A plea to the universe

People keep telling me that if I don’t tell people what it is I want, or rather if I don’t ask for what it is we need then I will never get/someone who can help will never know. So, that leads me to this blog post.
We do love lots of aspects of this house. We do not love some aspects of this house.
Truthfully though, we miss the woods, Boo misses her freedom,not just her freedom though, the ability to climb 20 different trees in a day, to build 3 dens, all different, to watch birds, lots of different birds! I crave hens, and pigs, and sheep, I crave the peace of woodland, coupled with the meditative quality of dappled shade. Ed, she just craves the woods – which seems amazingly odd considering how much she hated living in the woods…. In reality, it wasn’t living in the woods she hated it was in actual fact the disorganised life we had in the woods that she hated. The absolute awfulness of the weather (and Niges work hours) meant that the functional cooking area never became a reality, nor did the clean up area, the weather meant the shortish trek to the shower became a hike around the perimeter of the 5 acres of woodland we were living in. And then there was of course the planning issue. Ed did not like being watched, she did not like her comings and goings scrutinised by a miserable busybody who really had nothing better to do with her life than make ours miserable. If the weather had been better we might have been in better spirits, more able to shrug off the awfulness that was her constant spying but it wasn’t. I mustn’t forget the other two either, Yogi misses it, she says so a lot, I think it’s because I was more present with them, also she did in fact love squelching through the really icky mud in barefeet, feeling the mud squish up between her toes, she loved the compost toilet, the wee bale and she loved playing fairies amongst the trees. Finally we have Nige, he was happy in the woods, he likes nature, he likes it to surround him, he loves the sounds, the smells, the sights.
What I’m saying is, that although this house ticks many boxes, it doesn’t tick enough. We can happily survive in a much smaller house, I miss my childrens constant presence now that they run off and hide in their rooms, I miss the sparcity of ‘stuff’.
What we need dear reader is a house with some land and for some of that land to be wooded – or alternatively we need some woodland with a clearing and space for a yurt. We do not need a lot of indoor space, 2 bedrooms a kitchen and a bathroom will do us, but we do need outdoor space, I’d like to raise our own meat and grow our own veg, but for that we need space. We can’t afford much however and we need to stay local – the local home ed community is amazing and we have some truly wonderful friends, and of course Ed has been accepted to her preferred college and we need to stay on or near the bus route for that.

Someone asked today whether it was possible that moving back into a house (or this house specifically) might be what had triggered my illness. I don’t know, I can’t say but I feel things would be better viewed through the door of my cottage, with the hens clucking around in the background and the delighted squeals of my children as they clambered and swung in the trees.

So, if you can help us please do get in touch. It sounds like such a huge ask but if I don’t ask no one will know and things will never change.

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Eating paleo

Well, it’s been a few months now since we returned to paleo, allowing for the bits and pieces of cheating that’s been going on I just had to say that I discovered this week that not only have I lost ‘lots’ of inches, but it turns out I’ve lost 11.5 kg – the worst thing about that I think is admitting I have lost that much considering how far I still have to go – I remember seeing the shocking truth on the scales way back in September and almost crying – but it had been a particularly trying summer with a diet of either junk food (predominantly McDonalds), or very high in grains and legumes. I still need to get back to being good on my paleo diet – I was doing well and feeling better and then Yogi had a birthday and we ate Pizza…. that was less than a month ago but I haven’t been brilliant about it since, and with a relapse in my health proper cooking tapered off again. It’s prompted a renewed/revised meal plan for the second month running, including actual recipes each day rather than a ‘this is the meat, improvise’ attitude, and a definite attempt to actually plan lunches too. I’m still dodging the AIP bullet, I just don’t seem to be able to manage it. I find cooking with tomatoes so much more inspiring, and with a fusspot at the table I need the food to be as delicious as it can be and with health being what it is I need meals to be as easy as they can be. Combine fusspot, with ease for me and you come up with tomatoes. It might be easier once our herb garden emerges but I’m still worried that without the beautifully slowly reduced tomato in the sauce I’m going to lack in the delicious flavours that encourage Yogi to eat her meals – she definitely favours those full of tomatoes and herbs, be it beef, chicken or pork. She also likes them roasted with a drizzle of olive oil and nothing else but I (and the others) need more from our meals! I’m trying to find somewhere local that does a good quality fish sauce which I know will add a delicious depth of flavour but until I do I can’t really try it out. So this month, the AIP is put on hold in an attempt to get Yogi eating more – although I suspect she needs to be on the AIP herself. I need to get back to health quite desperately, but also to accept my health as it is in order to not drown in frustration/desperation. My days are currently spent attempting to drag myself from one hour (or 10 minute slot) to the next and to not forget to feed the children or tend to their other needs. Luckily, they are wonderful and apart from having to break up occasional (although when I’m feeling very rough it feels like every 5 minutes!) rows between them I think I’ve got it pretty good with them.

Now, if only Yogi’s health would improve they’d be darn near perfect.

A new start on the paleo track.

With a new level of organisation comes the realisation that it’s time to organise my body/health.

We’re not sure quite what’s going on with my health but if we are honest we can see clearly that it is autoimmune in nature. This realisation/admission means it is time to get serious with Paleo again – the summer adventures meant paleo went by the wayside – and this time to not just do straight paleo but to trial the autoimmune protocol (AIP).

