I've had a few days away from the blog. It's actually only a couple of days, but it feels like forever.
There's been lots of thinking going on, and lots and lots of bad weather.
I'm back in Wales at the moment ... and not loving this leaky as a sieve house with all the washing piled on window sills catching the persistent plop, plop, plop of rainwater as it cascades through the lintels, instead of tootling round in the washing machine where it is supposed to be. When the drips slow down enough to remove the bedding from the sills and have merely the jugs in appropriate places it will be washed and put into a bag ready for taking back to my leak-free home in Lancashire.
I love the meme above.
I want to slow things down. I want to slow things down so much that even someone saying 'but what do you do with yourself all day' drives me nuts. I do things, I move from task to task in a considered and thoughtful way. I don't rush from pillar to post to achieve things in some man-made or self imposed time frame. I get things done that need to be done ... and then that's it they are done.
And yes, that is invigorating!!
I need to take things back to basics.
I love this photo, these photos.
They were taken in the Weald and Downland Museum when we were there a couple of years ago. This is the pace of life and the simplicity of life that I want, that I crave.
I'm not silly ... I know life was tough in those days, no central heating for them, no en-suite bathroom for middle of the night forays to the toilet. No, instead there was a pot under the bed or a cold and perhaps wet trip to the outhouse.
Perhaps I want the best of both worlds ... or all worlds.
I want minimal, but beautiful and useful possessions. I want to have everything I need, and nothing that jars. You know what I mean ... the thing that sits in the wrong place for the wrong reason. Sometimes we don't even realise we have them as we pick up and dust an area week in week out.
I need to step back on a regular basis at the moment, carefully and gradually whittling away at what I have. Adding the things that I do need and removing with consideration those that I don't.
I don't have collections as such. I used too many moons ago collect owls. Then every Christmas, holiday, birthday and excuse, would see me being given owls. My collection got bitty and very to be polite diverse!! I sold all the owls at a car boot sale many years ago, I was the talking point of the small car boot 'the lady with the owls', but all the owls went ... no doubt to people who loved to dust.
So no collections for me.
I do have lots of books, lots of Dvds ... and at the moment it seems to me lots of clothes. Some of these areas will be worked on, only the best will remain. I don't need lots of anything.
To quote William Henry Channing I want:
To live content with small means;
to seek elegance rather than luxury;
to be worthy, not respectable:
to be wealthy, not rich.
It's something worth working on ... in my own time.
I love the idea of a more simple life - it's a work in progress - maybe for us it'll take a couple more years.ReplyDelete
What a shame about your leaky cottage! Can it not be fixed in any way - or is it just what comes with old welsh cottages. It's still a beautiful place.
It's what you get with old Welsh cottages. At least a couple of times a year the rain blows sideways down the valley and takes no prisoners!!Delete
See my reply to Sue's comment below for more information on what we could do ... and what someone else did!!
Lovely photos from the Weald and Downland Museum. I have always enjoyed sewing things, and this crafting always draws me back to a bygone age, as I prefer to stitch by hand when I can. I still have a few collections of things I adore and as for my book-stash - well, least said about that the better! Where you are now you have no room to have stashes so you are well on the path to simplicity.ReplyDelete
I love it there :-)Delete
I have been to the Weald and Downland Museum twice now, and twice to the Black Country Living Museum ... but only once to Beamish I shall have to rectify that!
I can honestly think of nothing that I would like to start collecting,I've even slowed down with the Dvd 'acquiring' now ... there's only so many films and boxed sets a girl can watch in one lifetime ;-)
Do you remember the Hovel in the Hills? when the water poured in at the back door and they had to make channels for it to go out again and the way they had to move things away from the walls each winter to stop them growing mould? Maybe it's all Welsh cottages!ReplyDelete
I'm loving my more simple life even without downsizing!
I remember that well. It pretty much IS all Welsh cottages in this neck of the woods ... especially all the old Welsh cottages ... of which ours is one. A couple who lived in a cottage the same as ours (and built by the same person as ours) but situated nearer to Llanrwst, made the mistake of taking off the 'rough dash' as it made their cottage look much more romantic and 'twee' when you could see the stones it and ours are made from. They were the talk of the town as the first time the sideways rain lashed across the valley it poured in through EVERY nook and cranny.Delete
Our leaks come mainly from above the windows and this is even though we had copious coats of paint put on the other year to try and help seal the porous stones and the rough dash. The only way to try and keep out the Welsh rain now would be to tile the whole side of the house that gets the worst of the rain at this time of year, but that couldn't even be attempted until the cottage has dried out ... and that will take another Summer of gloriously hot weather ... and this is North Wales!!
