Monday, 30 September 2013

Diary Of A Homemover-Almost There

Monday 30th September 11.48am.

This is most probably the last blog post I will write from the cottage.  Moving day looms ever closer.  The house is getting more and more untidy and there is little hope of me doing anything about it at this stage.  Had to crack the metaphorical whip yesterday; the boys were sitting about totally zoned out of real life and completely lost in their virtual worlds.  When asked if they had made their beds and picked stuff off the floor, they both mumbled and assent.  On entering their bedroom to find that they had not done as asked, I hit the roof.  I will not put up with lazy boys who allow their mother and sister to run about like headless chickens while they gather dust and cobwebs.  After a moment of intensity whereby I almost blew a gasket and the dogs shot off to find cover, I vented my frustration by slamming a few doors.  The effect was quite startling; within half an hour their bedroom was neat and tidy and not a thing out of place.

Why oh why do I have to lose my cool before they will do it?  Madness. And no good for my health.

H2 came running out into the garden a few days ago, claiming he had had a nasty accident with a bit of wood.... Does he really think I am that daft?  Gluing two bits of wood to his hand in an attempt to look wounded is really pushing the limits.  He thought it was hilarious, however.  Boys.

On one of the last days of September, Mother Nature gave me this.  A perfect early morning sky to greet me as I opened the kitchen blinds.  Reminded me how I will miss the open views that stretch away from every window of this cottage.  In our new house we will be met with trees, shrubs and all manner of greenery, but no mountains or sea.  Bit sad in a way as I have loved living here but I am trying to keep positive and not get maudlin about it.  The loss of the views will be replaced by a garden that I can call my own.  Bliss.

I have loved watching the seasons progress through the eyes of a sheep farmer.  With so many new beginnings such as school in September, the cycle of the sheep beginning again in mid October with the rams being let loose with the ewes, our own new start with moving house, not to mention Christmas and New Year in January, this time of year can hardly seem dull and depressing.  It has kept me looking forward and getting excited about so much.

There is not that much left for me to do over the next couple of days, being as we are ahead of schedule.  Never thought that would happen!  Can now nurse my sore head and zone out a bit before the whirlwind hits later in the week, there will be no time for anything other than action then.  I am having to have a new telephone line put in the new house, but typically they can't do it until three weeks after we move in. So we will be without both telephone and broadband for some time. Therefore I will be taking an enforced break from blogging until the line has been installed towards the end of October.  I do hope you will remember me and look in again around that time.  No doubt I will have plenty to say and lots of gorgeous pictures to share with you all.

We have been very happy living in our cottage and we will never forget it's gentle cradling as we gathered ourselves and made ready for a new life.  Thank you cottage, we will never forget you.

Lots of love from Karla, Pea, H1, H2, Middle Aged Labrador and Puppy. xxx

See you all soon in our new home!!!

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Diary Of A Homemover

Wednesday September 25th, 11.19am.

'To do' lists get longer every day.  Hardly ever scribble anything off  but seem to be merrily adding to them by the hour. Yesterday was my birthday, but we didn't celebrate.  Not really in the right frame of mind; the house is a mess and it is not a relaxing atmosphere in which to share one's birthday frivolities.  It will wait a few weeks.

Saturday dawned dull and foggy.  Pea and I went to the new house to sort a few bits out; important bits like how to work the central heating and hot water and what I have to do to make the telly work, (vitally important according to the boys).  The house looked so cosy nestled amongst the trees in the swirling mist.  It feels very calm and homely and I become more and more certain of our happiness in that house each time I visit.  The boys stayed at home to start their packing.  Amazingly by the time we arrived home they had actually done quite a lot.  They made more mess in the process though...

Sunday morning arrived and brought with it a hefty dose of cabin fever.  Cracked the whip somewhat and got everyone organised and managed to achieve a decent amount in a short time.  Pea looked very tired and rather cheesed off so we all got in the car and drove round the lanes where we will soon be living.  The happy discovery of a woodland walk put the roses back in Pea's cheeks and the boys sat silently in the back with contented grins on their faces.  We returned home almost ready to carry on with the job in hand.

After a rather odd lunch of tinned soup, vegetarian cheese things and potato wedges, the removal man turned up.  Oh thank goodness!  Must admit to getting a tad worried at his silence but thankfully he didn't let me down.  All arranged now for The Big Day.

