  It's over!"

The new owner arrived before the tractor.
His dog ran excitedly back and forth between us, as I wiped my tears away.
Poor man - that's twice he has had to witness my emotional mess!

Conversely, his delight in the place was tangible.
"Look at it! It's at it's best now!  Will you look at that view!"
 And I found myself grinning back, because I knew that FL would like this man, who truly appreciates the farm and is going to bring it back to life.
They are going to get on well, I thought.

I took him indoors, passed him the keys and gave him a photograph of the day FL moved in, of cows in the byres, the house as it was back then.

And then I gathered my last few bags and walked over the hill to my car and left the farm.

Time for another new Roo.

Monday, 27 November 2017

Edge of Seventeen

It was a hard weekend.
I am surrounded by boxes.
I had a ritual burning of the unspeakable.
I sobbed.

And then I found some unexpected pictures of my seventeen-year old self, with her wild mop of curls and dazzling smile and I felt a rush of hope.
I am not that girl anymore but I can be someone else now.
No longer in his thrall.

It is all going to be fine.

Wednesday, 15 November 2017


I hold my breath, waiting to move.
A box a day, the packing continues.
A little more slowly every day as I grind to halt, waiting for certainty that this is really happening.

A painting taken away by someone who recognises its landscape.

Family photographs retrieved by The Family.

Someone else's love letters gathered together to await a forwarding address.
C'est très douloureux.
I agree.

And breathe...

It is hardest in the middle of the night, with nothing to hear but the scuttling of mice, the rustling of leaves, the wind, an owl.
The waiting.

I do not wait well.
I reach out in the darkness and there is nobody there.
An unwanted email sent into the abyss.
So sorry, I should not have done that.

In my new home there will be music.
Meanwhile, I wait, pianissimo.

Thursday, 2 November 2017

Friday, 27 October 2017

Changing my View

I hesitate to write it down, in case I break the spell.

I have accepted an offer on the farm, and in turn I have had my offer accepted on a house in the city, or more accurately the Old Town.

It is a charming little cottage on a cobbled street, which I fell in love with at first sight.  It was the first property I looked at: one of only two, because the moment I saw it, I just knew it had to be mine.

And now, when I really ought to be packing boxes or conducting yet another round of deep cupboard excavation and decluttering, I find myself staring at the old maps, trying to locate myself in time and place.

My house is not nearly as old as its neighbours, but I can see from the map of 1870-71 that it is built on the site of another.  The gardens I can see from its windows are still there, in all their leafy splendour.

I had approached my relocation with a feeling of inevitability, but very little excitement.
I was clear that I was waiting for fate to make all the decisions for me.
Which city?
This year or next?

The answers came all at once.
It will be here.
It will be soon.

And now I can allow myself to believe it, I am thrilled.
A place of my own.
My very own, to live in all by myself, a house of my own choosing.

Or did this place in fact choose me?
I believe it did.

I scoured the old Street Directories, year by year, looking for the nearest address to "mine".
And there she is, calling to me from 1855:  Miss C, Dressmaker.


Monday, 23 October 2017

Thinking Outside the Box

Hello - it's been a while.

I went to Hull again.
And came back.

I went to three theatre productions, three museums, The Deep and a private trapeze and aerial hoop lesson!

I also wandered the streets with a map deciding where I would live if the opportunity came up.
It hasn't yet.

Meantime, I have had a lot of interest in the farm.

A move may be happening sooner rather than later.

Where to?

Well actually... I have seen the perfect little house... in Aberdeen.

Interesting times.
I am going with the flow.

I was supposed to go on another Fitness holiday this past weekend, but my trip to Hull knocked my workload management sideways and I had to change my plans.

I spent the weekend at home with my knitting, a roll of bin bags and some boxes.

There was a trip to the charity shop.

And several Small Ads listings to clear the most esoteric of the clutter.

Best of all, I went to an aerial hoop class.
I am beginning to think hoop is my favourite circus medium:  trapeze without the rope burns!

How am I doing?
Mostly well, very well.

And then all of a sudden, out of nowhere, the tears.
Triggers this weekend:

  • a photograph found while clearing out the cupboard.
  • a song on the radio  

The song crisis was interesting.
The moment I started to sing along, I lost it.

Great heaving sobs from nowhere.

Something about the "performance", the forming of those words with sincerity and expression, catapulted me backwards in time.

It is now, not then!
He would have loathed that song!
(We come from different generations... lol)

It touched a very vulnerable spot.

"Ask me what I did with my life?  I spent it with you."

But actually not the whole of my life.
There is more ahead.
Empty, or full of possibilities?

I have to believe in the latter.

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

A Yoga Treat

It would appear that this blog and indeed my life has changed direction.

This past weekend I was immersed in the physical and to some extent the spiritual on a Cowdance Yoga Retreat "Into The Woods".

I am not entirely sure how this happened.  I must have signed up for a newsletter and when a last minute vacancy popped up in my inbox, catching me at a vulnerable moment, I did not hesitate to sign up.  Half an hour later, my train to Ulverston was booked, not entirely sure what I had agreed to do the following weekend, but without much time to worry about it.

It was quite a small group, sharing two mixed sex "dorms".
Three women camped outside in tents / a camper van, which I could understand.
But there was a slight sense they were not part of "the tribe" that first night.
There was a time not that long ago when I would not even have considered going if I had thought I would have to share a room, never mind with strange men.
Fortunately, everyone was lovely.
Perhaps the nature of the activity is self-selecting. 
We were a diverse group:  international, of all ages, single, married, alone, with friends or partners. 
There were so many surprising connections to be made and conversations to be had.
Community I sorely miss in my current life.

I was up before daylight, as is my habit, and spent some time knitting my latest sock and writing my journal before the others got up.
Yoga began with a two-hour class before breakfast.
It was intense.
I have probably only been to five yoga classes in my life, so it was a real challenge to take part in such long classes, twice a day.
There were guided meditations round a campfire in the woods.
I realise this is sounding dangerously hippy-ish.

All the food was seriously delicious vegan home-cooking with dairy add-ons for those who felt the need.
I came home and was inspired to get back to cooking properly.
Nurturing myself after three days of being looked after by others, if only by their very presence.

Back home:  Green pea, broccoli, mint and coconut soup 

Our final gathering round the campfire included a time of introspection.
Asking questions of our various energy centres and writing down the answers.
At the end we could choose to treasure our words or throw them to the flames.
I chose the way of fire.
It was profoundly moving.

Would I go again?
In a heartbeat.