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Tuesday, 20 October 2020

I bought a harp!

Ibought this little beauty a month ago and have been so anxious waiting for her to arrive. I can play a little bit, but now I have more strings to practice fully. I'm very happy. Yes, I should have bought a new mattress for our bed, but hey ho!!!

I probably won't get much alone time with my harp until after school half term as we have students for  2 weeks, but I may have a little play when everyone has gone to bed. I'm not really up to performing to an  audience and listening to scales gets old real fast!

Our student this week  is a little poppet and so extremely helpful. He is wonderful with the animals and has an apptitude for art. I'm having such fun. I hope next weeks student is as good, but I doubt I'll be that lucky! Fingers crossed.

My post in the summer about the students was really quite grumpy but I was in pain and life was getting me down a bit. Well, me and the rest of the world, I expect!!!

I am moving into a new phase with my beloved Manchee and I'm being taught a huge lesson in acceptance!

He is struggling as he's getting older and has developed arthritis in a front leg. I suspect it's from a fall when we first arrived at this house. He tried to jump off the conservatory roof to chase Dexter who at that time was still quite feral. I'm learning to adapt how I go out and let Manchee be the guide to how far we walk. It's not easy seeing a valued and loved fur baby getting older, but I suspect Manchee still has quite a bit of mileage left <3

 I've spent the whole day painting and teaching and I even managed to squeeze in a little baking. These boys need to keep their strength up and I'm exhausted just trying to keep up with him, lol!


 

 

 

 

 

Sunday, 18 October 2020

I fixed my phone, YAAY :D


My hair was getting sooo long that it took two days to dry and by then it was ready to wash again! I chopped it all off and then went to an actual hairdresser, lol! We were chatting and I kept saying 'yeah a bit more...' and then suddenly it was a bit too short! Never mind, it will grow back :D

 

So I'm hoping to be back to normal blogging and so sorry for losing touch with everyone.x

Sunday, 30 August 2020

A better blogger

 I hope I can be a better blogger this Autumn.

This year has been such a rollercoaster and my emotions have been so up and down and I'm sure I'm not alone in feeling this.

We were hosts this summer to French students learning to speak English. It was extremely hard work having these, sometimes difficult, teenagers in our home. One girl clearly didn't understand very much and I spent more time talking French than I ever have before. That wasn't the point of having her here, they're supposed to learn by immersion in an english speaking home, but she was getting so depressed by not understanding anything that I had to translate constantly. 

Now I'm feeling emotionally exhausted and can't quite decide where to focus my energy next. We need to be looking at our businesses and different ways of earning money. Due to the virus our Gite has stood empty all year, and I'm not even sure I'll want visitors next year! 

I need to rediscover what it is that gets me started in the morning and where my inspiration comes from. That's not easy at the moment as I've hurt my back so badly that I can barely move without looking like a 99year old.  So I'm off to find myself, albeit slowly and with caution :D


Sunday, 12 July 2020

Growing up in the 70's

There's been a resurgence in films and series set in the 70's and 80's for a while now and while I mostly emjoy the nostalgia, the memories are bitter sweet. Maybe they are for most of us remembering our younger years!

I've been planting up the flower garden in front of the house and found some little pots of 'Pinks' in the local supermarket. As I planted them, the scent reminded me of a strong memory from my youth and the bouquet of pinks I carried at my cousins wedding.

I was 11 and had finally, at last, been asked to be a bridesmaid, something I'd wanted for so long as so many of my friends had shown off photos of their own happy days at school. I was slim with very long blonde hair and I had every intention of being a perfect princess. The day started with a trip to the hairdresser where my hair was to be adorned with a multitude of flowers, I was sooo excited. Once I was sure no scissors were involved I relaxed into the pampering of many women. I opened my eyes and actually cried in the chair. I had a freaking massive beehive studded with a million pink silk daisies. So many of the 'lovely' women including my mum and the bride herself convinced me that I looked great, no, beautiful, and I caved in and stopped trying to rip that shit off my head. I left the salon and walked right into a boy from school who laughed so much that he probably wet himself, serves him right!

I spent the day looking like a 50 year old bar lady (Rovers Return, for the Brits) in a long pink tutu! I went to bed and left the monstrosity in place just to see how long it held and there was so much hairspray on that helmet that I woke up looking like a blonde Marg Simpson!

Sunday night, I pulled out every single one of the 100 pins holding the mess in place and my hair fell in a cascade of curls down my back. Just how I should have looked on that horrid day! I went to school the next day, a fair, tousled Kate Bush and not a single boy laughed!

