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Country Living Three Months In: Weighing It Up

I read that moving is like a pendulum, with a gradual swing back and forth between old and new, until a new rhythm is found. I was so happy when I read that, as it encapsulates my feelings this last month. It really helped to find a metaphor to help me visualise the emotional comings and goings.

I spent lots of time googling how it really feels to move, reading forums, blogs and Mumsnet threads, often in the dead of night when I couldn’t sleep. So I wanted to continue to share some of my own experiences from the other side here.

I think moving feels more like an old fashioned pair of scales, each time a new friend from our old life visits and then leaves, or one of us has a wobble over something, I feel the slow but sudden drop through the air, as if someone has taken another weight off the scales. It can be a very real sudden sinking feeling and the scales feel like such a perfect metaphor.

It takes another day trip, a new project round the house or garden – gathering plums, making jam, picking fresh peas – to refill the scale with enough weight to rebalance us, or to tip the scales towards our new life.  Gradually over the summer those tipping sensations have become less and less, and eventually a new balance will become the norm, but it is really comforting to visualise the emotional back and forth of our new life as a pair of scales and to know it is totally okay to reach for a weight to compensate for any sinking feelings.

The other big thing to grapple with has been the sense of responsibility, for an older and more complicated house and for more land. There is lots to learn, and when I feel very overwhelmed I have a nasty habit of procrastinating, for fear of getting it wrong or not achieving perfection.

Mr A has thrown himself into it wholeheartedly, initially this made me quite dizzy, and then jealous of all his new tools and skills (the postman delivered an axe last week) and then I realised all he was doing was googling things and learning as he went and realised that trying something and getting it wrong was better than my infuriating state of paralysis. So that day I fell asleep to the sound of You Tube gardening videos and the following day I weeded a gigantic raised bed, I bought new gardening gloves and tools and today I planted more veg. It’s amazing how big the weeds grow when left unchecked, a bit like mental weeds.

Bigger team work has been the order of the day too, I am so grateful for friends and family who have come and helped us make a start on the caravan renovation, digging, jet washing stuff and cutting down trees. Having people to stay has helped us keep seeing the area with new, holidayish eyes and it’s magic to have someone take the lead and teach us new skills. I looked round the other day and could finally see how much we had achieved.

I love sharing this space too. I’ve loved seeing packs of kids roaming wild and surprised myself by how much I love hosting, welcoming and looking after people – it was something we’d fallen out of doing in our old house. I’m thinking when we finally get the self catering thing going we should specialise in letting kids run wild and parents unwind, it seems to happen naturally here. Gifting other people a holiday, even if it involves working a bit, has made me happier than travelling.

One thing that has helped me relax and properly enjoy the happiness we’ve found living in the country…I made the mala necklace above, used in meditation, and I’ve been repeating the mantra I am grateful for all that is unfolding in my life and all that is yet to come. It’s definitely helped me get my inner pendulum back in tune. Gin, wine, tea, yoga, running, and good company help too.

But this month, I also know I absolutely belong here, without question, this is home.

Anyone who fancies a working holiday in the Peak District, teaching us or learning new skills just shout. We’ll happily provide full board and not in the yet to be renovated caravan.

To read all my Moving to the Country posts, go here.








  1. 05/09/2017 / 8:43 pm

    Love following your new chapter Penny. Moving is not plain sailing emotionally and I have had such a rocky patch this week just wanting home but not knowing where that is anymore. You made me smile as I have similar fantasies of gifting holidays and kids running free when we get to the Forest House next week.

    • Penny Alexander
      06/09/2017 / 12:43 pm

      Oh Kate, I am so sorry for your recent loss, it must have really knocked your pendulum flying. Believe me, it will return, keep on loading up with French loveliness, du pain, du vin, du boursin etc – be kind to yourself xx

  2. 05/09/2017 / 9:12 pm

    I recognise so much of this pendulum feeling Penny. For the first few months living at The Lint Mill and commuting into Glasgow, the swinging between new found solitude and the noise and chaos of the city made me feel schizophrenic. It took a long while to start to experience an integration of my different worlds. Your blog has inspired me to think of writing a new Lint Mill blog about finding here and finding peace. We will have been here for eight years in October, so I might try to pen an anniversary blog.

    • Penny Alexander
      06/09/2017 / 12:41 pm

      I would love to read that, having just caught up with you again it would be a brilliant read! I have to go to London this week,I feel like I have forgotten how to park the car in a city, take a train and navigate the big smoke – but I am excited to see it with new eyes.

  3. 06/09/2017 / 9:47 am

    Love your necklace and meditationa nd how can it be three months!

    • Penny Alexander
      06/09/2017 / 12:40 pm

      I don’t know!!! Seems like forever and yesterday at the same time.

  4. dave
    06/09/2017 / 9:59 am

    Great article – actually made me relax more just reading it and I’m already very relaxed after the weekend! Thank you so much! I’ve genuinely not felt more renewed from a holiday/staycation in years. Its a feeling I’ve not had since getting back from Glastonbury many years ago before you had to buy a ticket. You are a brilliant host and the effects of fully entertained kids for >96 hours and the rewarding new therapy we discovered from high-pressure jet-washing moss murderin’ has given me a whole new joie de vive. See you again soon!

    • Penny Alexander
      06/09/2017 / 12:39 pm

      Aw we really loved having you guys to stay! Thanks for taking us climbing and sailing – we absolutely loved it. I am totally taking quotes for the new self catering website – best testimonial ever. Happy kids + wine + campfire + jet washing = happy parents.

    • Penny Alexander
      06/09/2017 / 12:36 pm

      Aw thanks Sam, it is very therapeutic to write. I have just been and picked some Kale out the garden to have with my pasta for lunch, so feeling like the work in the garden is worthwhile!

  5. 07/09/2017 / 4:32 pm

    It’s so good to read that you are beginning to settle into your new space Penny. I too am a terrible procrastinator when I feel overwhelmed (which is a lot recently!). It sounds like you are building a wonderful place – I love the idea of letting the children run wild whilst the parents relax and unwind. It sounds perfect. We’d love to come and stay once it’s all up and running x

  6. 13/09/2017 / 11:21 am

    Lovely to read about life in your new home Penny. It sounds like a really idyllic place. Hope that you continue to feel more at home as time moves forward. Moving is a big adjustment and it sounds like you’ve had a lot going on x

  7. 16/01/2018 / 7:25 pm

    Oh me me!! I will bring you a goat and a few hens. We would have such a good time 🙂 ok so I may not have ay ‘skills’ but I have enthusiasm 🙂

I'd love to know your thoughts!