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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!!!!


Sunday, 9 February 2020

A fresh start.


Oooh, that feels sooo good. A new start and the freedom to talk from the heart. The old blog had a few followers from my private life and I don't care to share my thoughts with them so this is a compromise without losing all of the stories that led me to this point in my life.  Thank you to everyone who left a comment and thank you for sticking with me and my sporadic posting!

Today the wind is howling outside and I'm watching the old cherry tree as it tilts ever closer to the ground. It may not come down this time, but I know it's days are numbered. I'm sad as it's beautiful, but ever practical, I'm thinking of all that lovely firewood!  We'll replace it with an apple as the old apple trees are also falling one by one!

I managed to watch an episode of Gardeners World on Friday night and Monty was talking about Espalier apple trees. I'm in love! I think I'll have a couple alongside the Potager and they'll be the perfect height for the horses to grab as they walk past, haha :D


So why did I choose Woodwife as my new blog name? If you look it up online, the definition varies from sweet woodland spirit to dangerous hag! Well, I guess I can see both aspects in myself but mostly my reason is because of my passion for the woods and this beautiful land we live in. I walk the woodlands every day with our dogs and it renews me and fills me with peace while taking away the noise in my head. I find it so healing and magical here <3





Wednesday, 5 February 2020

Silence.

I've been living with silence for some time and enjoying the peace of writing in my journal for myself. I want to blog again and I want to read blogs, but I'm finding a huge lack of will to put my words 'out there'!

Facebook has become such a toxic place full of criticism and forceful opinions. I was recently told that I was very negative, based on a couple of Brexit posts I shared. The person hadn't taken the time to read any of my other posts and it basically shut me down!

I feel that the way forward now is to change this blog name and re-shape my writing, with it being more for me and how I really want to express myself. To do this, I need a new blog name and a new beginning.

Re-naming my blog will mean that I won't be accessable to you all on the old link, I think! So, if you want to stay in touch, message me and I'll give you the new link. I don't want to start yet another new blog as this one holds a lot of history about how I came to be in France, starting my life over. However, I really do want to leave certain things and people behind, so if I move on at all, it will be in a new place :D

Sunday, 1 December 2019

Don't look back!

I have to say a heartfelt 'good riddance' to November! What a thoroughly horrible month!!!

I stood in our field a couple of nights ago and the sight of the new moon filled me with absolute relief that the month had come to an end and a new one was beginning! I had a good cry and then walked around the farm in the dark thanking my blessings for what I have here and now in my hands.

November was a month of confrontations and saying goodbye to toxic relationships. I wish people had walked away with grace, but there were some unpleasant scenes, most notably from the two women who turned up at a Christmas fair and verbally attacked me. I looked at one and wondered how I'd ever considered her a friend, the other I never liked!

Moving here has stirred up a lot of emotions for people who knew me before, resentment seems to be the big cause. Facebook is another, I fear. Of course I mostly talk about the good things that are happening, who on earth wants to read about how difficult it is to force myself out of bed some days. I'll say that I have a cold when in fact my body has seized up so much that I'm hobbling around until nearly lunchtime because I don't want to bring people down with my pain. Of course, that backfired when I cancelled a lunch date and was reminded that I  'Only had a cold'!!!

People are very odd and for now I'm happy to be without friends, especially as I seem to be lousy at picking or keeping them! It's fine all the time you behave the way they want you to, but the minute you say no, well, that's when it kicks off!!!  I'm trying not to feel lonely but I'm missing my children immensely. What I have realised is that in my rush to avoid missing them I made some bad friend choices, but that won't happen again!

I've been in the studio a lot lately and it's the perfect antidote to drama :D




Monday, 28 October 2019

Dirty Paws.

What a day I had today!

All night Sunday, and I really mean all night, I worked on a painting in my head. The composition, the layout, the creatures. I slept, but woke up exhausted. After feeding the animals, I noted some were off colour again, but nonetheless, I headed for the studio, mulling over my problems while I sketched. The main character just flowed, others not so much and I rubbed out one fox/wolf/coyote three times, it just looked like no animal I was happy with. I began to get annoyed, then Dexter started playing the inside/outside game that cats are so good at! He sat on the sketchpad and then walked across the laptop, setting the images flickering again. I threw him out, gently, but out all the same.

This is the kind of anarchy I have to deal with!!!
As usual, he is unrepentant!