Isn't it amazing how a simple scent can bring back such a vivid array of memories. All of this went through my head as I planted my garden!

This is the border before the hard work. It's been seriously neglected for a couple of years as the house and then the Potager took priority.
 Empty of weeds and a top dressing of store bought compost it was ready to be planted. Some pale pink and blue perrenials and some wild flowers were added to tone down the bright pink roses. Whilst the colour of the roses is a little too electric for me, their scent is intoxicating, hence the addition of cool blues and soft pinks. The Rosemary and sage at the front are our favourite kitchen herbs so I added some Tarragon and chives for culinary use.

I'll share another picture as soon as it all starts to fill out. I've also planted some mixed wildflowers, but I haven't a clue what's actually grown! I'm hoping the slugs stay off long enough for me to find out!!!


Sunday, 5 July 2020

Catching up.

Good morning and happy Sunday dear bloggers.

I've found that blogging from my phone has it's own challenges, especially as my phone loads the photos any which way it wants!!!

A couple of weeks ago our darling Taliesin developed an enormous abscess on his cheek. This picture was after getting back from the vet who drained the abscess. It quickly filled back up and Talie was in a terrible state. He slept beside us for the entire week he was ill!
A few days into the treatment the abscess exploded!!! The white bedding went straight into the washing machine and Talie went straight into the bath. Mainly because the smell of the blood made me feel so sick and it was all over him! He didn't mind too much because he loves water!
We've been doing a lot of decorating inside the house and finally it was in a nice enough state that I could take a day out to practice painting roses. I love all the roses in my garden, so I really felt the need to paint some. It's a rough start, but I'll get there!
In typical Brittany fashion, last night we had a big power cut just as we were starting supper!
My little fireplace looked so sweet with the candles but you know, it's a pretty ugly surround and it keeps all the heat from the fire inside so very soon, we'll be bashing it out! Our new woodburner is on order and I'm so excited to get a new heating system installed. 
Last winter was grim for me with the fibromyalgia as the house was not only cold but incredibly damp. This year, I'm already knitting lots of woolies to help with outside chores and inside should be lovely and cosy with our fire and back boiler to run the central heating!

I had a lot to say about the world and the state of everything we've been through globally, but right now, my brain is so weary of dealing with what I'm reading on social media. I think that will be another post.

Stay safe friends.x

Saturday, 20 June 2020

Still alive at the Wildewood!

Hey guys, I'm still here but haven't had the heart to blog for so long. My phone refuses to upload pictures to my laptop, so that's put me off from just wordy posts! The solution was suggested by my daughter, blog from my phone. She's brilliant 😍
So, here at last, my little fiber flock have arrived & settled in. They are utterly adorable ❤


We've been working really hard in the house & it's starting to pay off. We're creating cosy little corners in our home & this is my favourite kitchen window. In the winter the cats sit here above the radiator but in the summer it's mine 😍

Tuesday, 21 April 2020

New World.



This is a strange world we're living in at the moment and I have to admit to feeling very insecure. I would love to have called this post Brave New World, but I'm not sure how many of us are feeling that way at the moment. So many people are in denial!

I was back in England just a few days before France closed it's borders and I was very lucky to be on the last ferry back across the channel.
It was a very frightening experience from the moment I first arrived in England and watching with horror the news from my Hotel room. We had been pretty insulated in France as we don't have TV other than Netflix and I don't believe everything I read online either! I felt very alone and vulnerable and hated having to tell my children that my trip might be cut short. I had a message from Brittany ferries to tell me that my return crossing had been cancelled and I was sick with worry at being trapped in England, away from my lovely man and our animals. I can't praise Brittany ferries enough as they reassured me and squeezed me onto the last ferry back to France. It was a horrible ordeal as we were all confined to cabins and given repeated advice and warnings over the loudspeakers. I'm not exagerating when I compare it to a scene from a movie, only this was very real and I was glad that I'd packed sandwiches and a bottle of wine! The wine came in handy when the people in the cabin next to me decided to have a little party! I had a big gulp, got dressed and went and banged on their door. Talk about sheepish!!! I didn't hear another word from them all night and slept like a log!

So what is the future holding for us as we move forwards? I really can't say and our life here has been turned on it's head before it's even begun. We have a little left of our budget but our income from the holiday Gite will not happen this year and as all markets have been suspended I've not been able to sell any of my works either! I have other ideas, but as many people will also have insecure wages, I'm not sure who I'll be selling to! Thankfully we have the farm, our veg seedlings are doing very well and our remaining chickens are still laying, so we won't go hungry. But long term, who knows?

