Those that follow my blog, know that a house move has been on the cards for some time. It finally happened at the beginning of May. The job of packing up the last house was vast. There were 4 floors, 2500sq ft, a full cellar, roof space, big shed and my studio too. I needed to pack everything myself as I was moving to nearly half the size, so a massive declutter was on the cards, and only I could do that. It consumed almost a month.
STARTING TO PACK MY STUDIO
On moving day I had fantastic help from two very kind friends. They kept me calm and sane, made endless tea for the removal men, packed the last bits, wiped the fridge and attempted to clean my oven, swept and hoovered floors, and each transported two chickens in their cars while I transported one traumatised cat. By the time the kids arrived home from school the new house was already looking like home. Sofas strewn with with cushions, lights and TV on to make it welcoming. The boys had requested celebratory fish and chips for tea. They washed it down with lemonade while the grown ups washed it down with celebratory fizz.
THE WISTERIA CLAD FRONT
The next day, another friend pitched in to paint the boys bedrooms, while they were off at a party for the day. It's amazing what a transformation a fresh coat of white paint can make. I am so lucky to have such amazing friends.
One of the very special things about this house is at the bottom of the garden. Magically, a 'river' runs past. Strictly speaking, it's not actually a river. It is a man-made waterway that was dug a few hundred years ago to take fresh drinking water to Hampton Court Palace, but looking across to the opposite bank, and the waving willows, you would be forgiven for thinking it was a completely natural waterway.
THE BOYS SETTING OFF TO EXPLORE IN THE BEACH DINGY PADDLING WITH SPADES!
CHILLING WITH A COPY OF THE BEANO
We have fallen in love with our new house. I miss my studio, but apart from that I don't really miss the last house one bit. (Though I do miss my amazing neighbours.) I am relishing in the fresh start.
Being here feels like being on holiday. I'm sure it helps that we have moved just as we are turning the corner towards Summer, as we have already had several barbecues and love being in the garden as there is so much to see.
MR & MRS SWAN AND THEIR SIX CYGNETS
I have set up my workbench in a room that was once a garage, but was converted into a room by the last owners. I had planned to build a new studio in the garden, but am seeing advantages to having my workbench in the house. When I was married, I used to be able to go down to my garden studio in the evening to work, but as a single mum I would often end up working at the dining table in the evening for the night shift. Down the garden feels a million miles away from children in bed, so I am taking my time deciding what to do, because the money I save by not building one would certainly be put to good use on the new kitchen and bathroom that this place needs.
VIEW FROM MY WORKBENCH OF THE APPLE TREE AND THE RIVER BEYOND IT.
And now, the animals have settled in like the humans. The chickens have found good dust bathing spots, and the cat has a routine for heading out adventuring and coming back and meowing to be let in. (A cat flap is on the to-do list.) I did think one of my hens had been unsettled with the move and had stopped laying, but today while we were eating supper in the sunshine, I spotted these under a bush in the border...
A SECRET CLUTCH OF HENS EGGS LAID BY MRS PECKY IN THE BORDER
THE BUNTING WAS A HANDMADE HOUSEWARMING GIFT FROM ANOTHER LOVELY FRIEND
I feel so elated to be here, starting the next phase of my life. The fresh start has certainly left me invigorated. I am finally catching up with some overdue orders that became late because the move took so much more out of me than I could have imagined. It's lovely to have a new efficient internet connection, and to wake up in the morning to fresh on-line orders. I am happy customers have stuck by me, even though I haven't been on line so much for the last couple of months.
For now I will leave you with some of the distractions I face during my working day. There is the coot's nest that I check on daily to see how it has grown, and see what building materials Mr Coot has brought Mrs Coot to craft into her expanding home. Ducks that came to torment the chickens that had been put away for the night (cheeky)...
...and best of all, a garden visit from the swans. They munched some of the cauliflower leaves I had given to the chickens.
I think we are going to be very happy here.