Pull up a chair…..

Hello and welcome to the latest blog on The Olivia Rose Diaries on 25th January 2022.

There are times as I sit down to write this blog when I wonder what I am going to say, times when I think that nothing exciting has happened and maybe I’ll miss it out for a week.

Life can’t be exciting all the time. We can’t be constantly travelling and exploring – although we do our best! For the blog this week I thought I would imagine that you had turned up on the doorstep just to say hello and to have a chat. So, pull your chair closer to the fire, and let’s talk about the everyday things of life.

We arrived back from our latest house sit a few days ago. The temperature inside Le Shack was 3 degrees – we had been checking the weather forecasts and knew that it would be cold, the outside temperature plummeting to minus five the night before, but still the chill in the air was a physical shock as we walked in the door. Your brain shrieks that it simply shouldn’t be that cold indoors. It was in stark contrast to the house we had just left, where we had been pampered with underfloor heating, radiators and huge log burners. We stoked our own woodburner up as we unpacked everything, then made a cup of tea and went to sit outside in the sunshine, where it felt positively barmy by comparison at 9 degrees. Spot came to join us, jumping from one lap to another and wriggling around with pleasure to see us again. We had learnt by now that Blackie would turn up the next morning, howling outside the door with her ‘Feed me – NOW’ voice. This is her default setting, even after she has been treated to an extra large helping of cat food and one that she also uses, very successfully, on our next door neighbour.

Each time we return to our humble cabin I am struck anew by how much I love it, not just the cosy simplicity of the inside space, but also the fact that we live in a field. Home-coming rituals are beginning to appear. Some months ago, Michael cut a path around the perimeter and paths beg to be walked upon. At some point in our first day back I will find time for a wander, peering into the little spring half way up the hill to see how full it is, admiring the growth on the mimosa tree we planted on Christmas Day in our first year here, marvelling at the number of tiny oak saplings pushing their way tenaciously through the thick tufts of dried grass from last summer. Grasshoppers or crickets, I can never remember which, are pinging out in all directions underneath my feet whilst a buzzard launches itself effortlessly out of the tree tops, powering up into a cornflower blue sky until it reaches a thermal. 

Mimosa blossom on its way.

 I walk past the spot where we buried Maddie last May, give her an imaginary stroke on her soft ears and say hi, on past the place where we park the van at the far end of the field, making a mental note for the tenth time that the wisteria needs cutting back, and then continue my way along the track to the pond, which is frozen over and strangled by weed yet again. This gentle ramble re-connects me to our home and is a mixture of the familiar and the new, for there is always something else to look at. This time round I can see the bulbs that we planted last autumn poking through the damp soil, and one brave and foolish daffodil is almost on the point of flowering, despite the frosty mornings. The lenten rose is in bloom, hiding its face under the vines, the lilac is in bud and our plum tree has, wondrously, got one fragile blossom reaching skyward on the sunny side of the tree. 

Daffodil with a death wish.
Lilac buds.
A lone blossom on plum tree.
Lenten rose.

We are here for a week before leaving once more for our final house sit of this winter and it will be a time of sorting out some admin, a bit of chain-sawing and wood stacking, maybe a visit to a local ‘brocante’ in search of an old bench we can reclaim and place at the top of the field so I have yet another place to sit and admire the view. I have an obsession with benches and now that I have a two-acre field to indulge myself in, there will be no stopping me. I’ll probably become known as the mad English woman who collects benches. You could be famous for worse things…..

If you had been sitting with me in person, rather than through a screen, for the last half an hour I would have heard all your news by now. At some point we might have looked at each other, shrugged our shoulders and said ‘I haven’t got anything particularly exciting to say.’ It wouldn’t matter. We were together, sharing thoughts and impressions of our day-to-day lives and that is what matters, that is what provides the bedrock of any relationship.

 Of course it is physically impossible for us to be together via a blog, but at least we still have this virtual connection, one I enjoy so much every week or ten days, reaching out to you wherever you are, be it in Europe, America, Australia, Canada, or one of the other far-flung places that this blog somehow makes contact with. It’s unfortunate for you that you have to endure my rambling monologue with no opportunity to tell me to be quiet and let someone else get a word in edgeways but at least I am enjoying myself! 

I wish you all a good week, filled with ordinary things that can still give such pleasure and, if these frustrating times allow, I hope you can call on someone, in person, for a cup of tea and a chat. It’s one of the best things in the world. If circumstances mean that this simple action is denied you at the moment, I hope it won’t be too long before things get better.

I’ll see you next week from a house where we are looking after something a bit different – a hawk called Artemis. Michael is already itching to get his pencils out and sketch it. I’ll leave you with one last picture, a copy of the sketch he did of the very sweet little dog that we have just left.

This is Olive.

Take care and see you soon.

MJ

4 thoughts on “Pull up a chair…..

  1. Sounds like your week has been grounding, reconnecting to your home place. It is nice to see spring poking through here and there. Here, of course, we are still in the depths of winter and will be for at least another couple months. Our winters are quite long!
    Enjoy the week ahead. Can’t wait to read about what caring for a raptor is like!

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  2. There’s something special about coming home, even if you have enjoyed the place where you have been temporarily. We haven’t been away anywhere together for two years! I managed a weekend away in November, but that was work.

    Like you, I sometimes wonder what I’m going to write on the blog, but something always crops up, and it is a bit like having a conversation with people, although one-sided. I hope your mimosa tree thrives. I’d like to plant one, but at 320m up in the foothills of the Massif Central, I don’t think it would survive.

    I look forward to reading about life with a hawk!

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  3. How I enjoy your blogs! I hope that the next house sit is pleasurable and look forward to seeing the drawing. As we get into this new year, I send you wishes for a happy and healthy one. Sylvia

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