I last left my home six weeks ago. I have been outside. To the bins a couple of times, though now my husband has that joy to himself (following a text from the National Health Service saying I shouldn’t stray beyond our front doorstep. It is strange to live in days when the NHS sends me regular life advice). To the garden. Daily. Twice daily. As many times as the weather and work will allow. But this is all in the vicinity of home.
I am grateful that this season of life has coincided with a shift from dispiritingly soggy February to brightness, and warmth; sometimes the promise of summer and sometimes a proper preview. We’ve sowed a lot of seeds, preparing for the long haul at home. Chard that survived the winter and lettuce newly planted are already gracing out salads. Mint is beginning its proliferation (in terracotta pots, lest it rampage through the whole garden). We have had two barbecues already. And both involved eating in actual daylight; a feat only managed with the easing of time that lockdown has brought (we are optimistic people, so run late normally).
It’s been quieter than I would like around here of late. Other parts of life – work commitments, relationship forging, local exploring – have crowded out the quiet and contemplative moments at the laptop. We’ve been gentle with ourselves during this move – reminding each other that building new patterns, routines and habits takes more time and energy than it sometimes seems it should.
I wrote last year about how I prefer to set down ‘aspirations’ compared to ‘resolutions’ at the turn of the new year. In 2016, these aspirations were not a rod for my back (as resolutions can be) but a focal point to return to throughout the year. They focused the mind without disheartening it. By now most resolutions will have fallen by the wayside but, with life’s recent changes, I’m still dreaming for the year ahead.
It isn’t unusual for our dinner conversation to turn to what a wholly sustainable life looks like. We can find ourselves treading a familiar path of logic: that the only way to avoid harming the natural world and other people is to escape the infrastructure and culture of the modern world; both can be so unkind. A truly sustainable life would be living off our own land, off the grid. Making and growing our own. Total retreat.
A few years ago I broke my elbow. Over the weeks of healing I was a pretty difficult person to live with (sorry husband). It wasn’t the pain that prompted me to stop behaving like my usual (vaguely) reasonable self; it was the loss of my independence. I, like so many people, struggled to ask for help.
I’ve been showing a lot of love for my local library on Instagram recently, which caused me to pause and consider the reasons for this adoration of these homes of books. In no particular order: Continue reading →
This May is mostly about moving house. We came to this home as newlyweds, so there is a definite sadness in leaving it. It has its imperfections (shabby around the edges, an awkward staircase for negotiating a bike up, a distinct lack of cupboards), but it is the first place we made ours, and it will always be special for it. It’s time for a new adventure though, and it seemed a good moment to start decluttering our lives. Continue reading →