I've always been a bit of a wanderer, enjoyed the adventure of finding new places to explore and live. Some of the time its been something I didn't have an awful lot of control over. After my divorce for instance, I lived in rented flats or houses, and on a few occasions my landlords decided to sell the house which meant me finding alternative homes.
I also needed to move sometimes myself, for work or for family situations. Once I just had to move from an area so grey - I just had to find somewhere with some greenery nearby!
I live at the moment in a small house with a handkerchief garden on the edge of a small city. I came here originally to study at the University and rented a small Victorian cottage. After the birth of my last child, I couldn't afford the rent and was given a large, light and airy council flat that backed onto a lovely woodland. It was a good place to live, but as my daughter learned to walk and needed a garden, I managed to find a swap with the tenant of my present home - she wanted to be rid of a garden due to some health problems and so we exchanged and I have been here for nearly 3 years now.
The last 13 years has seen me move and live in 8 different places which is quite a lot of moves. And apart from the work involved in packing up and unpacking and the money to hire vans and an extra pair of hands or two, it really hasn't stressed me. Last year a problem with some neighbours disinterest in their children's' activities (basically breaking my windows and fencing) gave me itchy feet again and I began to look at exchange websites. For years I have longed to live down in the South west or West country, and my dreams of my rural witchy cottage, or canal boat haven't changed very much over the last few years.
But every time I was offered an exchange, it came with a situation that wasn't right for me and my family. And so I began to think about it a little more deeply. Yes, I know if I want something strongly enough, I could find a way to do it, but then I also find that difficulties in doing something may indicate a need to decide if it really is the right thing after all.
I don't want to uproot my young daughter at the moment - she has settled into a school and made friends and is doing well. The trouble I encountered has settled down. Strangely enough, all it needed was for me to install a blind across my kitchen window that faced the front to give me some privacy. The trouble only seemed to occur when I was visible through the window. Literally 'out of sight, out of mind' - although I'm pretty certain the simple spell I did to infuse the blind with invisibility helped a little!!
Over the last couple of years I have been slowly decorating the house and adding little touches to it, to make it reflect my personality and interests. And the garden is also coming together to become a place of reflection and peace. Even when some choice language drifts over from another house, it doesn't seem to disturb the tranquility, almost like I have created a spiritual bubble of calm.
I had decided that if for now I cant live in the country, I would bring the country to me. As well as sorting the garden out as a pleasant place to sit and contemplate, I added 3 chickens - for eggs, for the pleasure of watching them peck and scratch and for fun. Growing a few veg and having planted a couple of apple trees has also added to its simple beauty and I find myself sitting out in it as often as possible.
I also found on another level I have connected to the spirit of the land where I live. I realised with my desire to leave, I had stopped making trips out, walking and exploring, foraging and observing the seasons, day and night cycles. I have made an effort to walk more, trips out to the nearby villages and countryside to look for interesting places to become acquainted with.
My foraging activities started up again and I gathered dandelions to make marmalion jelly recently,
and just last week walked for several hours exploring. We found many elders bursting with elderflower heads, some of which I turned into fragrant and delicate syrup. Nettles for beer and shortly, wild cherries for home made cherry brandy to put away for winter solstice presents. (If I can keep my hands off it long enough!)A local spring has beautiful clear water and we sat on a small walkers bridge in the sun, dangling toes into the fresh sharp waters. There are quite a few green areas in and on the outskirts of Canterbury and exploring the city often brings unexpected delights. By the Christchurch university for example; I found many elder trees in a churchyard where the church is now a music centre for the university.
This is so important to me too. Because I am making a connection to the land. Appreciating its bounty and bringing into my home.
I sit and listen to the wind again. Observe the sky, the plants and the wildlife. Spotting Herons and squirrels and maybe the odd urban fox. I feel the spirit of the Land and remember ancient feelings and memories. Remembering old recipes and remedies I used to use - hanging chamomile daisies in the kitchen to get rid of flies, adding wild peppermint leaves to my salads to aid digestion and so much more. I feel the spirit of the land so much closer now and can find a contentment that I hadn't felt for a long time.
And so I sat today to make a decision for the next few years - at least until Rhiannon reaches secondary school, that I have got to allow the roots I'm putting down here to dig in and become strong. To nourish the plant to grow and flourish.
No - I haven't stopped having my dream. One day I know I will have the freedom I seek and the canal narrow boat home I long for. I'm open to whatever there is in store for me and my family. Now, I am content to water and feed the roots Ive put down and live in the home I choose to be in.