A new chapter

So we did it - we moved house. And I'm now taking full advantage of the temporarily available internet connection to share a few pictures of our new home and garden.

The move wasn't fun. The day itself - my birthday - was dry and that was a huge relief. But you know what it's like: physically and mentally exhausting. You have a lot more stuff then you thought you did. And there's a five-year-old who just doesn't understand the fact that Mummy And Daddy Are Very Busy Right Now.

Still, we did it - and a work colleague of Jay's came along to help with the heavy lifting. Luckily we have the studio in the back garden which is currently a holding area for boxes and furniture. And we still have to get the last few things from the old place and give it a clean.

This house is big. And old. I'll be honest, the responsibility scares me a bit as it's listed and we'll have to be on top of the maintenance aspect. I'm not sure where we'll find the money to make the changes we want. But it's going to be a long-term project, and the reason we bought it in the first place is because the moment we stepped through the front door it felt like home.

So, what have we been up to?

Well on our first night here we ate out in a lovely restaurant in the village and my cheesecake came adorned with a birthday candle. Which almost made up for Joe's incessant complaining...

We've also been trying to get organised with the unpacking. It's a slow process. 

But we love it here already. Living in a village, having a sheltered garden where you can actually sit and not be constantly ravaged by the wind. Having a few shops and a post office. Being able to walk Joe to school again. And having the opportunity to wear more of my clothes - a dress today!!! - instead of the same few warm jumpers over and over.

So the TV isn't up and running yet. Ditto the landline and our mobiles. The internet is likely to disappear temporarily. 

But after a day or two you realise that those things aren't such a huge deal. 

It's been a turbulent time since Jay and I met really, back in 2010. I've been made redundant from a long-term job, moved house five times, had Joe - via an emergency C section and hugely traumatic. We've renovated a house. I was diagnosed with an autoimmune condition and chronic fatigue syndrome. Biggest of all, we had the heartbreak of losing my mum to cancer and six months later, my brother's partner dying unexpectedly, which turned everything completely upside down.

And then a long-distance move to Skye.

So in the context of all that, the fact that BT aren't coming until Friday really isn't much of an issue.

But this house. The garden. 

We have a stream running alongside us and a cherry tree in full bloom. I can sit in a proper farmhouse kitchen with a big old wooden table, back door wide open, and write. I pretty much live in the kitchen if I'm honest. This is the first time I've ever had a home where the kitchen really is the heart of it. Yes, it's dated and I dread to think what's lurking behind all that woodchip wallpaper. We probably need to get the stairs up to the guest accommodation (sounds posh, but it's simply a bedroom and bathroom, separate to the rest of upstairs, not getting any use at the moment) redone as they're fearfully steep. It'll all happen one day.

Because after a two steps forward, one back kind of way, spring really is here. We have bluebells and cuckoo flowers, ferns and budding cow parsley. We're going to be out in the garden making little discoveries and plans. 

I've already unearthed lots of old discarded stone pots. There are treasures to be had in the studio, too: wicker baskets, wooden boxes. The previous owners have kindly left us some beautiful pieces of furniture (and this kitchen table, which I'm hoping to strip back). Much of it just belongs here.

We're getting to know the house. The noises: that rattling sash window in the living room, the stream rushing past after a heavy rainfall, the birds singing early in the mornings. Where the creakiest floorboards are. Realising just how many books we'll need to fill that whole wall of shelves in the snug. Getting the hang of reversing the cars through the gate with a few inches to spare on either side.

Yesterday I did a bit of exploring with Joe. There's a boarded up old house nearby with a very overgrown garden. Being a bit of a romantic, I'm always drawn to these places. There's a sadness about them, particularly when they seem suspended in time. Dusty net curtains, the remains of a once neatly-tended plot.

We found rhubarb. Lots of it, with huge leaves and thick stems. So we plucked some and brought it home, although first Joe wanted to get into the field behind. I was surprised and impressed by how nimbly he can scale a five-barred gate...

So now there's stewing to be done. And soon: cake. Or crumble, or pie, or cheesecake. Maybe chutney. Flavoured vodka?

We also have a new member of the family. Mackerel the one-eyed cat (why would someone shoot a cat with an air rifle?) has joined us. His owner had just been evicted from his rented house - it happens quite regularly here on Skye, usually when a landlord decides they'd rather run a holiday let as it's more lucrative - and couldn't take Mackerel with him.

So now Mackerel lives here. He's just had his first morning outdoors before coming in and settling himself on my knee as I write. He's very patient with Joe. Someone has to be, I suppose...