All posts tagged: Beginnings

Life has been happening

Some time has passed. During this online pause, life has been happening. Here are some of our stories… We stayed a few months with my dad in my childhood home in Liverpool at the end of our travelling year. When I first left my home, bound for Glasgow at twenty one, I felt sure I’d never feel enthusiastic about the place again. The idea of being ‘back there’ in the place I’d grown up had felt uncomfortably retrogressive. Maybe it’s the simple fact of being older and having different values now but this time around I found that there was a satisfying circularity to having my children sleep in my old bedroom, and the sounds of my night-owl dad shuffling around after midnight fixing himself a whisky and raiding his cake cupboard were familiar and comforting. I was able to see my family often and in a casual, popping-round-for-a-cuppa sort of way, which is something I’ve rarely been able to do. Then, in March, we packed up a load of our stuff (gathering boxes and …

Bad Omens

It should have been a relaxing and pleasant stroll through one of our country’s most historically interesting woodlands. I was looking forward to the few hours of idle chatter with a friend I don’t get to see very often while our children did the stuff that children are supposed to do in the woods. I imagined I might even get to take some photos of coppiced trees making wintry silhouettes and shadows in the mist and sun. But we were a family on ┬áthe brink of leaving the country for some time. The boys had been bed hopping for a few nights while saying their various goodbyes. I hadn’t allowed for them or us, understandably, not feeling quite right. So what followed was a series of unfortunate events. Emergency toilet trips, an asthma attack, disgruntled children. Eli had his head wounded by Rob bouncing a tree bough down on him and we couldn’t park at the cafe so had to park too far away for tired children. We were exhausted and out of sorts and …

Uprooting

As I write, I’m sitting in the last proper bed I’ll sit in for a while and the boys are enjoying the last bath they’ll sit in for a while. Tonight, we sleep in the van for the first night of many and tomorrow morning we cross the channel. The past week has been a whirl of packing belongings, saying goodbyes and feeling a bit odd. Our last few days in Hebden were some of the most exhausting of my life. Pulling up roots is unsettling for all concerned, and we have felt the inevitable strains of a big life change. We bade farewell to our temporary house, our town, our good friends, grandparents, cousins, uncles, aunts… There’s been a good deal of driving already, some of which has gone smoothly and some of which has brought challenges. It didn’t help Colin (the van) that I drove several miles after leaving Hebden Bridge with the hand-brake on. I found it difficult that having instructed a child to pee in the tin bath I’d shoved in …

One week to go

  The most common question I’m asked right now is whether I’m excited and if I’m being honest my answer is no, I’m not. I am scared, apprehensive, terribly anxious and a little bit sad. I run through a never-ending list of things to do in my head, which go from the less pressing ‘finish sewing curtains for back of van’, to the more essential ‘book van in for MOT’ and ‘get travel insurance’. From now on all our worldly belongings must fit into several cupboards and a generous boot. Effecting this shift from overly stuffed, tat-filled life to a more minimalist and simplistic existence is turning out to be tougher than we imagined. Along with the ‘to-do’ lists is a map in my head of all the various spaces generous friends and family have offered us to store our stuff. Boxes full of books, games and cuddly toys; unworn clothes and unslept in bedding; tickets from long-ago gigs; childhood photographs; faded cards and letters wishing congratulations on the birth of a child, a new …

‘I do!’

In many ways, the hardest bit of any big life change, is making the decision to do something different. Saying ‘yes’ to the unknown is pretty difficult at any stage of life but I think gets harder as we get older and more set in our ways. Even the more adventurous amongst us, increasingly seek the comfort of the familiar as they approach middle age. Throwing ourselves willingly into an abyss of uncertainty then – particularly when we have children – can feel at times wildly irresponsible. It was easier for me than for Rob. I had already let go of whatever ‘career’ I may have had by choosing to leave the workplace over seven years ago. Rob on the other hand, was at a comfortable point in his career working as a Head of Development for The Science Museum Group, enjoyed his work and was continuing along a fairly reliable employment path. I was asking him to consider giving all of that up to come on an adventure. And to spend most of our …

Beginnings Part 2

Living in that beautiful old house was never quite uncomplicated. It was very old and needed constant care, but so did our children and their need was more pressing. It was quaint and it was cosy, but if there were more than three people in any room it could feel somewhat…intimate. I was deeply attached to the woods around us but I had no garden of my own to tend. We knew even as we moved in, that in the not-too-distant future we’d have to leave. So five and a half years in, we put the house on the market and looked about us. We weighed up our needs as a home educating family, our single income status, and our dreams of land and greater self sufficiency. Potential buyers came and went. We changed our minds with the wind; we’d find places but then they wouldn’t seem quite right, we’d watch the way the sun danced on our floorboards and be unable to imagine living anywhere else. The only home we’d known as a family …

A Fresh Start

A big bracing wind of change has swept through these parts recently, penetrating almost every corner of our previously rooted little lives. Big Things are happening. Exciting Times are on the horizon. Starting with this, my new blog… It’s a work in progress, so I imagine there will still be some changes to come as I find my way around this new WordPress world. But for now, welcome. (The image is from Shaun Tan’s┬áThe Red Tree)