organised, not chaos (maybe)

It seems that a new level of order is descending upon our house. What I once thought of as order and routine is no longer enough.

I have to say that some of it is down to FlyLady, I’m not saying I’m following everything because I’m really not even close BUT getting the emails each day makes me think – even though I currently don’t read them. Her control journal has been something I have picked up on, but I think that having grown up with ADHD and seeming to have not really grown out of it has meant that I have always liked lists in order to keep myself organised and I had more or less forgotten this somewhere between meeting Nige and now…. We now have not only a weekly meal plan, but a monthly meal plan. I’m aware of the budget and seem to be successfully grasping the concept! I cook pretty much every night exactly what was planned, and usually on time (not tonight though I’m running late but today didn’t really go to plan). Everyone (except Yogi but then miracles don’t really happen) actually likes the food I cook, we’ve even had guests over. Having guests over is a big thing on two counts 1. I felt up to cooking for others (and I didn’t even get stressed about it) and 2. the house was tidy enough to make it possible.

Our calendar is out and in use, I know what’s happening, who it’s happening for, where it’s happening and even when… The few workbooks the girls actually work out of are easily accessible, as are the pencils and the pencil crayons. The paper, the colouring things, the paints, the ink pads and stamps; all of them are there to be used whenever we need without too much effort. The girls have room to play with the Lego or the Playmobil without having to scrabble about and then hunt the pieces. The reference books relating to our current project are right here next to me on the shelf (Vikings in case you were wondering), and when we went to the library today all the books that needed to be taken back were, none needed to be renewed just because we couldn’t find them.

It’s lucky though that I’ve managed to get here as there are murky things on the horizon. Fingers crossed they’ll drop off the edge never to be seen again, but if not then hopefully the order that has been restored (I’m not sure I can use the word restored as it implies that there has been order at some point in the past….) will help us muddle through.

On a lighter note we’re planning a trip to Drusillas, hopefully this weekend, as I was lucky enough to be sent tickets from Moneysupermarket.com as part of their Britain’s best day out campaign  – I’ll be reviewing that for them just as soon as we get back. I haven’t been for years (about 12!) and I’m really looking forward to it, as are Nige and the smalls.

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Not the life we’d planned

This new life is not the one we’d planned. The woods were tricky but this is not the solution. I don’t think there is a realistic solution for this year. I want woods, off grid living, peace & stability for the children. I want to spend time with them. I chose not to work, to home ed because I want to be with them. This does not give me that. I miss my children and I feel sad that others are ‘burdened’ by them. I don’t feel burdened by them, they are mine, I should be there for them, I want to be there for them.

It’s not just the smalls either, I have no time for Ed. She is left to her own devices and that is not fair either.

I meant to be present in my children’s lives, where my mum has been absent in mine.

Internet Access and an Update

Today, I post from a place of comfort and warmth. I post from Caffe Nero in Haywards Heath. This post is not sponsored, they don’t even know I’m posting but after just having spent half an hour in Costas feeling watched and unwanted I retreated and thought I’d try it in here.

In Costas I asked whether it would be OK to plug in my laptop – now, it’s not like I have many options for this in my life, and I have been a regular in Costas, HH for 18 months ++ – ‘yes but don’t let anyone else see’…. not said in the jolly friendly tone it could’ve been said in. The wifi code, as always now, I had to ask for. I managed my half hour, not even really wanting to browse anything as I did feel rather unwelcome. As soon as my half hour was up I was out of there. I haven’t mentioned that I did in actual fact spend over a tenner on food and drink – not like I was in there on the total scounge, and I even have clean hair today!

Across the road in Caffe Nero. Access, to ‘the cloud’ is unlimited and uncommented upon by the staff, except to remind you that it’s simple to get on and you only have to register the once. My slightly hesitant question “would it be OK for me to plug in somewhere?” met with ‘of course, any of those, those or those tables along there are next to sockets.’ Wow, what a difference.

I am sat here now writing a completely different post to the one I thought I’d be writing and from somewhere different to where I expected. I have to say, the Scillian lemon cheescake is delicious (not even slightly paleo but after the week I’ve had….), the staff are super friendly, they smile – randomly (not in a scary ‘oh my god they’re staring at me’ kind of a way, more of a ‘nice to catch your eye, hope you’re enjoying that peppermint tea’ kind of way). It feels relaxed, the lighting is better. Other people are happily tapping away on laptops, and everyone looks genuinely relaxed. This will now be my place of comfort and warmth whilst blogging.