I love reading about your simple life, you are creating it well.
I loved that book. I have never come across anyone else who has read it.ReplyDelete
I have read all four of Elizabeth's books, I absolutely love them especially 'Hovel', and they are still on my bookshelves now. I should take them to the Van and have another read.Delete
I found it strangely comforting that after reading Hovel in the Hills over and over many years ago when my boys were small and taking inspiration from Elizabeth's frugal ways, that I should end up living across the valley from Elizabeth's old house, which wasn't actually called Hafod at all as I found out after moving here. Hafod is a Welsh term meaning 'Summer dwelling place' and is used as a name for lots of houses, hotels and lodges in this area. Elizabeth's house was called something completely different but she wanted to make it harder to find. She shopped in Llanrwst when she walked into town ... just as I do :-)
Small world! I too read that book many years ago but must read the other 3!Delete
Sue, I admire your pluck in having a go at making your wished for life a reality. My moment of bravery was to simply leave a well paid and safe career in my 40s to return to education with no idea of if I would succeed or get a job afterwards given my age. I didn't choose to study anything vocational but what I loved and I was very hard up as I wasn't entitled to any loans or finance. I am now almost 2 years into a new and rewarding career (much less well paid but more worthwhile). Sometimes when we act with courage the universe provides.ReplyDelete
Exactly ... a brave step is usually rewarded in some way. Sometimes in ways that we least expect. Well done you, I really admire anyone that takes a leap into the unknown :-)Delete
I love that quote - it sums up how I feel at the moment too. I live in a huge, busy city but even here I'm learning to let go and to take things slower. I'm still on the simplifying journey - got rid of a lot over the past two years - I'd say I was about 80% there but still working on it. I will follow your journey with great interest.ReplyDelete
You can find and make a simple, slower life in the city as well as a more rural area. A few herbs on the windowsill, natural possessions instead of plastics, simplicity in general around the home. It sounds as though you are well on the way to your own journey.Delete
I think I have just reached the crossroad to the path that you are on. Each day, possessions that I have had for years mean less and less to me. I seek tranquility in my life. Joyful peace and calm. I have an overwhelming urge to plant trees, am I still sane? - Vera.ReplyDelete
You are sane ... saner than you can ever imagine.Delete
I think it must be an age thing, we suddenly 'see' the advertisers for what they are. The people telling us to work hard, achieve more and buy more ... more of their products. Plant a tree every time you get the urge ...the world will be a better place.
Wonderful post and I agree with it all. I use to have lots of collections of vintage things. All are gone now, given away or sold. I still love dishes and probably have a few more than I need but I do love them so. Keep writing, it is so inspiring.ReplyDelete
I have a friend that is still in the antiques and collectables world, we used to share a shop. She posts some glorious vintage china photos on her Facebook selling page, also available from her little shop in the Yorkshire Dales and I have to admit to buying some gorgeous vintage plates from her through the post. And then when I called to see her on the way back from our holidays last year I suddenly saw the 'antiques and collectables'for what they were ... clutter. Gloriously beautiful clutter yes, but still clutter. I wanted to support her, she's always hard up, so I bought useful things. Wooden storage boxes, a gorgeous enamel bucket that I use at the van, pretty little jugs that I stand our toothbrushes in etc. But for them to stay I got rid of the plainer, less memory filled pieces that I used before.Delete
I will keep writing don't worry ... you will get so fed up with my writing you will be begging me to stop ;-)
Your post today reminds me of one of my favorite quotes, by Henry David Thoreau: "Our life is frittered away by detail. Simplify, simplify." I am getting to that stage in life also where I want to declutter and keep only what I truly need or enjoy. Actually, I've been decluttering for several years now, and each year I find more things that I am now ready to let go.ReplyDelete
The words of Henry David Thoreau really resonate with me, as does his little house in the woods.Delete
'Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.'
'It's not what you look at that matters, it's what you see.'
and finally ...
'All GOOD things are wild, and free.'
It would seem we are very similar, each year I can let go of more and more. A few years ago if you had asked me to part with ANY of my cook books I would have been horrified ... now they go so easily.
That quote resonates in my soul. Thank you for sharing it with us all.ReplyDelete
My pleasure. xxDelete
A few years ago a very good friend nearly lost everything, including his life, in a house fire.ReplyDelete
It made me stop and think very seriously about what would I want/need to grab if I was in a similar situation and make a real plan for what I'd do if something so awful happened here. The answer for me was "the very first thing to get safe is my dog" followed by "one of the backup drives from the computer" which contain irreplaceable photos and a huge amount of other data I would hate to lose.
