That Big New Thing We Bought

two chairs with glass table on living room near window

So, after pledging to buy nothing new, cut our spending and push on with our greener lifestyle Mr T and I blew the whole thing out of the water! We bought a new house – not just any old house, a brand new, fresh out of the earth new build. Probably one of the least green things we’ve ever done.

So, onwards and upwards…

On the positive side, it’s super insulated and has PV panels on the roof to generate electricity. On the down side, I don’t even want to think about the cement, the carbon footprint of a new build and the loss of green space and wildlife habitat! But, we’re here now and rather than dwell on the negatives Mr T and I are determined to make the most of our new life “back home” in Cumbria.

Buying new allowed us to upsize our living space, downsize our garden and offer a house that will be relatively maintenance free as we approach retirement. We bought all our old furniture with us and we haven’t really  bought anything new to fill it yet (please don’t judge us for the new toilet roll holder – that seemed like a pretty essential piece of equipment after a few nights fumbling in the dark!) Freshly painted, we’ve no plans to decorate. I do have plans though and ultimately the bright white walls will morph into something bolder and more cheerful (my fantasy for a raspberry pink paint in the main bathroom may take some time – Mr T thinks that might be a bit “bold” for his taste.

The few DIY jobs we have undertaken so far have been minor. We’ve hung pictures in most rooms and shelves in the utility room. The shelves have been a bit of a “win:win”. Mr T bought lots of old pine shelving with him from the old house. Freshened up with a dark wood stain and a coat of clear varnish they look like new and do a great job of hiding all the household essentials above my eye level!

Our main focus this year will be the garden and I’m quite desperate to transform the large expanse of grass into something more productive, I’ve been saving yoghurt pots and egg boxes to plant seeds and I’m thankful the removal men didn’t raise an eyebrow at the the bags of home made compost that came with us!

I miss my greenhouse. But the plan to utilise all the window sills as temporary growing spaces is a success – not only do I have green shoots appearing – but Mr T is also very fed up of the motley collection of seed containers of every window sill that plans to invest in a green house have moved a lot higher up his priority list (the plan is to source one secnd hand once the weather improves).

We have been here two months now, which goes some way towards explaining the long silence here. Thanks for sticking with me, and as we move closer to spring and the weather warms up I have no doubts I’ll feel more inclined to post regular updates about our new life and adventure – I can’t wait to introduce you to some of the “treasures” we’ve already discovered – refillable red wine, a wonderful fish seller, a great plastic free shop and some very inspiring garden visits!

Take care of yourselves lovely readers – see you again soon xxx

Photo by Vecislavas Popa

Outside My Window…

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Clematis “Winter Beauty” outside my kitchen window

I love my garden in winter. I know it’s meant to be bleak and bare, the season where nothing ever happens; but on cold winter mornings I find myself drawn to the garden. A brisk run to fill bird feeders or pick up windblown silver birch twigs for kindling often turns into a slow meander as I stop to admire the low winter sun shining through the waxy flowers of a late clematis, or listen to a song thrush.

Small pleasure, finding joy in a busy day. These garden moments remind me that even in the depths of winter, there is a reason to be outdoors. Of course, there are the days when I am forced to sit inside, looking out, when aching joints, headaches or just the effort of meeting a deadline mean that I must sit at my desk. On these mornings I sit eating breakfast, my camera beside me.  It may be just a quick snap of the robin, a glimpse of a snowdrop or the rare sight of a jay swooping low over the fields that catches my eye as I watch, but capturing these snatched moments has become a part of my daily routine.

When I do step outside, I realise that nature has accepted me. The robin sits waiting for me to scatter a few seeds on a tree stump, scolding me if I forget. The blackbirds no longer scurry away, but turn their heads towards me as if to say good morning. The crows and wood pigeons stare down from the tall branches, no longer startled or flying away. I am no longer just a garden observer, I am a part of this garden and just as I have shaped this outdoor space, it has shaped me. Offering joy, solace, optimism and comfort.

I have lots of deadlines approaching, the new book is nearing completion and I promise myself, that once this book is done I shall take a much needed break, to spend mornings exploring the garden, afternoons in the woods and evenings spent watching the sunset. For now, I must be grateful for these snatched moments, the beautiful last days of winter.

You can find more snapshots of my daily dose of the outdoors on my Instagram feed  click on the icon in the right hand column to see more.

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