Rang a man I know at tea time to ask if I could have some boxes.  The amount we are getting through is staggering.  My dining room looks like a badly organised jumble sale...

Scoured the charity shops yesterday in search of curtains for new home.  I needed four pairs to begin with.  The kitchen and bathroom windows are quite small so I'm planning on making something for them.  As time goes by I can replace the charity shop curtains with something more to our taste, however I got all four pairs and a spare (just in case!) for £16.  Jolly pleased with that.  Could really do with some warm, dry days now to wash and dry them ready for hanging.

Things slowly starting to click into place and there is a tiny glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel.  Still a stack of stuff to organise and get through but it's happening at last.  After dropping off a pile of books and games to a village charity shop yesterday, I saw a young man of 25 who I have known for a while.  I told him it was my birthday..

Young Man:  'How old are you? 26?'
Me:  'No you fool, I'm 44!'
Young Man: 'No way! I would never have thought you were that old!'
Me: (Not quite sure how to take that.  OK, I will take it as a compliment.)
Young Man:  'I'm surprised you haven't got a toy boy yet.  You could easily go out with someone much younger and because of the way you look, no one would notice the age difference.'
Me: 'Oh you are so sweet, thank you very much.  Would you like to marry me and live on a farm and keep hens?'  (Actually I didn't say that last bit.)
Young Man: 'You're dead fit and I think I'm in love with you.' (Actually he didn't say that bit either.)

He gave me a hug, said happy birthday and we parted.  Really made my day did that.  Just shows you have to take your ups where you can.

Having a craving for chocolate today.  Nothing new there, then.  Sadly all the marzipan has gone and there is nothing to replace it.  I am not buying much food at the moment as I don't want to fill the cupboards prior to moving.  The freezer has to be emptied and defrosted pretty soon too.  I can feel the bile rising in my throat..must try to relax...It's all too much, much too much...I just want to be in our new home and go to sleep with some chocolate and a nice cosy toy boy...Sorry, slipping into melt down now so time for a cup of tea and a sit down.


The consumption of a mini pork pie and three bags of crisps has done nothing for my chocolate craving.  Not enough petrol in car to justify a nine mile round trip to the shop.  I am a woman on the edge...


Friday, 20 September 2013

Diary of a Homemover

Friday 20th September, 2.28pm. 

 Taking a break from packing today.   Felt as though I would commit some terrible crime if I carried on with the thankless task, so for a bit of light relief I went back to Welsh language class.  Had a blast!  Remembered more than I thought I would, and apart from the odd moment of empty brain syndrome all went well.   I took a packet of chocolate biscuits and a box of tea bags and the class jam maker gave everyone jars of his homemade plum jam. 

Translating the above page and working out which word filled the gap kept us busy for a while.  My friend and I were doing well until we arrived at one sentence that seemed straight forward enough.  We believed it said 'I slipped on the way to school and went through the roof.'  Hmm, didn't seem quite right somehow.  Neither of us were any the wiser and we fell about laughing at our own stupidity.  After a few moments of mirth, Babs our tutor translated it as 'I fell off the ladder whilst mending the roof.'  Oh.   We got the roof bit right...well we got the word right.

Kept awake most nights by images of furry rodents scuttling about in the garden of our new home. Very tired this week due to having to deliver H1 to the train station just after six on Tuesday morning.  Up at five for the event.  Tiring day spent packing, sleepless night due to rodent dreams.  All day Wednesday I tidied, cleaned and packed then drove along dark, lonely roads at eleven at night to pick H1 up from the station again.  Got into bed at midnight and fell fast asleep.  Woke early with my brain sending ghastly flashes of muscular rats eating their way through the house.  I absolutely loathe and detest rodents.  The rats go round with flick-knives hidden down their boots and have 'Bite' and 'Me' tattooed on their knuckles.  They have a no-fear attitude and smile before clobbering you with a baseball bat.  Their smaller cousins are not much better.  Mice can dress it up in a cuter outfit, but the jewel in their crown of weapons is their ability to jump out at you when you least expect it.  They will lie in wait until the very last second and then leap about three feet in the air and scare the living daylights out of you.   These nocturnal cerebral wanderings of mine are doing nothing for my temper or state of sanity.

