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Country Living Two Months in

Last night I forgot to close the blind on the skylight above my bed. It’s one of my favourite things about our new house, the huge skylight, you can just see it in the picture above.  Although I have to dip my head to get out of bed without hitting the sloped roof, the views over the surrounding countryside are amazing.

I woke up in the middle of the night and there was The Plough, shining down on me so brightly. When I woke up I wondered if I had dreamt it at first, the sparkling points of the saucepan shape were so vivid. 

It reminded me of when my Mum taught me to identify The Plough when I was little, I wrote about it here in my first ever Little Legacy, after she died. She taught me I could always find my place in the world by looking at the stars, and she was right. Maybe it was the bottle of elderflower champagne I drank last night that unlocked more thoughts of her. Mum used to make it and passed me the recipe, but this bottle was made by a wonderful friend who also recently lost her Mum. We’d been messaging each other, sharing little legacies.

I’ve been surprised by how long it takes to feel at home in a new house this time. Perhaps it is to do with having kids, or having been in the last house a decade. I don’t remember feeling quite so at sea. Most of the time I do feel at home, and I certainly don’t want to move back to the old house, but I do get moments where I feel like I am just staying here temporarily. I still have to fumble for light switches and I don’t know how lots of things work yet. I wonder when the roots will truly form, the garden is a great marker, this was when we moved in, the potatoes and peas are now fully grown.

Yesterday was two months since we moved to the edge of the Peak District. I really thought I would write about that more, maybe I will, but on reflection, it’s been a very busy time. When we got to the end of the school term, the kids’ first half term in a new school, I realised how much energy that had expended. So much perhaps, that I was ill in the last week and spent a week on the sofa watching The Handmaid’s Tale – I highly recommend both the series and the pre school holiday relaxation.

I don’t normally share my kids’ school achievements here, but I can’t believe what a success of a half term it has been. Both schools, old junior school and new village primary have been great in different ways, but sometimes a change is as good as a rest and they seem to have flung themselves into everything and left some baggage behind too. The differences in them both are pretty incredible. We’re ready for a summer together now, to relax and celebrate.

When I look in the rather rambling garden I’m reminded how much I have to learn, but also how much I know already and how much I have managed to pull off. There are tomatoes and peppers and basil growing in the greenhouse, admittedly just a couple of plants, but it is a start. There is lettuce, kale, peas and potatoes in the veg patch. I’ve lost a plant here and there, and my deadheading of the flower beds has been far too sporadic. Every time people visit I end up exhausted by their talk of the things that need doing. I know they mean well. On the whole though, we’ve kept on top of it, the lawn mowing especially. The honeysuckle was my first victim, that or it just finished flowering early…

The house looks nothing like it did when we visited for viewings. There are still to be organised pictures and ornaments everywhere which I really just want to give to charity – some things just don’t work here. Our family stuff is now spread everywhere and it’s a rambling house to keep on top of. My Dad and I lost each other yesterday, him sat in one room, me in another because we have two staircases in these conjoined cottages, and he hadn’t heard me come down. I realised we hadn’t cleaned the small shower room once in two months last week. I had forgotten it existed until the shower in the main bathroom broke. Our washing is always hung up above the Rayburn in the kitchen. But I absolutely love it here.

We’ve dealt with the stress demons of the pre move era too. We’ve both had tonsillitis twice and my wisdom teeth have been causing me angst for a week now. But in-between that I’ve managed to get back into twice weekly running, and find new dog and running routes. Despite the time off with illness and relocating, work seems to be going well.

We’ve dealt with life and death more here in the country. Watching fledgling birds, startling pheasants who have crept into the garden. We’ve held a funeral for a rabbit that we found dead on the lawn. And two young blackbirds who crashed into the greenhouse. I’ve bought special stickers now to try and prevent that happening. A bird nest full of dead birds fell on my head in the shed one day. I am definitely getting over my phobia of dead animals.

We’ve also seen fledglings fly the nest, and welcomed all kinds of amazing birds to the garden, keeping them fed and watered. We’ve watched field mice playing in the garden wall. We’ve fished in the pond and named the largest fish, a carp, Jaws. Although you never quite know what animal might appear, dead or alive, I still feel a massive sense of peace being here in so much nature.

We’ve hosted my friends from Uni, the kids’ old and new friends and over the summer Mr A’s friends are visiting. We’ve worked out how that all works and fallen back in love with entertaining. It’s easier here.

But one thing we don’t seem to be moving forwards with is renovating this, maybe I will do a whole post on it next time?



  1. 27/07/2017 / 10:04 am

    OH wow, Penny, your home and garden is so beautiful. You made me laugh, forgetting the other shower room and losing your Dad in the other wing! Hopefully you will continue to feel better – You have done so much. Can’t believe you have successfully grown veg in your short time there x

  2. 27/07/2017 / 11:58 am

    So lovely to read how you are getting on and as you know always love hearing about your Mum and the little legacies. Funnily enough we were talking about space last night so I feel bonded with you on that score now too. I love how we have both made major relocations and count yourself lucky because we move again to our hopefully long term house in just 6 weeks or so. Having said that I love our little house here and will miss it lots. It feels like it cuddles us that makes sense. I am in awe of anyone who grows things in the garden. I find it hard to discover a love for the work involved so hats off to you on that one. So pleased the children are well and revelling in their new place.

  3. babybudgeting
    29/07/2017 / 8:32 pm

    it is so so lovely!

  4. 29/07/2017 / 9:13 pm

    Your health is certainly showing signs that the the stress of moving can be too much for us sometimes eh. Emotionally and physically. Sounds like you’re on the mend though if you’re managing 2 weekly runs : those hills!!! Happy to be following your journey and slightly envious although don’t think I’m quite ready to give up city life just yet. Enjoy the summer break!

  5. 16/01/2018 / 7:20 pm

    Oh Penny I am just catching up on all this, The house is gorgeous. I love the little hut and the old Aga. I can’t wait to read more

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