Honestly, I’m a mess. My right side is weak, I’m in constant ‘discomfort’ and almost constantly in pain that painkillers are only just about taking the edge off, sleep is becoming a thing of the past and so the whole ‘organised day’ thing is a lifesaver. Grumpiness is reigning supreme in my list of moods, with grouchy and weepy a close second. On the other hand Nige and I seem to have rediscovered humour (I did literally laugh out loud the other day – in a spit saliva all over everything kind of way (you’re glad of that image aren’t you?)), maybe it’s a defense mechanism to combat the murk that exists. Did I mention I don’t seem to be able to hear very well and I have frequent vision issues (right side only so far), my fingers are ridiculously unresponsive (which means I can’t knit or sew and forget learning to crochet), and my children and husband look at me in utter confusion as I ask them to ‘pick up the toilet’ or ‘jmumph the cutable’.

Ah well, it could be worse, I could’ve been converted.

Anyway, having gorged on cheesecake last Saturday I have now spent a week grain, dairy and excess sugar free (actually I had porridge midweek, oats but with coconut milk). Honestly, I’m in less pain – not no pain, just less, I’m not quite sleeping properly yet, I’m still pretty grumpy but I’m hoping things are going to steadily improve.

yummy paleo lunch

yummy paleo lunch

The thought of never eating a cake in a coffee shop again, or tomatoes or grabbing some chips on our way home from somewhere or other is initially daunting but then, the realisation hit that these things are really minor. They actually don’t matter in the slightest. Food is delicious, good home cooked, crapfree food is fantastic especially if it’s not hurting my body. With any luck a lessening of pain might result in an increase in physical activity and the two combined might actually help to shift my very not skinny butt…

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…

Open Letter to Jenni Murray

This post from Paleoworks really hit home with me

Open Letter to Jenni Murray.

I’m trying with paleo eating, for me a low day really does result in thoughts turning instantly to chocolate. I know that there is history there that helps that thought process but it’s something I really have to fight, don’t always but must. Part of the reason for the switch to paleo living is for my children, I don’t want them to ‘need’ that fix, I don’t want them to associate chocolate and cake with ‘treats’ or ‘comfort food’, it is down to me to ensure my children don’t think the way I always have.

I know that the 3 months that I ate completely paleo (up to, including and beyond 25 Dec 2011) I didn’t crave sweets, chocolate or cake, I happily didn’t eat those things or want them in any way. I lost a stone and I was happy, not about the weight lost but about the feeling of wellbeing, the lack of artificial sugar highs and awful crashing lows. I never felt particularly ‘full’ (read overfull)  but I was always satisfied. I love meat, I love seeds and nuts and I really don’t mind the majority of vegetables (there are a couple I could happily live without though). I still can’t work out what it was that tipped me back over – although at that point I hadn’t yet convinced Nige that we should all be eating this way and it became easier for him to do the shopping online and in crept the crispy southern chicken, and the pizzas. I think also the fact that I nanny twins girls who eat no vegetables or fruit meant I thought I had to compromise my daughters diets in order to cater for them, and I did feel crappy and disheartened on days when they didn’t eat.  I know now I don’t. The twins eat bolognese – well that’s easily paleo, they’ve all learned that it doesn’t come with spaghetti now. I’ve found 97% pork sausages with the only added ingredients being herbs and balsamic vinegar. I can do easy food that they will all eat without compromising our way of life and so I must. Ok, the twins still won’t snack, but maybe they will, maybe one day they will reach out a hand and try the grapes (actually P ate 3 grape halves the other day) or the nuts, maybe one day I’ll be able to send them home having eaten vegetables. In the meantime I can know that although they didn’t eat vegetables (apart from the ones I managed to hide in the bolognese) they didn’t eat crap either.

Besides as of Friday we will be living off-grid, not that easy to cook junk food on an open fire (well certainly no easier than real food), no freezer to store it and no incentive to buy it. I’ve been buying purely paleo for the last 3 weeks and I’ve actually halved our shopping bill. Not living within walking distance of a supermarket/any shop will also mean I can’t indulge when I think ‘but I have to have a chocolate bar/packet of biscuits’ etc

Thank you for your letter to Jenni Murray, you’ve reminded me why I made the choice to eat better and why there is no reason to go back.

Tandem tandeming….

Today, whilst ambling around the wonderful – but prohibitively expensive – Forest Row, we came across this

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I’m not sure how well you can see but it’s a tandem trailer bike! I’m planning on showing mr Tom later as I think it will beautifully compliment the tandem that Tom inherited from his father. Imagine us on the tandem with the smalls trailing behind!

Probably won’t go for it but I have really been looking at ways to cut down on car travel. I have a rather dodgy hip, since forever, which I’m getting under control with the help of (costly but worth it) one to one Pilates on a weekly basis, and I am hoping that I’ll be able to actually get about by pedal power instead of petrol power. Boo can ride a bike with no problems but I worry about her on the roads as she is only 6. Having had a discussion fairly recently about my past trips, by bike, aged 6yrs to about 10yrs, from Hailsham to Pevensey Bay, unsupervised I do wonder at my reluctance, but I alternate that with astonishment at my parents lack of reluctance!

Tell me, do you think it’s safer with a trailer bike or should I take Yogi on the trailer bike and let Boo meander/wobble/speed/dawdle beside/behind/in front of me?!