Tension permeating through the house now.  Pea will only eat fruit and some vile brown bread that she makes.   She stands guard over the solid lump and won't let anyone near it, not that it appeals to anyone else anyway.  The boys argue and bicker all day long.  H2 getting stroppy which is not like him at all.  Puppy trots round the house as if he is on springs; he has adopted a bossy attitude and pushes his long nose into anything and everything.  If he doesn't get the attention that he thinks he deserves, he gnaws on things; furniture, clothes, books, us.  MAL hates the whole moving process.  She curls up in a corner and tries to pretend it's not happening.

Wish I could do the same thing.

At least it's weekend.  I am going to the house tomorrow to measure things and look at empty space and try to visualise our stuff in it.  Boys have to start packing as they've done nothing yet.

Hope I don't have another mouse infested dream tonight. 


Monday, 16 September 2013

Diary of a Homemover

Monday September 16th, 1.35pm.

Not sure how much more of this I can take.  Everything going wrong; boxes too small for the things that need to go in them, or so big that no one apart from the world's strongest man would be able to lift them once they are full.

Puppy keeps 'helping' by crunching his way through desiccated woodlice and whining to go out at inopportune moments.  As I was emptying a cupboard in the kitchen my chocolate bar fell out.  In the two seconds it took for it to hit the floor, it managed to unwrap itself in mid-air and land in a scattering of yukky bits that I had thus far failed to sweep up.  I don't know what they were, but if Puppy won't eat them, they must be bad.

I almost flung myself into the bits there and then and had a monumental tantrum to rival a three year old's, but Providence came to the rescue and placed a slab of Marzipan in the back of the cupboard, just at the moment prior to giant tantrum.  I immediately tore the wrapper open and began to pull off large clumps to shove in my mouth.  Solace in Marzipan is a magical thing.

My back is aching from all the bending and tension.  I have less than three weeks to sort all this mess out.  I cannot see what I have done and what still awaits attention as everything is everywhere and there is nowhere else for it to go.  The shed looks nice though, after yesterday's efforts, so at least I can go and stand in there for a few minutes and not want to kill myself.

For the last three weeks I have been trying to find out where the school bus will pick up Pea and H1 from our new house.  Pea asked at Reception at school on the first day back.  H1 said that was a Really Bad Idea as everyone there is brain-dead (his words not mine) and haven't a clue what they are doing.  I am pleased to find he has so much faith in his educational system.  Turned out he was right, well almost;  they gave Pea the name of a teacher who knows all about the school buses, but so far this particular teacher has failed to materialise, even though we are now into the third week of term. Odd; maybe she is at home sawing through her wrists.

Taking things into her own hands, Pea found a boy in her class who lives at a farm near our new house.  He doesn't catch the bus, he said, as it is too far away, so he gets ferried about in a taxi.  Oh goody, we thought, common sense tells us that Pea and H1 could catch the same taxi at the same time.  I rang the Man In Charge who waffled on incoherently for a bit and eventually told me that MY children will have to walk (or be taken by me) one and a half miles to the nearest bus stop.  Pardon?  That doesn't make sense.  Surely if the council are paying for a taxi to take one young man to school it would be financially beneficial to take three pupils in the same car?  Apparently not according to The Man, who said it wasn't up to him as he doesn't make the rules.  Oh for goodness sake, this is Very Silly and I am Not Happy.  I will keep plugging away at this until I get a proper answer.  I wouldn't mind taking them to the bus stop, but I also have to get H2 to school at the same time in a different direction.  Bit tricky.  I did feel a bit better after I ranted on to the kind lady in the estate agents, who glazed over after a minute or two and then smiled bravely and began shuffling papers about in an attempt to get rid of me.  I took the hint, but my mum got the rest of it when she rang later.

2.09pm.  Effect of marzipan starting to kick in now.  Feeling a little queasy, can't see properly and temperature rising alarmingly.  Hope I don't spontaneously combust.


Saturday, 14 September 2013

Packing It All In

It is a whole week since I wrote my last blog post.  Sorry about that, though I expect it is the way things will be for the next few weeks whilst I pack away our home into boxes and prepare to move into our new home.  The week has been spent sorting, cleaning, getting rid of and finally wrapping up and packing away everything we possess. I thought this time it would be quick and easy as it is only just over a year since we moved in here, but somehow we have amassed and accumulated and some things just have to move on to find their new homes.  It is quite refreshing to see things go and it leaves me feeling lighter and cleaner and ready to move ahead.

