Saturday 2 February 2013

February 2013

Friday 1st February
Dartington have finally agreed to give me more time to leave after initially refusing my request. It is pretty impossible to do everything around Christmas  and New Year with family and friends coming to stay. But now finally I am in the last stages of packing away 99% of the physical stuff of my life. The last days seem to be longer and slower. The barn is filling up even though the recycling centre has seen me every day. Four days of earache has been a bit of a challenge - ouch but at least my back is good. 
Looking through the reminders of my life is very moving in another way too. I hope to live a sustainable life from now on, very reduced in terms of the dimensions of my living space but so much more expanded on every other level. Every now and then I feel anxious about my future but only when I am tired or stressed. There is a driving force at work in my life - that elemental ebb and flow. I am very excited about my future. 
Actually the greatest surprise tome is that there is such an unexpected beauty in getting older. Time begins to expand again as it does in childhood, there is more time not less in fact. Jane Fonda agrees and she also has a lot of beautiful, inspiring and encouraging things to say about the third act. She is a few years ahead of me and lighting the way. I have picked up the torch on my journey too. Click on the image to links via my Pinterest boards to the actual video - and whilst your navigating your way there, have a browse around my collection of wonderful things on Pinterest - a lovely resource to share.

Source: via Hilary on Pinterest

Saturday 2nd February 
The thing that I am missing most of all at the moment is having the time to make, to draw, to paint, to write. Today there is a blue sky and the sun is shining so I may even be able to  take off and draw for an hour to regain my equilibrium. Somewhere on the edge of Dartmoor where I can hear the blackbirds sing and look at the ageless wilderness at the same time with a small picnic and Bella for company. Dartmoor seems to be able to absorb tiredness and negativity and give back peace, returning me back to myself, energised and optimistic once again.
I spent the rest of the day in the garden, tidying up, cutting back and piling things in the back of my car for the recycling centre. I think I may be nearing the end of my visits there at last!
Sunday 3rd February
One more trip to the barn with lots of contents from my studio and then yet more bags and boxes of stuff packed into the car for tomorrows trip to the recycling centre. Also time to tale a lovely long walk with Bella and Richard, my son to Spitchwick as in the photo gleaned from Flickr - along the river and up through the woods. Richard helps me a lot with all sorts of things. I don't mention him as a rule but he is often around to lend a hand. Then tea with Simon and Rachel, our fantastic neighbours who are going to have the chickens and house sit the Welsh dresser and the sofas. My son is also the most amazing cook and concocted the best ever gnocchi in the evening. I am almost at the point now when I have more energy than I need every day even though the days are filled with physically demanding work. I really love the fact that my body seems to thrive on physical work. I shall have to replace all that with walking from next week. 
Monday 4th February
I will take some photos to mark the changes - perhaps. I have been reluctant to do so, preferring to remember how it used to be and so glad that I have started blogging as now I have a lovely record of life here for my children and hopefully grand children to look back on if they want to know what I was doing when they were/are living their lives elsewhere.
Today is a good day. Another great walk with Bella and Richard up towards Ashprington, overlooking the River Dart. Now the last lap - all the bits and pieces, out with the Polyfiller, on with the magnolia paint, clean the carpets and windows, brush up, hose down the paths. Oh yes and sell the washing machine, dishwasher, cooker and fridge as they won't benefit from being stored in a barn at all.
16th February
Dividing my time between Devon and Cornwall. When in Cornwall exploring and finding new places.

I've spent days writing up the last week and it's just vanished! Photos of here and there will follow. I've been sketching out the area, getting a sense of place. It's winter and as yet I know hardly anyone here so it makes for strange and somewhat insular reflection. Kynance Cove - well worth finding. I swear it is the inspiration for The Island of Adventure by Enid Blyton. 

Collected many small fragments of serpentine to use in jewellery. Mooched around and visited St Agnes, Devoran, Trefusis beach in Flushing, Truro, Porthscatho, St. Mawes.

After my little foray in Cornwall, I went back to finish off the long haul of moving out. It went on for so long but finally the last bit was bagged up and I could leave. It was also my son Richard's birthday so Lizzie came 'home' for the weekend and we sort of camped out in the cottage. It was remarkably OK and we had a really great time. The sun even made an appearance when we took Bella for a walk on Bantham beach.
I have also been helping my son move into has new cottage for the last few days of February. Talk about busy and hectic.  It is a lovely old cottage with loads of potential in a little valley surrounded by fields and woods but has not been loved much recently and as Richard is brilliant at making transformations it will be well cared for. 
Needless to say I have still been able to get my hands into bags of compost as I can now put a lot of plants into pots for the time being and incorporate them in his garden. Well, perhaps 'garden' is a step to far right now as it is once again a fenced off piece of a stony Devon clay field. It is actually far more of a challenge than my old cottage.  
My studio was sold on e-bay, a snip at £200 (considering it had £1800 worth of timber) to Staverton Bridge Nursery
Roses pruned backed and removed. I felt more heartbroken doing this than anything else! But they are safe and will wait until I can give them another 'proper' home in the future. 
Steph's 'boys' finally manage to remove the timbers. 
I have also donated a couple of wisterias, one of which survived the house fire at the previous place. This wisteria was in a large pot on the roof/balcony next to an air outlet. When the fire was at it's fiercest, the black smoke billowed out through the outlet and coated and scorched the wisteria. It looked dead but I have a 'thing' about life - I can't destroy anything I can't make myself. It's been this way since I was a child. I would look at an ant and when others were squashing them I simply could not. I don't regard this trait as sentiment but as respect. So, I washed the stems of the wisteria and talked to it explaining what had happened and what I was going to do next. I replanted it on the front of the cottage against the grey stone wall. It grew like mad and looked spectacular. 
I felt very sad indeed to have to cut it back and dig it up this time but felt I couldn't leave it there to be cast aside by Dartington's contractors and ceremoniously dumped somewhere to die. So Stephanie plans to repot it by her woodshed where it can once again find a place to display it's beauty through the coming years. 
A reminder of how it was looking last summer. Such a pity that I never had the opportunity to finish it. It had guttering and proper windows, a stable door and a porch, steps, insulation, a wood burner, electricity and water still to go in - but hey ho. Perhaps I should not have put so much effort into a place that did not belong to me after all. No, that would never do. I firmly believe you do your best all the way.
I am so pleased my studio went to Stephanie who owns and runs the nursery as she will transform it into another rather special shed.  She has a 'thing' about sheds too. 
Watching it being dismantled was a dismal process but I will post photos when she has it in place again. 
You see it's ALL a process of transformation and change isn't it?! Staverton Bridge Nursery is a really unique and beautiful place in South Devon. I shall be running workshops there later in the year. I was originally planning to start them in January but this unexpected move has thrown all of those plans up in the air. However I have turned my life around and set it on a new course and all is good.

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