I'm very glad that we moved the horses when we did as not only is it difficult getting their feed, but we need to save as much money as possible.
 

I didn't mean this to be a negative post, just rambling thoughts about the situation at the moment. How is it affecting you all?


Sunday, 8 March 2020

Moving day.

I just have to share a picture of my little Taliesin, he's my Moonheart and means the world to us all <3

It's been a week of animal antics here at Wildewood. The winter has been brutal with constant rain, gailforce winds and an ever growing sea of mud. The horses have honestly had enough (so have the rest of us) and I had to take drastic action or risk losing one or more of them. Does that sound dramatic? Not really when you consider their poor feet are constantly soaking in mud and water and there's an old saying 'no foot no 'oss'!!!

I've written to so many neighbours and begged people in the village but they just don't want to get involved. Maybe they think their paddocks will end up as boggy as ours! One close neighbour stepped in and we used her field for a few months, but we also have the hay she cuts, so we didn't want to ruin the pasture. Finally, an english friend found us the perfect solution. A very rough overgrown piece of land that we can use in return for clearing it and making it good again!
Yesterday was moving day and Bo was first in.

 He and Merlin just settled right away and they looked so happy and content <3
 Benson and Maggie arrived next and Bo had to remind them that he's still the boss!!!
 Jerry and Flash were the third group followed by Toffee (center) who came along with the water trough and spare fence posts. He was not happy to be last at our field and cried pitifully! Jerry let out a neigh of pure joy when Toffee finally arrived and the three amigos were reunited :D (or three stooges!!!)
 Benson is another oldie who looked instantly revived by the gorgeous grass. We have to monitor him though as he does get laminitis! Honestly, sometimes I just can't win!
We got home quite late and of course in Panic Merlin dog had left little pee presents in the kitchen! After cleaning that up  I had a shower and was ready to collapse into the freshly made bed, but my dear man had made pie and chips for supper. To be honest, I was so tired, I barely remember eating it!!!

Tuesday, 25 February 2020

The song of the 'mais oui' bird.

There's a little bird that sits in our birch tree and calls 'mais oui, mais oui' every morning. I'm not sure what bird it is exactly but to greet the day with such a positive affirmation is a good thing.
I talk to myself often, in my head and out loud, I walk through the garden and the potager, feeding the animals and muttering sometimes quite passionately about the state of things. I try to do it alone, as sometimes I feel a bit foolish, lost in my thoughts and in my own head space. It's no small comfort to have this little bird chirp in often with his shriek of agreement 'but yes' he squeeks, and I smile and carry on talking. I expect I'll be making a name for myself soon, if I haven't already! I worry about the world, about my children and other people's children and talking to myself helps me to put things right, into some kind of perspective.

Since looking at how other people live more simply, I've discovered the harp in a big way! I love the idea of sitting alone and just making a little music for myself. I used to try to play the violin, but that was less than relaxing for myself and especially anyone within earshot! So along came the harp and  with it, this band. I adore their music and their passion for life and the world. Please take a look and be ready for something beautiful <3 Also, if you look at their other youtubes, you can see why they appeal to the younger celtic/hippy set (god, I feel old writing that!!!)
Omnia 

I've ordered a cheap little harp online and will collect it when I go to England next month, I'm so excited.
I've also done a thing!!!
I've started the process to buy a little plot of land on the other side of our lake. Eventually it will be somewhere for the horses to have a break and give our fields a rest but it's not going to be cleared in a hurry. I don't want any heavy machinery on the land, I'll be working slowly and carefully as that's how it's been treated so far. It's a little oasis in an intensely farmed area.


The owner planted lots of willow and had made a little natural campsite beside the stream. It's a very special area and I would love to run some healing workshops here. With this in mind, I've enrolled on a psychotherapy counselling course! There are many women here, French and English who seem a little lost and out of touch with the Earth, I know I'm feeling it right now. I hope we can grow closer to the natural world using this haven to recconect to our mother Gaia.
I'll be using the willow for basket making as well as planting some different coloured willows or dogwoods. This has been in my mind for a very long time, so to find somewhere planted with all my needs in mind is more than coincidence, it's the nudge I've been needing to take the next step. I'll also have a large herb garden for medicines and dye plants, using the herbs that are too big or invasive to have at our potager. Saying that, no herb is ever unwelcome if it turns up at Wildewood, but I love the thought of rampant, chaotic abandon  at our little field :D


The caravan is pretty dire and I hope we can do something to make it look better, no, I'm sure we can. It couldn't look uglier or more out of place!!!
 
