Saturday, 30 July 2016

Niggles...these are just niggles

Ok, so challenges come, and when they do...well, we overcome some point...but well, some of these I did not even consider, and come from a variety of sources.

Lots of deep breathing and remembering that firstly, I can overcome these challenges, and secondly, people are very willing to help. Especially when they see someone else with a motorhome.

Maude, after picking her up in Perth and successfully driving down to Edinburgh, decided to develop a few teething problems. Common I was informed. In fact, 1 in every 4 motorhomes has them. Even brand new ones. Maude, of course, is 13 years old, so not a spring chicken, and so I was expecting some things - a few character traits!

Firstly, on the drive down, the watercap must not have been securely locked, so the vibration may have meant it slowly turned itself around and flew off...let's hope no one was hit be it on the M9! Got that solved, only to encounter the early stages of having an old battery. Thought at first I was flooding the cab engine on starting, but it was, it turned out just low power. By the time I got to the Lake District, and Dovedale Valley, I awoke in the morning to find she would be as flat as a camping-stove pancake!

View towards Dove Crag, Hart Crag and Fairfield Peak

I awoke the morning of my first sleep-over in Maude fully rested and able to look at one of my first views...the cracking Dovedale Valley!

My bedroom window, on my first morning at Sykeside, Dovedale Valley

First Breakfast! Omelette on the stove..

Having begun to explore filling the water tank, switching the gas on, cooking breakfast, and just generally getting used to my new home I did some painting (I will post some examples soon) and was ready for the next step. Turn on the engine...nothing! Cue help from fellow campers. They were not surprised, as this was quite a common thing apparently. The security chap in Sykeside Camping site, who was quite bald, laughingly said he was surprised by my apparent calmness, as he felt he would be tearing his hair out had he any left! However, for some reason I felt quite calm (having had my panic attack earlier after temporarily losing my keys!) Now was the time to take people's advice and go with the flow of working out Maude's niggles, and trusting in the help of strangers! Very important.

Several jump-starts later, during the final treck down and locating a suitable garage, where the battery would be replaced, the niggle was nicely ironed out, and I was ready for my first stint at volunteering at the Manjushri Kadampa Buddhist Meditation Centre, during its Summer Festival. This would become a challenging step for me, as I began to experience collaborative working on art objects in their studio. More on that in later posts, but suffice to say that I was immediately met by the most warm-hearted and friendly people I have ever met, including Charlie and Karen, who would become my friends during my stay here over the next 3 weeks.
Karen and Charlie, on one of our evening strolls along the beach

Karen and Charlie are great people who I am incredibly grateful to have met during this first significant step on the journey, and who have increased my faith and trust in people in our world, and this would help me to  open myself to more people later on.

Sunset along Morecombe Bay near Bardsea Cumbria

Tuesday, 12 July 2016

What we leave behind

This is written, remembering the events of the last evening in the house I lived in for nearly 11 years. The last couple of months have been filled with planning, organisation, downsizing and endless trips to charity shops and the recycling centres. How much can one person accumulate in just a few years? Too much of course!

Letting go of stuff is freeing though, and its something I have really begun to enjoy. The emotional attachment to some of the objects are surprisingly resilient though. And the countless tasks of arrangement, re-organisation, notification, switching off, diverting...they keep you distracted to what really is happening.

A building sense of loss.

Home no longer, and always home

Tonight, with a wee, and rare toast with whisky, I said goodbye to both the house, and to a few treasured objects of quite intense sentimental value. Each with a tight hold over me, and drenched in the affection and love I had for the people who had given them to me.

I put them in a box, and stared at them for some time. Sat down, took them out again, then replaced them, and then walked away again, with heightened agitation. And then, with little ceremony, and with a slightly distracted, and unconscious and autopilot style of action, I took a trowel out of the shed, and quickly, buried them in the garden.

The wave of emotion that swept across me then was a bit unexpected. Grief for the loss of people in my life who were attached to these objects, as well as a feeling of loss for others around me, who I was leaving. And no, it wasn't the whisky! Though that action did make me stop. It made me set down all the tasks, the things in my mind, filling up all my spare memory, thoughts and feelings, and I sat in the armchair in the shed and wept. It made me set these things down more permanently, though however impermanently.

A place for just being

I toasted my late father then, who had died the same year I bought the house. It all became mixed together at once, with the knot pulled tight. I looked at the hedges that my mother and I had cut after visiting Ireland that first year after dad died, that had strangely made us both feel much better after a difficult journey. And to enjoy the cup of tea all the more afterwards. I looked at the kitchen window at the improvements I had orchestrated. I thought about the different parties held there with friends and family, and a particular sweetheart who had spent many a day there with me. I thought about the laughs and the arguments. I looked at the wall that had forever worried me until I got it repaired (I can think about doing a task for so long without actually doing it...I sometimes just stop looking at it).

Before it got too much of course, the feelings thankfully dissipated. A deep breath, and a sigh, and then, ever practical, a thought that I should really have my dinner. My last in this house. My home. No longer. Now it's on to new things, with new stuff, and new boxes to put things in. Just smaller boxes.

Small precious treasures and memories in the box from my friend Anita, and special necessities from Mhairi and Megan, the two lovely girls down the road, and both of whom I will miss.

Capturing memories and the box of necessities

With help and kindness from Anita and Graham, I have a place to lay my head whilst I wait for Maude to get herself ready (Maude really does take time to make her appearance - her perogative I suppose, but really)!

Anita Sauvage, my art coach, has over the years helped this artist to grow and take risks with her superb coaching skills, and I am always in her debt. We are who we are because of the people we know, and many people have helped me over the years. I truly believe that I would not be where I am now, and making this journey at all if it wasn't for the coaching skills of Anita.

My friend and coach, Anita Sauvage

In the journey of discovering new horizons, meeting new people, and expanding my opportunities, I also sense that home is not just a physical place, but is always with us, no matter where we go. That continued returning home.