Once you get your head around how unimportant everything else is, decluttering becomes remarkably simple.
Please keep writing Sue. You will probably never know how much the honest story of your journey over the last 10 years means to others, xx
I would grab exactly the same if I had only minutes to get out of the house.Delete
I aim to keep writing, is there a reason this has been mentioned twice today I wonder?
We made a dash to our Welsh cottage this afternoon as the neighbour called to say that the nearby innocent little stream had turned into a torrent so we wanted to be sure that the house wasn't in danger (it was OK, just). The road from Conwy to Llanrwst was really flooded so it was a bit of a trial getting here.ReplyDelete
The pictures have been on the news this evening looks bad, glad your cottage is alright xxDelete
Yes, it's been pretty dramatic here today. I'm glad your cottage is okay.Delete
We were on 'sheep watch' all day for the sheep across the road from us, it was decided around teatime that they had to be moved as the water started flooding the highest part of the field. Alan and their owner, Thomas got them out just in time. Luckily, well sort of, the road had been closed for about an hour and we could walk them along the road to our paddock and get them safely established in there before it went dark.
Our poor neighbours campsite is completely flooded, while we were rescuing sheep, they were getting their chickens to safety. They won't know how much damage has been done to their shepherds huts, hot tubs and campsite until tomorrow, when hopefully the floodwaters will have gone down a bit.
Glad you're ok Sue I was beginning to worry about you. I knew roughly which area you were in by your Booths shopping as its regional, I'm in Yorkshire Take care with all the high rivers xxReplyDelete
It's pretty bad here in Wales at the moment, as it is in Yorkshire according to the BBC news we've just been watching. Take care. XxDelete
Saw Llanrwst on the news. Of course I know it as a lifelong visitor to the area and I hope things calm down today and that everyone and all the animals are ok!ReplyDelete
It's a strange morning here. The sun is shining and the river is still in the field opposite. It's almost as though nature is laughing at us! I'll post some photos later.Delete
Nature is in charge that's for sure!Delete
I've been decluttering for the last few years, every time I have a go I think it will be the last time but then after a few months, I look around, and think 'that can go now.' I think it is an age thing, I've now had to help several friends clear their parents houses after a death, and it's so sad, stuff just gets thrown away. I don't want anyone to have to spend ages going through my place and feeling bad about junking stuff. Also, I do need less and less. Last year did final trawl through of my DVDs, only kept the ones I like to rewatch. Thought I'd done final trawl of CDs but as most of them are classical music, I'm now thinking, I listen to Classic FM and Radio 3 for that, do I really need the CDs? Done most of my clothes but I do still have some rather fabulous dresses that I don't think I'll ever wear again (don't do posh occasions any more). As it's coming up to wedding season I think a trip to the local dress agency is calling! Over the years I've gone from (seriously): two walk in wardrobes, one double wardrobe, one signal wardrobe, to just the two walk in wardrobes (and those aren't full but could still do with a good trawl to get rid of the size 8 stuff I'll never fit into again LOL. Savannah.ReplyDelete
Yes, I do know how to spell 'single' - don't know what came over me LOL Fingers faster than brain. Savannah.ReplyDelete
I quite liked the idea of your 'signal' wardrobe ... 'hey look what I'm wearing today!!' Haha.Delete
It really must be an age thing. I should do a little survey and find out the average age of my readers, it would be fascinating. I have only a handful of CDs now, I don't know why I keep them though actually I don't have a CD player ... not even in the car!
My husband’s Auntie and Uncle used to live in a village just the other side of Llanwrst from your house and had the same problem with their old cottage despite it being white washed. They lived there for a long time and never managed to sort it.ReplyDelete
We moved from Manchester to the Llyn a couple of years ago, downsizing from a three bed semi to a two roomed cottage. I thought I had done a good job of getting rid of stuff but am still finding things to send to the charity shops. The children told me they didn’t want to have any of our things so that gave me the green light to purge, bless them. Like you, collections gone, CDs, DVDs, even many of my precious books!
I left my job and my husband works away for days at a time. When people from my old life ask what I do with myself I struggle to explain. I’m never bored or really lonely, even when I don’t leave the cottage for days. I walk, I watch the sky, look at the view, read, see to the house and garden, and play with the dogs. I sometimes meet a friend or go out to the coast. It’s a simple life compared to the one before, but to be honest it feels so much more full and varied.
This welsh cottage doesn’t leak, but if the wind is in exactly the right direction – which happens very rarely thank goodness – I get a nasty draught between one window frame and the wall which ends up right here where I sit at the PC!