September is my favourite month of the year; full of mists and mellow fruitfulness supposedly.  Not so this year, or at least not yet and not on the island.  It feels as though September got forgotten about and the season just jumped ahead to the end of October.  We have had lots of fog and rain and very chilly nights.  The sun is out today thankfully and I am making the most of a sea breeze by hanging out a line full of washing.  After a day of dull and boring packing, my wind down and escape time has seen me glued to Pinterest.  I have created 18 boards now and am focusing on winter and all its gorgeousness!  Autumn has failed to deliver so far, so let's get excited about winter.  At least we know that little chestnut won't disappoint.

My friend and I were talking about winter yesterday and the inevitable happened...we started talking about you-know-what.  Yup, CHRISTMAS!  The moment a bit of cold weather comes our way and the children are back in school after the summer holidays, we start babbling on about hot chocolate, keeping warm, roast beef and Yorkshire puddings, mince pies, presents and evenings spent wrapped up in a cosy blanket by the fire with a cup of scalding hot tea and a jolly good book.  Oh I do hate the cold but I do love keeping warm!  Pinterest has been really inspirational for me.  I have gleaned ideas for my home, feeding my family, ways to dress, everything.  I think I may be an addict, but I really don't care.  The pictures of snow are enough to send me into meltdown and anything with a pair of mittens, a roaring fire and a mug of hot cocoa has me re-pinning like a mad thing.

I did find time today to start on my Christmas present making.  As usual all my family gifts will be homemade; some are already done, some are in progress (like the above) and some are still in my head as ideas.  Once we have moved house and settled down, I can really get stuck in.  I had planned to make our Christmas cake this month, but I think it would be better to wait now; it will be one thing less to pack and move and besides, most of my baking things are already in boxes somewhere...

I am having to lay the law down a bit with the boys.  Our new home is smaller than they are used to, so there will be no room for leaving stuff lying about.  A small home is harder to keep tidy, I think, and one or two things on the floor will make the whole place look like a midden.  So I'm not having it.  They are far too old now to have me running about clearing up after them.  I will have enough to do and I am not encouraging sloppy behaviour in my gorgeous children.  Part of the problem is that the boys spend too much time on those blessed game things.  It drives me mad.  They plug their earphones in and completely zone out.  I get no sense from them and half the time they are like zombies.  They have to be reminded to do the simplest things, like close the door when it is cold, open the bedroom curtains when it is light, don't leave crumbs all over the kitchen and put dirty clothes in the wash basket provided and NOT LEAVE THEM ALL OVER THE FLOOR! You see?  It's ridiculous.  I am giving them fair warning and telling them how it will be and if they don't like it, well we will see what happens then.

 I am at last settling down to the idea of moving home and actually getting quite excited about it.  There are things and people here that I will miss very much but our new home will have other benefits, new scenery, new wildlife and new people and we are only a few miles away, so we can visit and be visited by those we miss.

There is a big cardboard box in the shed and I can hear it calling me to fill it up with books.  First I'm having a cup of tea!

Enjoy your weekend and thank you for reading. xxx

Saturday, 7 September 2013

Autumn and Life Begins

This week brought the return of early mornings, packed lunches, school uniforms, homework and routine.  Yes, term starts again and the children are all back at school.  There is a noticeable difference in the weather too; the sun is slower to rise in the mornings, it feels chilly when we step out of bed and the evenings are drawing in at a rapid rate of knots.  It was dark before half past seven last night and the wind howled and the rain pounded the earth all night long.  The landscape is unmistakably autumnal.

September brings not only the start of a new school year, but also the opportunity to start other things afresh too.  I am not a person who likes change and I would rather cling onto something in the hope that it will turn out fine than change for the sake of it.  Better the devil you know...But sometimes it is thrust upon us and we just have to look at all the benefits
and roll with it.  And that is what I am doing at the moment.  After 16 blissfully happy months of living in my beautiful windswept cottage, it is time to leave.

I am at once sad and delighted.  Sad because I love this place so much and it allowed my children and I to recover from an unpleasant ordeal.  We have grown, gained strength and come out shining, all thanks to this cottage.  But it was never mine and we were never meant to stay for ever.  It is sad beyond words, but sometimes something brighter awaits us if we are brave enough to look.

