Tuesday 30 June 2020

My Grief

Meme - Elephant Journal

You know how many of you tell me in the comments that something I have written about, or a meme that I have shared has resonated strongly with you,  and you thank me for speaking out, publishing it and sharing.  Well yesterday my beautiful blogging buddy Elaine shared a meme on Facebook that stopped me in my tracks  Completely.  Utterly. 

 Like a boxing blow to the solar plexus that left me reeling.  I sat stock still my phone loosely grasped in my hands.  Then I caught my breath, regained some composure and thought it through.  Then I sobbed my bloody heart out ... for what is hopefully the last time.

I have been angry, angry for a long time, on and off for almost exactly three years in fact.

I wrote THIS post on my Our New Life in the Country blog about the day Alan was 'retiring', about how we would be working together more and more and how the 'day job' would be worked from home in a much smaller way.  I bought him the plaque to immortalise the date our new life together was to start.

But bit by bit the day job work ramped up again and he spent more and more time in the office, squeezing the basic maintenance jobs around the smallholding back into the three days a week they had always been done on when he had been away.   Yes, we had more of each others company for lunch and in the evenings, but I think I was always waiting for the 'day job' to be the one or two day a week thing or the three, three day conventions a year part of Alan's life that we had originally planned for.  With us slowing things down on the smallholding for the early retirement together that we had originally talked about sat on the stairs of my little shop way back in 2008.

It took Alan until early last year to admit to me that 'the Good Life' was no longer the life he wanted.  He had loved the putting together of the smallholding, the research into the solar power systems and other eco friendly things we have installed.  He loved acquiring all the machinery that fills his workshop, and I loved watching his boyish delight with each and every machine or gadget being delivered ... and teased him about it mercilessly.

BUT,  then he admitted loved his job MORE, and wanted to carry on doing it for as long as possible.  We sat down and discussed all options, what would we do, how would we want the future and came up with plan to sell this place, to cash in on our investment and move forwards in a different way.  Being nearer family was important for both of us, being somewhere with an equal travel time to Alan's work in Berkshire was important to him, and being nearer to people and life was important to me.

I have told him over the years, quite a few times, on the occasions when he has noticed my despair, how I actually feel.  He knew how dejected I was just a few short months into our new life in the country about giving up what I had left behind.  Leaving my tiny shop in the town I loved and had always wanted to live in.  The business I had built and the friends I had gathered during my time working for myself and for the local hospice.  More recently during flare ups when I told him he has turned on me and told me not to drag up the past, to move forward and that I should simply adapt. 

So for the past year I thought I had been angry, so very angry.  I held it in my tense shoulders, in my snap back words, in the high blood pressure that rises at the drop of a hat.

You lovely lot have seen it on my posts, have read between the lines and asked if I am okay.  There have been emails and comments, love shown and strength offered and I have used that to help me get to this point.  And it took one simple meme, of few words to clarify something that I should have seen so long ago.  

It wasn't anger I was feeling ... it was grief.

I have been grieving the things I gave up, the plans we made together that never came to fruition and were sometimes never mentioned again after the memory of the promises made were perceived to have faded.  

I have been grieving what I had, what I loved and what had been taken away with my permission.  I have been grieving that I have changed so much that I have to dredge the old part of me up on a regular basis to remind myself of what I could be.

Of what I will be again.

Sue xx

Monday 29 June 2020

Give. Love. Trust. Listen.

In some ways I did

In some ways it was

I did, I was

I did ... but I got it back


Sunday 28 June 2020


Not long now

Until I can wander

I'm good at wandering

But not so good with words at the moment


Thursday 25 June 2020

Poppies and Wildflowers

To the right of the polytunnels, between us and the road we have a 45ft length of Laurel hedging and in front of that the trees, Rowans and Whitebeams, that we had to plant to comply with the planning permission, which was necessary in order for us to be able to erect the two tunnels.

It used to just be grass around the trees and up to the path, then we decided to make a small flower bed using the old sleepers that had been formerly used to hold back the hillside where the garage/workshop now stands.  I love old sleepers and great big chunks of old wood and to be able to re-use these where I would see them every day was just too good an opportunity to pass by.

Then one day without telling me Alan decided to level the area to the left between the paddock fence and the flower bed.  Why anyone in their right mind would try to 'level' a hillside that slopes gently down to the road defeated me then ... and still does.  Anyway level it he did, ignoring jobs that needed to be done and instead barrowing load after load of topsoil and spreading it on top of the grass until he got the left hand side as level as he wanted it, half killing himself in the process.  He sowed grass seed early last year, and then again late last year and not much of it took, instead the wildflowers moved in and set seed.

This year he sowed some more grass seed, just before the drought at the start of lockdown and with some care it did start to come up, albeit rather patchily.  And then after the grass started growing the Poppies came.  Small delicate wild poppies germinated from originals that used to live all over the patio and pathways around our land before the tarmac went down.

