Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Waving goodbye, saying hello

It’s almost five years to the day, when we first moved in, that the Concrete Farmer came over to greet us in a rather lordly way. We didn’t warm to him then and his determination to pave over every field in sight didn’t do much to endear him to us subsequently. Seeing a removal van on his demesne, he rushes over to interrogate our removers.
‘Where are they off to, then?’ he demands.
‘I’m not telling you!’ says the boss, a short, powerfully-built man with tattoos all over his muscular arms.
‘Well, you must know!’ Concrete Farmer insists.
‘Mind your own business!’ says our hero. ‘You’re just a bloody nosy old farmer!’

Actually, since the week leading up to the move has been so busy, I barely know where I am myself. The first night in our new home leaves me feeling disorientated and missing all that’s familiar. However, in contrast to the first morning in our previous home when we woke up to find a yellow planning notice on the fence post directly opposite, our first morning in the new home brings sunshine, spring flowers and birdsong.

It continues to be very busy here and I haven’t had very much time for blogging, but here’s a few photos of the new garden, a place, I hope, where I can catch my breath.

View from the front where the sky meets the sea

A brook runs along the boundary

The rooks are building in the trees. Some of them play the kazoo

No excuse for not 'growing our own' here

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

A New Horizon

I grew up in what was then a deeply unfashionable Victorian cottage on Epsom Downs. Never mind that we could watch each crop of yearlings being put through their paces in the racing stables opposite, when a mile up the road my best friend, Susan, lived on a modern estate in an open plan dormer bungalow with pampas grass on the lawn. Across the road from Susan, our friend, Mandy, had a house that was so utterly cool it had a split-level living room with a conversation pit! Unfortunately the conversation pit was a bit wasted on me; if Mandy’s older brother, Bill, was about it took all my effort just to stop blushing so any kind of speech was beyond me.

I daresay Bill grew up to be ordinary bloke and avocado bathroom suites and clumps of pampas grass have also lost that sense of the exotic, but part of me never quite got over my crush on Susan’s dormer bungalow.

In the last two years, three if you include a year of testing the water, we’ve been trying to sell our house. During that time we’ve come close to buying or selling more times than is good for a healthy bank balance. We’ve had buyers who’ve come in search of the country dream then taken fright at the reality, we’ve tried to buy a house that turned out not to be for sale, one which was found to have expensive structural problems and one with a water supply that was so private no one seemed to be able to guarantee access to it.

At last, a couple came who loved our house... except by then we couldn’t actually find anything we wanted to move to. For a while it looked as if we would have to move into rented accommodation and, once again, I must thank Preseli Mags for coming to my rescue and putting us in touch with helpful people.

In what’s been a difficult and trying year with worries about the health of some of my nearest and dearest, I was beginning to feel very anxious about where we would live. Then Tom, who’d been meticulously trawling the property websites said, ‘Come and look at this...’ Nestling in a valley sloping down to the sea, sitting in its own good-sized plot... was a dormer bungalow; we move there on Thursday.

See you when we’re out the other side!

Painting is a favourite, West Coast Surf, by Tom Tomos

Saturday, 5 March 2011

Bedside Reading

From left. The Drunkard’s Walk: How randomness rules our lives by Leonard Mlodinow. I’m not and never will be a mathematician, but even I can understand the first law of probability thanks to Mlodinow’s amazing and entertaining book. Thanks to Stepson Two and Tom for recommending it to me.

A470: What’s On in Literary Wales, the magazine of The Welsh Academy of which I’m a member. The cover photo’s of Gillian Clarke, National Poet of Wales. Her poem, Love at Livebait is one of my favourites.

Edgelands, by Michael Symmons Roberts and Paul Farley. I’ve just received this as an anniversary gift from Tom and I can’t wait to read it. Since reading some social anthropology at university I’ve been fascinated by marginal states and in-between places so this journey by two poets into ‘England’s true wilderness’ promises to be a real treat.

The Scarlet Kimono, by Christina Courtenay. I’ve just finished reading this enjoyable historical novel by fellow Choc Lit author, Christina. Christina combines a lovely romantic story with adventure and fascinating detail about 17th century Japan.

Glamour magazine. Fun and frivolous with a bit of bite. This month’s came with a free mascara and all for £2 a pop (free if one of your daughters buys it for you on subscription. Thank you, Lily). What’s not to love?

My Kindle... ooooh, how I love thee! (Note homemade slip cover – frugal so I can spend more money on books.) Currently reading my work in progress. Seeing it in book form really helps me with editing each day’s work. There’s quite a TBR collection on there too. One I’m looking forwards to is Kate Atkinson’s Started Early, Took My Dog. But that’s a treat in store for when I’ve finished my work!

Thursday, 3 March 2011

Three Books for my Babies...

One that helped them learn to read...

Not Now, Bernard by David MacKee.

One that helped them not to be afraid...

The Owl Who Was Afraid of the Dark by Jill Tomlinson with illustrations by Paul Howard.

One that made us feel cosy...

The High Hills (Brambly Hedge) by Jill Barklem