…a year in the country and a magnificent rainbow to celebrate….

….I can’t quite believe that it is has been a whole year since we packed our bags and travelled 3 and a half hours west from London Town to Ludlow.  The day we arrived at Hillpike last August was truly momentous.  As we trundled down our track, with a huge removal lorry in tow, we were just in time to follow a herd of cows who ran a-mock and rampaged the lawn, leaving huge, fly-encrusted cow pats in their wake.  Safely behind locked gates we marvelled at our field of new ‘pets’, only to enter the house to be greeted by thousands of harvest spiders and a smoking AGA, pumping out inky-black, acrid smoke.   I will fondly remember our first night in our new home listening to the silence and avoiding the darkest of shadows.  As our excited household finally slept the pitch-black night retreated to reveal the most dazzling, golden sunrise, blinding us through our curtain-less windows at the crack of dawn.

I look back on that time very fondly.  It has been a hugely rewarding time for us – we have learnt a lot about ourselves and about country matters – how to rid chickens of mites, how to win the war against rats, how to rescue pigeons from wood-burning stoves, how to cope when the oil runs out…and the logs….how to entertain ourselves when snowed-in, how to deal with slugs eating our prize cabbages, how to cope with no water for three fiercely hot days, and how to stay cheerful when we felt very lonely and far away from everyone we knew. But most of all we have realised that despite all of these things we really are home and we really do love it – this is where we will now rest and settle and grow, and build upon the wonderful new friendships that have started to flourish.

Since living here I have become acutely aware of the seasons – there is something wonderfully and ridiculously clever about them, and now that I am trying to be more self-sufficient I am also very aware that nature waits for no one.  All too quickly an opportunity has slipped to grow something at the right time, or harvest something before the birds have pinched it.  Or even worse, discovering fruit trees too late, their glut of apples lying beneath the branches, unused and sorrowfully fermenting, dreaming of what they could have been – a chutney or a pie or something equally delicious.   This year my tomatoes haven’t worked and I have to wait a whole 7 or 8 months before I can try to grow them again and learn from my mistakes.  In the words of a Burwarton Show Tractor Judge – we are just the custodians – and I have never felt that that is more true for me than now.

This coming year I hope to do the things that I did last year, better – better wreaths, better homemade gin, better marmalard, a better veg patch.  I already have my eye on a walnut tree and a mile-long hedge of cobnuts that I can hopefully use before too many get eaten up by Squirrel Nutkin.  Next year I want it to be me who has a glut of tomatoes and potatoes, rather than just enough for one frugal meal.  I will also sow more peas for my boy – the rotten ones which he has now resorted to scavenging are just too horrid. I will keep a garden notebook and I will grow edible flowers…

The thing that I love most about our new home is waking every day to different weather and therefore to a different landscape. Below are a few photos I took last week of a biblical rainbow outside our back door, the aftermath of a perfect storm, perfectly signalling the end of our first year with a triumphant flourish…

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2 Responses to …a year in the country and a magnificent rainbow to celebrate….

  1. Mona says:

    Exquisite Shots……..

  2. Dave watts says:

    Moved house this week and rediscovered my marmalard, delicious! Xxx

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