Friday, 24 April 2015

Flying From Caravans - Coming Soon To A Blog Roll Near You

Dear Yorkshireland,

It's been a while. I should write more often.

My motivation ker-splattered from 10 down to 1 last month. As quickly as I realised flying was not my thing. Off the caravan roof, as we do, or not - thinking I was some kind of plastic hand podded spider with the ability to skim walls, whilst armed with a bucket of soapy water, only to realise my four grips were nothing more than arthritic rusty bone pads, and with feet as clumsy as the greatest entertainer in town. But I'm okay. I-am-okay. Even though Frank's echoed laughter made a pigeon leave her nest in fright. And the chickens scream like they had just popped out an egg. Anyway, the potted leg and morphine infusions are helping me think up all sorts of interesting vocabulary for this blog post. But that is just part of our journey. A miniscule, tennie-weenie drop in the ocean of 'what the flip have we done', and 'whose idea was this anyway' attitude.

About my coping mechanism:

After writing, re-writing, and finally completing our last book, the first edition of Breakfast On The Patio, it really was hard work. of those things when you cannot possibly know the effort needed until you have to complete the task for yourself. A little like when you develop empathy for a friend who broke her leg because you too did a similar thing years ago, and understand the agony of shuffle-bottoming along the stone floor before reaching for the nearest door handle to reach up and click on the electric kettle for a cup of tea.

It's not only the writing, editing and publishing the book, but finally finishing our cottage renovation. Hurray! That was the real hard work. ...and, I felt Frank deserved a Trophy. Yes, I tried to help, but I haven't the skill nor strength to do the jobs he did to turn this old place into our beautiful home.

It was a little like the way I fell from the top of our caravan roof. (I mean, why we decided to buy a caravan in the first place and plonk it on our driveway surpasses me, really! As if we are ever going to get time to go anywhere! Really! I mean, we already need to spend at least 4 full days on the garden to stop it from swallowing up the cottage. It's a serious thing this learning to live with Mother Nature lifestyle. A true compromise and acceptance.)

As we put away the last of our paint brushes, Frank and I deflated like old party balloons. After working from dawn to dusk, sitting down and doing nothing feels odd.

Next, all we needed was a structured routine for our keep-up-with-honeysuckle-cottage-or-she-will-take-over-our-lives weekly plan. And being autistic, I love structures and plans. So, I think we are going to be okay.

Oh yes, I thought I would try and fix the caravan roof skylight windows. Mistskes happen. Dad always taught me to be independent, so having a go at window fixing seemed like a sensible idea at the time. I just wanted to put a bit of thick black plastic pond liner over the top of the leaking window and tuck it into the sides to stop rain from leaking through. It was a confident and imaginative idea, and I thought nothing more about it. I made a plan in my head, got the ladder out and climbed up there. It's just, as always, my imagination didn't match the reality and fragility of my rusty bones, and I lost my grip, broke my ankle, cracked my ribs and pulled my shoulder. But that was last year. My bones healed well. It's still a little painful - a nagging reminder of a silly crusade.

Writing about our journey is rewarding:

It was fantastic to see our story of escaping to the countryside in print. We got articles in the Lincolnshire Echo, Skegness Standard and Louth Leader newspapers. Oh, and a nice lady reporter came to our cottage for the afternoon. I gave her a copy of our book, we made her some sandwiches and cake, then took her for the guided tour. She wrote a lovely review on Amazon. And guess what? It's still for sale through Richard Kay Books and Lincolnshire Life.

Maggie and her partner Nathan are fine. Yes, and your new great-grandson Oliver, is fine too! Oh he is so gorgeous isn't he? Two year old's certainly know how to keep you busy. He's still not sleeping through the night. Wait until he gets a bit older and he can help me feed our hens and pick out vegetables from our garden. The fresh countryside air and a bit of gardening with grandad will help him sleep, bless him.

When we first moved here, I worried so much that Maggie wouldn't settle down in the countryside. Remember, she was 16? I can't believe she's nearly 24 now. Pushing her to get that job in the local town helped her to make lots of new friends. It's didn't take long for Maggie to find a boyfriend either. Nathan is okay, they seem to have a good relationship. They make good parents, don't they?

Because I spent most of last year hobbling about with the pot on my leg, our 1/4 acre garden got neglected. I hardly planted any veggies at all. My tomatoes got that blight thing and I had to throw them away. Our beans didn't like the brisk coast winds and our poor old giant bramley apple tree blew down in the gales. I never imagined Frank and I could cry over a tree. Or maybe it was the months of effort it took to clear up the mess after it lay right across our hotbeds and the greenhouse. It was that one tree that Kitty got stuck up on the first day we moved here, bless her. Oh the memories - funny how it's easier to remember the chuckles from a tough time?

We're planning on having a far better year this 2015. Even though Frank was ill for a short time in January, he still managed to shout at the countryside when something annoyed him. He had a bug. It took a while to shift. We could have done with a few harsh frosts to kill off all the nasty bugs. But, for the past two winters, the cold weather hasn't been all that bad. In fact, our garden still has remnants of summer flower from last year. Lobella, petunia and even runner beans! Tiny little pansies have reseeded and are growing all about the place. They look very pretty. I might get out the flower press and make a few cards.

Now we've finished the almighty renovation at Honeysuckle Cottage, published our book, and feel confident at growing our own fashion of fruit and vegetables, it's time to move on. I think it's time to write another book, maybe a Breakfast On The Patio 2? I can't wait to tell you about how I cured a rescue hen who had a bad case of scaly leg!!! (Please don't laugh, but I've learned so much about keeping hens over the years, I was chuffed to bits when I helped her get better. Franks thinks it would have been easier to put her out of her misery, but with patience, I made her better.) I'd like to write about Percy too and how we rescued him from a drain. And the ducks who visit us every day.

We finished filling the greenhouse today. I don't think we can get much more inside there. So far we have peppers, tomatoes, beans, cucumbers and basil (this herb always makes the greenhouse smell lovely).

Anyway, I'd better go now. I promised Jack I would take him for his regular walk up the lane. It's nearly dark now, and if we are quiet we might see the badgers and owls again. Last night we saw a fox. How wonderful it is being so close to nature.

Speak soon, take care.

Love you both lots.

Best wishes,

Sheila and Frank
Honeysuckle Cottage

p.s. I promise not to leave it so long before I write next time!

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Flying From Caravans - Coming Soon To A Blog Roll Near You

Dear Yorkshireland, It's been a while. I should write more often. My motivation ker-splattered from 10 down to 1 last month. As quick...