The hour was golden. The deer, dappled bambi types, stood unperturbed by the water. The swifts, closer than ever before, banqueting in the sky surrounding us. Not a single other human around.
Because, it turned out, the park had shut thirty minutes earlier.
We would learn this in ten minutes’ time, as we ambled between two lines of trees in the general direction of home. The park ranger was kind as he pulled up, said he’d meet us at the gate to set us – accidental rebels and interlopers – free.
Funny how looking at something on a different screen can make all the difference. When I think about my blog, I think about a number of things. Honesty. Storytelling. Opening up the conversation. I don’t think about cars. And yet, when I looked at one of my posts on a different computer, that is what I was confronted with. An advert. For a car.
And this seemed immediately discordant with a blog about intentional, ethical living.
So, after too long a time (not very intentional I know… I’m a work in progress), I’ve gone ad free on the blog*. And now you and I know that you won’t read a post about decluttering just to be marketed to at the bottom of the page. This sits much better with me. I hope it will with you.
When I think back on 2017, I remind myself that this is the year that we carved out a new life in a bigger, bolder city than before. A place where our community means more travel time with strangers on trains than with friends in their homes. A city that is not, in truth, a natural fit. That shades out the stars and puts miles between us and the sea. But we have learned how to do life here; how to not just make it work but embrace the opportunity and privilege that, as well as being all those other things, it truly is. It seems unlikely (though who knows) that it is forever, so we want to make the most of it while we can.
We were meant to be buying a house. My intended handful of months in this city had already grown into years. We were planning to set down roots indefinitely. Instead, a new job was offered, and we began to listen to a whisper of adventure that stirred our previously hibernating hearts. We’ve answered that call.
Sometimes I slightly envy those walking a clear career path. The ladder rungs laid out before their eyes; they just need to climb. This is not to deny the effort in the ascent. Exams to pass, interviews to nail, promotions to seek. I’m not looking for an easy life; the thing I envy is the clarity of the path and the destination ahead.
If you’re seeking countryside, the quiet, the expanse, it’s a good start when your destination’s arrival instructions tell you “the road is marked unpassable for cars, but it’s fine if you go slowly” (and it was). This was the beginning of our week staying in a barn in ‘the last valley in Devon’.
When I launched this blog, I identified the overarching themes that would dominate it: sustainability, words, making. Over the past sixteen months, I’ve seen a pattern emerging that takes these three topic areas beyond ‘these are a few of my favourite things’, stringing them together and showing how they relate, influence and inform each other. To illustrate this more explicitly, the blog is undergoing a tweak or too. Same kind of content, but greater clarity in how it all hangs together. Continue reading →
So, it’s a been a year since I chose a WordPress template, strung some words together and threw the whole lot into virtual space with bucketfuls of trepidation and a sprinkling of anticipation. A year on, I’ve found enjoyment in the blogging process, learned a lot and been overwhelmed by the positive response from all of you out there.
When catching up on the Downton Abbey Christmas special, the post-festive season adverts told me it was time to start getting fit, redecorating the house and booking holidays. These themes did arise in our New Year’s Eve reflections on the year past and the days ahead, but they weren’t the only features of our discussion. We are content with the framework we have established for our lives, prioritising sustainable living, fostering community, exploring creativity and honouring God. In 2016 we hope to continue on this trajectory, which means making more incremental steps to thread these throughout the fabric of our lives.
Follow my blog with Bloglovin A month. The act of leaving one home and starting to make another has taken over five weeks and left room for little else. Having cleared the items deemed surplus, life outside of work has become packing, moving, unpacking, arranging and rearranging that which survived the cull. It hasn’t been particularly stressful, just tiring and demanding of our time. It has also been enjoyable; a season when we have tangibly experienced the joy of community as our friends gathered to help pack boxes, move furniture and even clean our old oven (a sign of real friendship, if ever you needed one). Continue reading →