So today I began the counselling course and fell asleep before the end of the first page, haha, it must be good then :D

Thursday, 13 February 2020

Wrestling!

Does anyone else write their post title first and fit their words around it, or just ramble on and hope a title presents itself later?  I guess I do a bit of both unless I have a very clear view of where I'm going when I sit down to write.

It's been a wrestly few days already in the Wildewood! The painting that I was struggling with was being so very uncooperative and I began flicking paint in a snowy kind of way and almost ruined the whole thing. A  panicky 10 minutes had me wiping and dabbing until most of the damage was undone.
I had a big cup of tea and consulted the work of my dear friend Eric Velhagen. Now, I call him a dear friend for two reasons, 1. he's gorgeous and 2. he wished me happy birthday online last year, swoon! His style is so free and when I get tangled up in the details, I browse his webpage and try to loosen up! Refreshed, I went back to the painting and it would seem that the client likes it. What a relief! She is a very dear person, so this has always been way more than a normal commission and of course I want her to be happy with the result.

Still on the subject of wrestling, I wasn't the only one struggling to sleep last night, another storm raged and Merlin dog was extremely restless. To be honest, he's been like a speed addict for the last 18 hours!!! During the night he leapt out from under the covers and collided with my head more than once and when he wasn't wriggling he was kicking me in the back and stomach! He was either having trouble with the feathers poking him or a dreaded flea was the cause. The bed is now stripped and he is asleep under a blanket, lucky boy! (or something beginning with B!)

So now I'm walking around with gritty eyes and a slightly grumpy demeanour!!! To cheer myself up I contacted our estate agent as we're still hunting for extra land. That may seem extravagent, but the cost of feeding the horses this year would have bought us another field, if only we can persuade people to sell up! The hunt for little Wildewood continues.

Tuesday, 11 February 2020

Thoughtful.

I've watched a couple of you-tubes about an incredible lady called Emma Orbach, please do look her up. I discovered this lady 4years ago, roughly, on a Ben Foggle program about people living in the wilds! Emma had become increasingly dissatisfied with the modern world and changed her life while living in a woodland in Wales. You must hear her tell the story, she's a wonderful story teller.

When I first watched the program I was already contemplating Wales as my next home, but I wanted a conventional life, a farm and all of my animals. My children were coming with me, so we needed a house. However, I re-evaluated my needs and began to see how a version of Emma's lifestyle might suit me better.  Then I met my sweet man and love filled my head and France became our focus. Of course, some of that is because the weather here is far better for my health, yes, it's still pretty damp, but when the sun comes out it's warm and my muscles relax.

However, the reconnection with Emma now has come at a point when I've begun to feel out of sorts and her story has highlighted the reasons.  I've been so caught up with rennovations and stressing to make money while at the same time spending more and more money on the house that I've completely lost touch with why we're here! We came here to change, to leave the hectic world behind, not bring it with us!

So today I've been clearing out for all I'm worth. The car is loaded to the roof and I'm going to the Deschetterie which is a far nicer word for garbage dump!!! I'm on a mission to downsize, de-clutter and re-evaluate EVERYTHING!

I hope to clear out the studio as well and make it simpler, a little haven instead of a headache!

I've also been working in the Potager in between storms and have now made two chestnut wigwams with our own coppiced wood. Little by little I'm working towards a more self-reliant life but the simplicity is what I'm lacking and therefore that's where I'm aiming!
If any of you do look up Emma, please let me know what you think and if you feel as moved by her as I do. Could you live that life?

Monday, 10 February 2020

Stormy!

Storm Ciara has been causing havoc in Brittany as well as Britain and living on a hill we've felt her full force!
The cats have all retreated into the warmth of our solid stone house and although we have no proper heating, they do provide us with cosy neck-warmers, lol!!! Although Piper is making it very hard to type and she loves to stick her butt in my face!!! What is that all about???

Taliesin has made himself totally at home and Finn will cuddle anybody!!!
This is what I'm struggling with this week and I will admit that I hate it! I'm working to a strict brief which if anything has really stilted my creativity! I've changed the horses feet and legs as the snow was obscuring the shape but the problem is the ice! The client wants warmer colours but that doesn't fit with the reference so I've literally ground to a halt! I still need to work on the people in the sleigh instead of leaving them blank!. If it was up to me, I would throw a lot of white paint around and create something a little more impressionist!!! Perhaps I'll be a rebel and do that anyway!!!!