I’ve had a really chunky break away from writing but now I’m back and hoping to update this blog as frequently as I used to.
We have finally bought a house. The house we finally bought took a verrrrry lonnnnnng time to find. It has been six and a half years since we sold our house in London and began to rent houses instead while we figured out what we wanted/needed to buy.
We have moved house SIX times since leaving London and have lived in some incredible places, meeting amazing people along the way but we were beginning to wonder if we would ever find somewhere that we could make a permanent home. Our eldest kids were at their 6th primary school and our youngest daughter is just four years old but was living in her fifth home. The amount of effort in terms of energy, time and cash we spent on each move as well as all the hours internet trawling between each move for suitable places to live were beginning to take their toll on this family’s happiness and health.
Since leaving London we have radically altered our perception of the way the world works and our place within the ecosystems of this beautiful spherical spaceship we reside upon.
We know now that the huge century long bubble of economic growth we were lucky enough to be born into has had huge detrimental effects on the soils, waterways, ancient forests, species and human communities of the planet.
We know also that the growth was founded on seemingly bottomless reserves of mineral deposits taken from the Earth which are now all but gone and imaginary money.
It is my husband’s and my understanding of this, which makes us look to the future and realise that the modern western society we reside in will change – perhaps so slowly that nobody really notices until they look back from the other end of their life or perhaps with a series of sudden ‘shocks’.
He and I both now strive to become more independent from modern systems such as just in time grocery deliveries to stores, the electric grid, fossil fuel heating systems by growing and raising more of our own foodstuffs, having our own renewable energy supplies, being connected in our (new) local community, by having practical skills and by using up far less planetary resources than we did a decade ago when we lived in London.
The house we have opted for is in the centre of a small English market town near to the border with Wales which has a train station to connect us to further bigger places. It stands in gardens of nearly and acre which are a little overgrown but includes a mini orchard, a huge ancient pond, some outbuildings. The house is a modern(ish), quirky, well insulated south facing one with plenty of space inside for all of us and with lots of windows looking out over the gardens. It is fairly near to the patch of woodland and pasture land we bought with our pension but not walking distance. We are close to the beautiful Shropshire Union canal, the surrounding countryside is extremely fertile and productive farmland and is farmed by families who have worked the land for many generations.
We have started to meet people and make friends locally through the local Transition Towns group, by shopping locally at the towns’ independent shops, by employing local skilled craftsmen & craftswomen to help modify the house, by being active on the local Freecycle group and by becoming a Friend of the Town Hall (which is a very special art gallery, film/theatre, school holiday workshops, community kitchen and market place rolled into one).
The trusty 13kW log burner which has been installed and uninstalled from the last few rented houses was finally fitted into its new home yesterday after weeks of hard graft from a team of talented people and lit today which has been a day of sub-zero temperatures. My well-traveled stash of bags and bags of second hand, thickly lined curtains have been hung in the windows and I have unpacked boxes of photos which have not seen the light of day for many a long year.
By moving to this property in this town with the woodland a short journey away some very major goals have been met for our family and we are looking forward to focusing on the next phase of our lives: improving our permaculture and gardening skills, our woodland management skills, our homesteading skills, our craft skills, our community building skills, our income generation skills and our health and happiness.
I look forward to recording the minutae of our progress here on this blog and will be most happy to hear from anyone who may be reading about it and/or doing similar things to us.