sun, campers, rain, mud….

It feels like an age since I last posted here.

We’ve had lots of glorious sunshine, and happy campers, and now we are back again to mud and to rain.

Needless to say the sunshine was fantastic, campers were all happy with the woods and the weather. I on the other hand appear to be never happy…. I love the sunshine, I love the woods, and I do love living here. I’m not quite so keen on some of the campers though. I’m not sure I’m supposed to admit to that but it’s true. Some do not love the trees, not as they should and that hurts. They leave litter, they trample indiscriminately and they do not consider the wildlife when moving around. Others, now, others are wonderful. They are gentle with the woods, they love the trees, they love nature, they clean up after themselves (although there is not much to clear up for them). Their children are happy with the trees, they climb them, they hide in them but they are gentle with them.

Also, I find it tiring, tiring to greet 10 tents worth of campers in a day, even 4 tents can equal 16 people. That’s a lot of people (even if half are children) for someone who finds meeting people difficult. I feel constantly tired from it. It’s OK though, I know it’s what I signed up for and that this is what provides me with my beautiful surroundings. When they are easy gentle woods lovers I find it easier, the noisy, TV missing nonecolivers I find much harder. Every visitor feels they have a right to pass judgement on our decision to live here. We are either mad, stupid, courageous, amazing or fantastically nuts, clearly destitute. I guess we have signed up to a life of judgements, but it again it tires, it tires to even just nod and agree, yes we’re nuts, yes we’re whatever label they decide to put on us.

And now of course the rain is back. It’s rained in through the doorway, right now I’m thinking a sewn in groundsheet would’ve been a better option, or the zip up. I worried though when we bought it that the zip up had more things to go wrong and the sewn in wouldn’t have given us the freedom to roll up in the heat. Also, it was just a festival tent, not a home at that point.

One thing this experience has definitely given me is a vision of where I want to be. I want to be in a community, I want to be surrounded by trees (but not necessarily right in the middle of them…), by people who feel more similarly about the world, I also have more concrete visions of our future but I’m not ready to share them with anyone but Nige just yet.

On another note, Nosey has been conspicuous in her absence these last 2 weeks. I expressed concern over her well-being and was very rapidly shot down. Ours is not to reason why, just to enjoy her absence. As it happens, I spotted her this morning so I guess she was just away for the duration. I’m glad, I cannot wish bad on anyone and I do hope that whatever the reason for her absence all is OK in her world. Maybe if she feels my positivity she’ll change her mind about everything.

 

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Loneliness and our way of life.

I have to blog on loneliness too, but it’s not a new feeling for me. I’ve felt it for years. Having grown up in a very conventional place, with relatively conventional (well to the rest of the world) parents, in a place that hated the non-conventional (far too many gypsy settlers for anyones liking…), I seem to have deviated completely; and so far, other than Nige I haven’t found anyone that I feel ‘at home’ with.

I have friends, but too many of them refuse to understand my choice to Home Ed, our dietary choices, our lifestyle choices (and that was before we moved to the woods). Sadly, the few friends I do have that seem to understand, or at least accept are not local, and so, seeing them becomes difficult, especially if they (as mothers) work outside the home or send their children to school, these limit physical availability.

I am, by nature a very shy person. I have always hated meeting new people, not because I don’t want to but because I don’t think I’m interesting enough, or worth other peoples time (yes, I know I have self esteem issues). But, acutally I love meeting new people, I love to hear their story, to find out about them, and I love making new friends. But, (I know, again with the but!) I find it hard to keep them going. My life, always feels like a madhouse, I have moments where I have felt utterly bored with nothing to do and no one to see, but mostly it feels like I don’t actually have time to breathe. I keep hoping for a time when this will all change. I think that’s partly in our ‘future’, the one that I can dream but can’t actually believe. The one where we live among others who feel the way we do about children, about nature, about ‘things’ (I say blogging from my laptop and owning an iPhone…). The one with the roundhouses, the veg plots and the neighbours. The one with the communal campfire, the shared responsibility and the sense of belonging.

 

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…

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.

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.

The move part 1

We are really doing this.

The move seems to be a mixture of incredibly relaxed and ever so slightly stressful.

Today I spent the day at the launderette trying to make sure anything that needed washing was. I should have been home packing but with so many towels and individual socks appearing at every turn I just had to get it done. The launderette in itself was an adventure, Boo came with me and helped me count coins, load washes (what goes with what and why), gold washes etc then we hotfooted it next door for a quick cuppa. We also got to experience the hows of repairing a brick wall without closing the launderette due to an unfortunate incident earlier in the morning involving an elderly gentleman, his car and the wall to the building.

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The afternoon was indeed spent packing, finally the girls room was cleared, mine was begun. I never realised how many pennies I’d lost, more socks too… The bathroom (thank you Ed), the ensuite and most of the kitchen. A quick nip to the supermarket revealed a new discovery – chocolate coconut milk! Wow, an early trip to the woods was definitely required. As soon as Tom got home from a hard days setting up we headed back to light the fire and drink hot chocolate paleo style. The hot chocolate was absolutely delicious. The children were relaxed and happy round the fire and the set up looked amazing.

Reluctantly we headed back for our last night in bricks and mortar.

The week so far

Well we have tried out our new homes – bit of putting them up and taking them down as we’re not quite ready to leave them up yet. First pic is Eds tent, second is ours. It was good to try as it helps to visualise our space and also to give us an idea of the fixings we will need instead of tent pegs.

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Also this week I finished the washing liquid, I like it but I think it’s definitely a more machine than hand liquid, I think I’ll probably be using old fashioned soap for hand washing. Just as I used to at my Abuelas all those years back. Launderette trip number one will take place tomorrow, Friday. Wish me luck, I haven’t been to a launderette since 2001.

I also made lip balm the other day, Tom was complaining about sore lips so I melted some beeswax, in some almond oil and added a dash of honey – results can be seen above. Tom seems quite happy with it, I made enough for him and Ed, no complaints from her yet either.

Recipe:
1tbsp beeswax pearls
4 tbsp almond oil
Half a tbsp runny honey.

Simple.