I think I’d planned an update on the camp situation. I think that’s important too so I’ll begin that now.

Today saw the end of am exhausting week. This week I have raged at our new life, loved our new life, cried at friends/the lack of locally.

You know how the week started so badly, with evil planning issues. I’m not sure of the situation there, I don’t think anything has been resolved but the neighbour who seems to have the biggest issue with ‘everything’ has been an almost constant presence in my life this week. I’m not sure how she has so much time available to her that she is around to watch each and every time the girls and I leave the woods. She watches us emerge, she watches us cross the field, the road; and then she watches me open gates, move the car, close gates and drive off. How on earth is it that mostly she’s there when we return? Well, she is, and then she watches the whole bloody process in reverse. The temptation to go and tell her to bugger off is pretty strong but I know it won’t help our case any. Over the weekend we had campers and I can’t count how many times I saw her but I can tell you that while I was ferrying campers about today (crossing fields with carts of equipment, loading it into cars etc) she passed by 8 times (as in she drove past 16 times), on one occasion, while I was helping a camper load the cart at the gate to the woods, she actually parked up behind a campers car – which had been parked less than 5 minutes – and took photographs. Now, she isn’t actually speaking to me or the children, she isn’t physically approaching us and to be honest I feel pity for her rather than intimidation – most of the time – but it is wearing. I am sick and tired of seeing her there, of hoping no one visits in case she comments on extra cars, on extra traffic. And then of course I feel alone. I feel alone because I’m worried that if we have visitors it will impact on our permission to stay, on the campsites chances of success in their planning battle.

I love the feeling of being in the woods but I do not love the thought of being watched, constantly. I love the nature, I love the sounds, the smells, the feeling of being in the woods. I do not love the excessive mud that we happen to have. I do not love the neighbours. I do not love the trek across the field, particularly as I am watched so often. In truth I don’t mind the trek across the field, it’s definitely improving my fitness levels, it has to be good for my heart (if it doesn’t give out mid hike…) but I do not like wondering who is watching, whether she is taking photographs.

What I really want, is, a woodland somewhere where there are others who feel the same. The same about nature, about trees, about children, parenthood and learning. Or if they don’t feel exactly the same they at least respect my freedom to feel how I do.

In this woodland and our forest adventure we are hurting no one, and no thing. We are careful about our woodland neighbours and we are considerate of our outer neighbours.

And I’ve just realised I’ve missed my bus home…. Caffe Nero closes in an hour and the next bus won’t be here for another hour and 57 minutes…. oops. Ah well, I’ll just hang out somewhere…

A new sunny day

The theory is to keep going as though no one minds that we are here.

The sunshine helps an awful lot here. When you wake up to the sun streaming through the canvas and the birds singing it’s difficult to begin with anything other than a smile. The harsh reality of Niges alarm clock puts a momentary damper on things but, literally only momentary.

Boo snuggled in with us sometime in the night – it really was cold last night… Rather than an annoyance it’s an opportunity to watch and feel her being still. She’s such a busy little soul all of the time it’s rare to catch her truly still.

Yogi goes to playgroup, I’ve said this before. I’m really finding it an annoyance and interference in our lives now though, and so is she. She moans about missing out on time/stuff with us. I think it’s time to knock it on the head. I feel reluctant to withdraw her as Linda, the leader really is lovely, as are all the ladies that work there, but now I think it’s time. She’s still enough, just about, to let Boo have time with me. If I had family here I would probably never have gone the playgroup route – or if I had supportive friends. I don’t though, so it is just me and the girls Monday to Thursday all day, each day. Our weekends have always been too hectic. Now though, now, I think there is space for each of the girls to come to me in their own time and be with me without the other needing to come and jump and climb on me. So now, I think it’s time to give up playgroup. It was only ever really two mornings a week and up until now only 2 1/2 hours, but now the hours have increased and she’s expected to go three mornings rather than two. We don’t need the space from each other so I think I’ll let the playgroup place be free for someone else who actually needs it.

On that note I can plan our day ahead, free from the need to be in HH by 9.15 and to be back to pick her up at the now later time of 12.45.