They've been joined by the buttercups now, and tiny little blue flowered 'weeds' whose name always escapes me, I love the delicate wild beauty of this area and watching the bees and butterflies flitting from each flower as it opens fresh in the morning and gets past it's best in less than 24 hours.  

All this wildness is helping the grass to grow beneath too, but nothing will be mown ... unless Alan has another moment of madness!!

Sue xx

Tuesday 23 June 2020

Monday 22 June 2020

22nd June

And this shows that my baby Cauliflower was way ahead of the veggie year, even for southern England.

Sue xx

Sunday 21 June 2020

Bob the Cat

I was so sad to hear the news that Bob the Street Cat had died this week  🙁

And then to hear the news in a press release today from James Bowen, Bob's constant companion over the last decade or so, that his death had resulted from being hit by a car, was devastating.  I know exactly what that is like.

Their story together was a wonderful one, in a twist of fate they saved each others lives and had so many happy times and adventures together.  With James going on to write both adult and children's books about his and Bob's exploits and then a film being made about them and starring Bob himself (with another film due out later this year) they have managed to rise from the streets in a fairy-book style way.  But at the same time never losing sight of who they were and where they came from.

The new film when it comes out is going to be a very poignant one, with Bob himself once again acting the role of himself in some scenes.

RIP Bob 💖

Thursday 18 June 2020

Spam and Suky ...

A small selection of my wartime eating and growing books ... they started a Challenge before my Challenging Myself blog was even born. 

Suky agrees with John  💖

Suen xx

Wednesday 17 June 2020

Wanna Buy a House ?

Yesterday our house officially went on the market.  

We are marketing through a local Estate Agent and also on the Greenshifters website that we originally found it on seven years ago.  

Within 12 hours overnight of it being on Greenshifters we had a couple in London who have just sold their home getting in touch for more information.  

And then yesterday within an hour of it going on line through our estate agents he had someone in touch expressing an interest.  As he is not yet allowed to show anyone round the house we have to wait for the  First Ministers address on Friday night to find out if things will relax sufficiently for the house to be viewed.

Fingers crossed on all fronts 😃

And especially for you ... a link to the details.

There are lots and lots of photos, and yes you'll recognise a couple of mine in there amongst the professional ones.

Sue xx

Tuesday 16 June 2020

Two ... and a Meme

Today you get two for the price of one, they were just so cute snoozing in the sun while I ate my breakfast.

Yin and Yang ... Mavis and Ginger

Sue xx

Friday 12 June 2020

Thursday 11 June 2020

Dreams You Haven't Dreamt

September 2015

Our gate post toppers, just painted ... it had to be black pigs didn't it 😃

Sue xx

Wednesday 10 June 2020

Do Your Best

September 2014

A solitary Poppy growing in the slate that used to cover the ground all around the house.

Sue xx

Tuesday 9 June 2020

Monday 8 June 2020

Challenging Myself - Living on a Box

I'm just gearing up for a new Challenge over on my Challenging Myself blog.

After lots of wondering about what to do next and wanting something that would be a very contained  and a nice specific challenge ... I decided to live on a Morrisons Vegan Food Box for two weeks.

The boxes are supposed to be for two people for one week, but I'm just one person so it should last me two weeks, as long as I am careful how I treat and prepare all the fresh foods that it contains.

Anyway it has just arrived and it's time to start the unpacking to see exactly what I have.

While the Challenge is going on I will obviously have to devote a lot more time to the other blog, so on here each day I am going to share a favourite photo from our time living here in Wales, and also a favourite meme ...  you know me I love a good meme  💓

Sue xx

If you are reading this post after the 7th June THIS is the link that will take you to the first page of the Challenge planning, and by clicking on Newer Post at the bottom left of each post under the comments, you will be able to follow the Challenge through in chronological order.

Sunday 7 June 2020

Instant Human

Instant human, just add coffee ...

... and a good book.

This is the book that was sent to me by blogging buddy Sue from My Quiet Life in Suffolk, just because she knew I would like it, and she's lovely like that.

I'm starting it today 😃

Yes, it sounds just up my street.  Quiet literally actually as our stretch of this main road is called Llanrwst Road and the lady who wrote the book was born in Llanrwst, and the book is set less than 15 minutes from our house.

Which ... YES ... is just about to go on the market!!

Sue xx

Saturday 6 June 2020

When you shouldn't bake ...

You just shouldn't bake when you are sad.

You should eat crisp butties and sooth your soul with mugs of hot coffee.  You should walk until the cobwebs are blown away and the tears are dried by the wind.

But I baked.

I got the measurements of the baking powder and baking soda the wrong way round, and used far too much flax egg, and this explosion of Blueberry Muffin mix is the result.

The Aga oven was cleaned.

A replacement cake was found and called into service.

Tasty but not recommended really ... much too sweet, but what did I expect!!

Then I sat and sobbed my heart out on the swing.

Alone with just the bleating of the lambs blowing on the wind.

Yesterday my heart broke all over again.

Sue xx