The silence here is very indicative of how we’re feeling. We’ve been mostly staying with my parents, punctuated with shorter stays with various other family and friends. It’s lovely to catch up with people, to sit on sofas, have baths, cook in kitchens, sleep in beds, have access to all our belongings (although remember we did declutter to a fairly extreme degree this time last year so ‘all our belongings’ is still a fairly small heap!), plug things in whenever we feel like it, be able to ‘pop’ to the supermarket open all hours across the road.
But it’s also fairly stifling. There I said it!
We find the constant hum of traffic noisy, smelly, distracting and disturbing. The constant drone of the television with it’s endless rounds of repeats and rubbish and adverts bleak and depressing. The waste of time and money and food caused by that very supermarket punting out cheap food at all hours which is supposed to free people of time and money.
I am not sitting in judgement of the way our family and friends live their lives. For the first 30 odd years (for me, 40 odd for Ady) we lived ours just the same and we felt fulfilled and happy almost all of the time. But now the four of us are hankering after those days we spent this year engaged in collecting and chopping firewood, sowing, harvesting or preserving foods, baking bread, fishing for our tea, looking out of our window and seeing the sun rise and set, or the rain tip from the sky and our beautiful world going by.
In lots of ways although we are finding elements of this period a challenge that reassures us that our future plans are right. That we won’t be missing these aspects of our old life once we don’t have access to them any more. That the simpler lifestyle we spent so much of this year living and enjoying is indeed the right one for us. Hand on heart we can all say that we didn’t hanker after Sussex or central heating, or 24 hour Tescos or pre-packaged pasta sauce or indeed any of the things we are kissing goodbye to when we embark on the next step of our journey. It’s been a good test to have access to all these things again just to see how we felt about them.
We visited Willow on Christmas Eve, just a fleeting pop in to collect something we’d left in one of the cupboards. It felt like a real wrench to lock the door and drive away from her again though. As lovely as spending time with family is I think all four of us would have been very happy to wake up in Willow on Christmas morning and have a go at cooking a turkey in our little oven.
So as 2011 draws to a close we are able to know for sure that we have had an amazing adventure this year and are more than ready to set off on the next one, knowing for certain that we simply don’t belong here any more.