Last week I looked and to my utter astonishment, I found.  I was not expecting to find anywhere else to live that I would love as much as here, but I did.  I didn't find a cottage, but a small house, just big enough for the four of us and with a large garden that was once loved very much but now stands sad and forlorn.  That was enough for me!  A garden in need of rescue!  What could be more of and enticement to a long frustrated gardener?  I almost fell into a faint when I discovered that it has a huge poly tunnel hidden behind a hedge!  This was getting better and better.  Of course, after the initial excitement I come down to earth with a bump as reality set in, but I silenced my demons and applied for the tenancy and yesterday I heard that I had been successful.  Again, a moment of elation followed closely by fear and panic.  What if we don't like it there?  What if the dogs scratch the doors?  What if there isn't a bus to take the children to school?  What if?  What if?  What if?  You get the picture.  I am a bag of nerves.

The amount of work I have to do is scaring me a little and we move in less than a month.  Yes, I do feel a bit sick.

But then I think of the garden;  I will be able to have a compost heap, grow flowers, salad and vegetables and maybe if I behave myself, the owners will let me keep a few hens there in time.

I used to keep hens for quite a few years when the children were growing up and the last one, Clarissa, died before I had to sell my last home.  I didn't replace them as I knew I would have to rent a house and having hens would just complicate things.  But maybe next year I will have a few hens in my life again.  I was very tempted by this chicken keeping magazine, so I bought it this morning and it's lovely!  I must restrain myself for a while though and not buy every chicken magazine I see.  One is enough for now.

We have had a week full of new beginnings; Pea has begun Sixth Form at school and has embarked on two years of hard study for A levels.  She has chosen to take five.  I would seriously struggle with one, but Pea loves learning and studying, and she is clearly very good at it, so she will get all the support I can give her.  H1 has started his GCSE year, so he will be in the thick of it before we know it and H2 is in the last year of primary school.  Already he is bored and he's only been back for four days.  He is ready to move on, but I am glad it won't be just yet!

After months of navel gazing, head scratching and feeling sorry for myself, I have finally decided what I should be doing to earn money.  I do not like the idea of earning money as it implies someone else is in control of you and you have to dance to their tune.  Being a mum for sixteen years has meant that I am used to working by myself and being my own boss.  I admit I am not a team player and am much happier on my own, so to that end, I have decided on taking up my Welsh Language studies with the intention of becoming a Welsh language tutor to adults.  Another reason to get panicky and feel sick!  My former tutor is very supportive and indeed it was her idea, diolch Sharon, so if it goes wrong at least I can blame her!

I am actually quite excited at the prospect of having something different to fill my mind and it will have less time for idle thought and daydreaming.  My spare moments will see me in the garden or writing notes and plans for beds and boarders spilling over with colour and edible loveliness.  Pea is looking forward to nailing up the bird box she made with my dad last weekend.

There is a large tree outside the kitchen window at the new house and she plans to put it there, so we will get to see any avian activity as it happens.

So, even though a lot of things in our lives are ending and beginning, my blog will remain constant.  I will still be living on the island, although a little further away from the sea than I have been, I will still make and bake and show you the results, good and bad; I will still take lots of pictures of our surroundings and write about the countryside, seasons, wildlife and home life.  Our new home is tucked away in a little woodland and is quite isolated, so we will miss the gorgeous views we have enjoyed so much here, but I have lived in a wood before and it's very cosy.  We are looking forward to being so close to nature and seeing what unfolds there over time.  Mixed feelings; nerves and excitement and so much to remember and do by myself.  Eek!

I have often found that the scariest things in life bring the best rewards.  Two days ago my lovely, brave sister-in-law gave birth to a perfect baby boy, 19 days early.  He was a surprise to us all as he should, by rights, still be cooking nicely inside his mum.  He obviously had other ideas though and wanted out into the world to see what all the fuss is about.  His big sister (at the tender age of 4) told her dad that she doesn't like boys.  He assured her she would like this one and his suspicions were confirmed on arrival at the hospital as her face burst into a gorgeous grin.  She has been talking none-stop about him and absolutely adores her little love bug (as she calls him!).  I think it is probably just as well that he has no idea of what lies ahead of him.  He will be in danger of being smothered with love from his sister and will endure all manner of lessons in life to ensure he can cope with it all.  She will adore him and protect him, until the day comes when he slobbers on her dress or chews a favourite book or 'borrows' something without asking.  Then things may be a little different.  As Pea said, she will love him now then when he grows up and can argue, she will detest him.  My children are a delight.

Well done R, you did it!

I hope September brings you new beginnings and lots to look forward to. Thank you for