Saturday, 21 October 2017

Living in an English idyll

Logically, now is about the time I should be sitting down to compose my thoughts on a year living in England. Realistically, I find it hard to reflect on an entire year and translate those feelings into a single blog entry. For the first six months we lived a little like nomads, in three different temporary places, our shipment from Australia frustratingly still in boxes in an Oxford storage shed. But these past six months of being settled in our own space, has allowed for a proper sense of living in England. I feel better able to articulate the last few months, rather than a whole year.

You can recap on the anticipation of moving, here if you like.

As I type, over six months have passed since we moved into this Cotswold cottage next to a brook in what is often described as "the prettiest village in England". We are feeling more and more at home; our neighbours recognise us and chat to us if we pass them on a walk in the woodland. We've volunteered for the village charity car boot sale. And we are very excited to attend the next few Christmas social events organised by the social committee. I am particularly looking forward to Carols by candlelight in the village church. 

As village residents we've seen three seasons, and all the delights that they each have to offer. We moved in at the very beginning of spring, when the daffodils were blooming en masse on roadsides and along the brook, seemingly welcoming us with their endlessly cheery disposition. Primrose carpeted the churchyard, vines unfurled. Wild ramson shoots scented the air, lambs bleated in nearby fields, ducklings appeared on the brook and bluebells in the woodland. I clipped whatever was in the garden to bring spring indoors whenever I could.

Summer swept in with warm breezes that swayed the branches in the towering trees around the cottage, windows were flung open to let in the grassy scent of summer and the rustling noise of the tree canopy. Farm traffic thundered through the village multiple times a day, a frenetic energy took hold of this beautiful agricultural region as farmers used every second of the long days to harvest & bale and plough & sow. Sunlight stretched long into the night and the birds anticipated dawn sometimes as early as 4am.

Autumn has gripped now. Misty mornings are frequent, smoking chimneys the tell-tale sign that fireplaces are being put back into use. And those lush green trees I gazed up at all summer long? Some days I silently curse them as another burst of wind leaves the doorstep inches deep in leaf litter. Again.

A couple of days ago I lit our first fire since moving in. 

Our basket of woollen hats and gloves is back next to the front door for easy reach as we walk outside into crisp morning air. And there is a lovely comfort that comes with walking through the house at dusk drawing the curtains and switching on lamps.

We're still buying pieces for the house to completely make it a home, but I think i'll start sharing pockets of the house as we find items and style rooms. I had intended to photograph and share more of the interior of the cottage- an 18th Century building is interesting after all. In truth, it's been a slower process than I anticipated to find furniture we truly love. But with a few recent, much dreamed of finds, I hope to get some photographs taken before the autumn sunshine is dimmed by winter fog and it becomes too dark to take pictures indoors.

Kate  x

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