I think we’ll visit our farmer friends this morning. The girls can feed the sock lambs, maybe they’ll get to ride the ponies, who knows – the day is our own. If they’re lucky they’ll get to see piglets born, we missed the last lot born Sunday as we were busy here saying goodbye to our weekend campers. Oh, and Yogi will get to see/play with her new kid that the Harriss’s have gifted to her.

An update

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Not a happy bunny

I would like for people to leave us alone. It seems as soon as we feel settled someone (neighbours,planning) feels the need to unsettle us.

Apparently, if we had a ‘caravan’ rather than belltents we would be more ‘temporary’, we would be more easily accepted. I didn’t think tents could be less temporary than anything…

Also, why do we need to live here to tend to the woods? Why do we need to be here in order to get to know the woods to cut and clear? Why don’t we just come in and hack and chop…

If we just came and went I think we’d easily miss the orchids that were found yesterday, we wouldn’t see which tree the toad had as his home, we wouldn’t be able to care and love these particular trees as we are coming to do.

I think people should either object and then refuse, rather than allow and then gradually unsettle, continually ask for differing justification. Ask the question, listen for the answer and then accept. Do not keep digging for more questions that you didn’t originally have that have already been answered and are already answered but that you want worded in a different way in order to tick some fucking boxes, calm some small minds.

My life is just as valid as yours, my choices are just as valid. If living my life my way doesn’t actually impact your life (it certainly doesn’t in this case) then please, be kind, be considerate and let me live it. I constantly consider my impact on others, it would only seem fair that others did the same.

Now is nice.

Right now it isn’t raining. It isn’t too windy either. I have a good fire going for when Nige (I think I’ve given up with pseudonyms) gets home. We’re going to have delicious pork ribs from the pig we bought from the Harriss’s.

Yogi has soldiered on today, she’s cried too – she finds having the twins quite hard. I’m hoping that’ll improve over the next couple of months as things settle here. Overall I think she’s had a tiring and emotional day as she said goodbye to the house, and so while I went off to retrieve Boo she put herself to bed. I’ve tucked her up now and she snuggled into me for a moment, she seems to be sleeping a contented sleep.

Boo has had a fantastic time, she loves the freedom. She loves the space. She wandered off earlier, and found Paul & Hugh – the campsite owners – setting up, she joined in, helped out. She’s happy with people, all people. She is going to totally thrive with all the different people that will camp here in this wood this summer. And I will get fit traipsing over there (it’s a 5 acre wood) to retrieve her at appropriate moments.

Ed seemed happier today, she hates change, she struggles so hard to cope and adapt but this was a change she wanted. I think that’s why it’s been hard for me watching her struggle to cope, if this is how she reacts with change she’s happy with… But it seems as though there might be light at the end of her tunnel. I’m pleased.

I’m not sure what the twins made of the mud. They seemed perfectly content with the compost loo and the weebale. E rolled her trousers up as high as they’d go, P just trudged through the mud. Give it a few weeks and hopefully it’ll work here for them. If it doesn’t I guess we’ll have to review arrangements. They seemed happy though, with their badges of muddy honour, when met by their dad at their door. Let’s take it one day at a time.

The rain has made it hard

I’m still happy to be doing what we’re doing, don’t get me wrong – but does it have to rain so much? Could we not have a small smidgen of beautiful sunshine? Actually we have had and when we do it is beautiful, but the rain is horrible. Everything is wet and muddy (outside not in).

Even Wildheart Gathering was so wet and horrible I cried. Not once, but about 6 times. I love the Beltaine gathering but this just felt so hard.

On the plus side, returning after a weekend on someone else’s muddy ground, pooping in someone else’s compost toilets and sleeping in someone else’s (4 foot) belltent (thank you dear friends for the loan) I was so glad to be home. Glad to wade through our mud, poop in our compost toilet, pee in our weebale, and to snuggle down under our duvet in our bed. Bliss.

And then the rain came again and the trek across the field to get to the car and then later to get back. I think I may end up slightly slimmer, and with a new appreciation of ‘dry’.

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This is the field I trek across (and so do Boo & Yogi).

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This is currently my fire pit (the quagmire we live in prevents us digging a pit). And so, where I cook.

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Time to leave the bricks and mortar for almost the last time, make the trek across the field and snuggle down next to Tom.