I had radio 4 on and the interviewer was talking such utter dribble that my temper was rising, I gave up on the sketching for a bit and went inside to make a cuppa. Suddenly I realised that the rain had stopped and I rushed back out to rug up Toffee and Jerry who were clearly struggling in the unrelenting rain that has been with us all weekend.
I managed to put together a seclusion paddock so that the poorly ponies can have special treatment without the healthy ones pushing in and taking over. It's near on impossible rugging a nervous horse with several other silly idiots all vying for my attention. A game of shove between big horses and ponies is not something to be stuck in the middle of! Jerry thanked me with a big wave of muddy slurry up the back of my legs but Toffee at least was grateful and Jerry had stopped shivering, so it was all worth it.
I finally had my cup of Earl Grey with lunch and managed half a dozen acceptable animal sketches using my big old trusty laptop, I do love it. Then, I just had time to feed the horses their supper, grab my dear man and take to the woods with the dogs. It was getting dark by the time we got back but the chickens weren't quite ready for bed so I made a steaming mug of mulled wine and sipped it by the fire while I thawed out!

So here is what I'm working on,  Dirty Paws by Of Monsters and Men.

I won't reproduce all the lyrics as I don't have permission, but you can look them up on Google. This song has so much meaning for me as it always reminded me of my son's beautiful cat Tokhi. She was born in my wardrobe, on my favourite jumper, she was tiny but fierce and we called her warrior cat. She was often dirty from fighting, so when Dirty Paws was released, I used to sing it to her. One day 5 years ago she didn't come home. I'm only ready now to tackle this project.

'Her dirty paws and furry coat
She ran down the forest slope
The forest of talking trees
They used to sing about the birds and the bees
The bees had declared a war
The sky wasn't big enough for them all
The birds, they got help from below
From dirty paws and the creatures of snow'

Sunday, 27 October 2019

Crikey!

Three posts in one weekend, have I broken my writing slump? I hope so. I much prefer blogging to most other social media, although I do like browsing Instagram when my brain is tired.

So last nights dinner was so good that I almost forgot to take pictures of the cooked pizza!
This is how mine started, totally loaded!
 I only ate half and then remembered to take a picture! I'll have the rest for lunch today. My pizzas always remind me of the joke about the Dalai Lama. Sorry if you've heard it before.
The Dalai Lama goes into a pizza restaurant and says 'make me one with everything', hehe, simple jokes always get me!
 I had enough dough to make a small loaf for todays breakfast. It's not cooked in this picture! My lovely man is making a cooked breakfast, it's a new Sunday tradition. It's not always a full english, it just depends on how we feel. Today we have kidneys from the lamb we bought from a farmer friend, tomatoes from our neighbour and eggs from our chickens. Food miles about 5 for the lamb!
Sundays are always so quiet here as everything shuts down for a day of rest. In the bigger towns some shops open until lunchtime, but we flatly refuse to get into that routine of last minute this and that! We shop once a week or fortnight only and that's usually because we're low on cat food!

Edited to add: Our breakfast.

I hadn't realised we were having a sausage and as that came from England, food miles out of the window, haha :D

Have a lovely peaceful day all.x

Saturday, 26 October 2019

Trash tonight!!!

What a difficult few weeks it's been but, slowly, and with optimism the mojo is returning :D
So when my lovely man asked if it was trash night tonight, I readily agreed. I'd gotten the dates all muddled on the other post anyway, just a product of an over bothered mind, I suppose!

It's not really trash, but it's a treat for us anyway, so we're having loaded pizzas. Usually I just make bread for breakfasts and sandwiches, so pizzas get left behind. Today though, we're out of bread, it's been raining since four pm and I've been in the kitchen.

I didn't even get to the woods for the firewood, instead I started collecting chestnuts and was interupted by neighing from a neighbouring field. Odd, I thought, sounds very close to be the far off neighbours horse! Then my boys started calling back and my suspicions grew. I went to have a look and sure enough, Flash The Naughty was in another field, not ours! 20 minutes later and order was restored but the rain was coming down in sheets! I quickly filled the bucket with chestnuts, helped by Dexter on my shoulder, sheltering in my hood, and struggled back to the house to unload. Dexter had gone in search of dinner and I had a long lie down with the kitten <3


Have I mentioned how much I love the kitten?  All of my animals are very special and have a huge place in my heart, but the kitten just gives me such a warm and fuzzy feeling <3

Tomorrow I'll share pictures of our dinner :D