My world is governed by post-it notes in books, notebooks, on cupboards and in cupboards and this is the reduced madness in our household. Work (as in paid work) is going at a pace beyond the 60 mile speed limit for roads in the country. I can barely keep up. I fall asleep on the train to work in the morning and I am so tired at night that it will take me more than 160 calendar days to read The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, which is a book of 120 pages.
The big move to the country from London has happened, addresses changed, new GP and dentist found, council tax sorted and home deliveries 99% changed over. We have lived a country life for a month and we are in a frenzy to fix-up the house to a state of inner peace. The green carpet went. The curtain rails and blinds went. The garden gnome was relocated far away. Drains, plugs and toilet seats have been cleaned to an inch of their lives or replaced. The overgrown outside has been pruned and the mystery bench plus pot-plants revealed under the overgrown brambles, have been carted away at a cost, of course. The local DIY store has made a fortune off us, and so has the garden centre. The charity shops in the nearby village have had an increase in stock with regular drop-offs. I am now too afraid to walk down the high street (if you can call it that) because I see things in shop windows that were once mine, and it feels a bit odd.
The animals have been to their farm vet for their “hello” visits (at a cost, of course). Probably the least glam veterinary surgery ever seen but the most competent vets yet. They figured Italy (our cat) out and now my little boy is on heart medication but with his Gorilla Glue sneezes from farm surrounding dander, I may need to add more medication to his day. The saga of giving a cat a pill is well known. At the designated pill-giving time, I sometimes think I need to wear my full bike kit with helmet to: (A) stop me losing a limb; and (B) be protected from the pill that gets spat out with force. Poor cat is now showing signs of age: early renal disease, high blood pressure and confirmation that he has a heart murmur, plus arthritis. Other than that, he is super happy in the house – he goes from room to room chasing the sun, spreading out and purring. Obviously he mainly sleeps anywhere that is not designated as an animal sleeping area. For the record, there is one human bed in the house and there are 9 animal beds. I rest my case on who is in charge.
Ivy, our dog, is adjusting to living in the country and a house with no squirrels to watch from the lounge window. She is, however, immersed in wild baby bunny smells and bunny poo, bluebells and the greenery of the woodlands nearby. As we visit villages, she has her head out the van window with ears flying, soaking-up the smells of the countryside. Day-care is up the road next to a sheep farm, and she comes home smelling like a pack of barn dogs and exhausted. Where she has had a unique encounter, is watching a small mound of earth grow in-front of her. Yes, this is the first interaction with Ivy and a mole. This could be why she has decided to wee on every mound of earth, moving or not.
Twice a week, I head to London to the office. I get the train at a nearby village, and then the tube, and then I walk 15 minutes to the office next to the old Wall of London. Sometimes I fall asleep on the train as mentioned, other times I work, catch-up with emails, listen to talks or I stare at the countryside as we race past. Husband fetches me from the station because I miss the last bus home by about 10 minutes. Getting home to the birds chirping, to the openness and cherishing the feeling of being nested is a privilege. Naturally, we share our home with bugs. Being next to a farm, you can imagine that this is the case, together with pollen. So far I have been very brave with certain critters. I am going to let it rest there. My dad would have understood what I am referring to.
I love seeing the two animals chase each other up and down the stairs at home. Seeing Italy pounce onto his cat tree-scratching post or stretch-out on a sunny window ledge. Once the fence is up, he will be able to go outside. I get a thrill looking into small spaces that we call our bonus spaces: under the stairs and the laundry room upstairs. Seeing Husband in his garage, with all his clobber is a special delight because it means it is not in the house with my stuff.
As summer arrives and neighbours pack away the Wellies, we are looking forward to spending all 4 seasons in the home. We want to see the blackcurrants harvested, see the wild bunnies grow, see the sun shine through windows for a full day and cover Italy like a warm blanket, and see Ivy continue to chase the butterflies through the woodlands.
And let us not forget the Queen’s Jubilee. We will have our Union Jack bunting out, join the village on the green and enjoy being part of monarchy madness even if you think the Royals may have overstayed their welcome.