Blood so thick

That sounds gory. This won’t be. The packing and storing is well underway and our home is beginning to feel a bit under furnished. This time next month we will be out and settled in at my parents’ house. Thinking about how this will be has made me feel very grateful. I know a lot of people would have limited enthusiasm about moving in with their parents for an indefinite number of months. I’m looking forward to it. There will be times when I’m embarrassed by my imperfect parenting and the parts of life that don’t shimmer but even that’s ok. They understand. I have wonderful parents.

As in the post about the guy who took ten years, this is part of our journey and it is a privilege to share it along the way. We get on really well with my mum and dad and I’m looking forward to enjoying spending parts of our life together that you don’t normally share. Evenings getting the kids to bed and then enjoying some moments in the calm. Bath times. That quiet moment when the baby goes down for a nap.

Speaking of that baby, he’s doing a lot of lying on the floor waggling his limbs. I don’t think it will be long before he’s crawling. Another moment to enjoy sharing, another adventure for him to embark on.

I’m aware that not everyone has the same experience with their parents as I do with mine. It is a rare and special thing. That might be a really good job when the baby breaks an ornament and we find out there is some problem with planning that at the moment we haven’t foreseen. Good job they don’t have a lot of ornaments. And that when he is asleep Birch is really beautiful.

A place to call home, for a while

There seem to be a lot of things to think about when planning to build a house. The thing currently occupying us is what to live in while we build. There are lots of options which doesn’t always make for an easy decision.

We’d really like to be living on our land as soon as we can. Partly so we can start planting and also to feel like we’ve really started our adventure. That rules out renting (for now, anyway; if it gets really bad we could come back to this option). That leaves some kind of temporary dwelling on site.

The obvious option is a static caravan. There are some advantages to this: essentially a partioned space with all the basics for what you need, something you can resell when you’re done, with little expense, relatively speaking. We aren’t very much static caravan kind of people although I can see why it works for a lot of people. Certainly it’s straightforward and inexpensive.

The idea we’ve had been sticking with for a while is a yurt. A big, circular space within which we can incorporate most of what we need, with a toilet and shower block located externally. A big yurt would feel like a good space, but it would be one space all together. Nowhere to escape to, although we could put up our bell tent as another space to use. Yurts are pretty, and can be well insulated and cosy. We had a holiday in a yurt. That won’t be like living in one for around a year. We could keep it afterwards as an extra space, a good place for guests although there would be maintenance costs associated with that. A more expensive option, but also prettier. The external toilet and shower, not so much.

Another option is a kind of shed, built under permitted development rights that would eventually be a workshop but in which we could live. Thinking we would live in a shed for a year doesn’t fill me with enthusiasm but maybe I have yet to perceive the vision.

I very much would like to be warm. Beyond that I like to think I’m flexible. I may need to be. Any great suggestions?!


Something exciting is happening. People are offering to help us. Others want to be involved and join us in the journey. People who can see what we are aiming to do and are keen to share the dream. I’m really amazed. It is so great to find we are not walking this path alone. What we are aiming to do is not the usual thing, it’s quite different and to some people kind of odd. But it turns out there are quite a few who want to help us. I didn’t expect this and it is extraordinary and lovely and really special. It also seems like such an opportunity, to share this part of our life, and to have what we build become a patchwork of the people who have had a part in it.

I’m also really grateful. I’ve been feeling a bit scared, a bit over whelmed. So much has changed, so much is still to change but we are not alone. To know there are people who will say “hang on, what about this…”, or “yes, this is good, keep going” just feels so much better.

I’m always amazed and moved when I find people care. I’m very introverted and spend too much time inside my soul, but to open the curtains and feel some love takes me by surprise every time. Thank you.

I don’t actually think we should build a patchwork house. I’d love to make some wall hangings though.


We are getting ready to move out. No fixed completion date yet but it’s looking like the end of the month. I’m feeling quite nervous. Life has changed over this last year, this makes that even more apparent.

It seems strange looking back. When we found out we were going to have Birch our reaction immediately included the thoughts “we’ll have to sell the campervan” and “we will have to move house”. I also thought that I wouldn’t get to swim much any more, that I wouldn’t be able to do as much work and that my freedom at home would be curtailed. All of these things have been true. What has been unexpected is how I feel about them. Some of them. I miss swimming and my work, I’m sad we had to sell the van. I’m aware that I’m not free like I was before Birch but somehow I don’t mind that at all. In fact, I find I love it. And we are moving house. Mostly that is very exciting. Partly it is scary.

I think it is probably true to say that planning laws are designed to put you off. They are long and obscure, details have to be hunted for, consultants have made a living out of making sense of them. I don’t think it needs to be that difficult. On the other hand I really don’t want our house to fall down. If I start looking too much into the details I start to feel anxious. Ben says I just have to trust him. He is confident and excited. Do I trust him to do this?

It’s a tricky thing building trust and confidence. On one hand I feel like I need my worries acknowledged, to feel like I’ve been heard and to be sure those worries will not become realities. On the other, it doesn’t help to sound like my worries are entirely legitimate and that there are cliff edges off which there is a reasonable chance we might fall.

If anyone can do this, and lots of people have, then Ben can. Yes, I trust him. I’m not going to read too much about details and building regs. And as with all the changes Birch has brought to us, it’s not always possible to know how you’ll feel when it comes to it. Maybe I won’t mind. In fact I think I might love it.


We were away at the weekend with friends. I thought I’d try to help in the kitchen. I was cutting an onion. It was a slithery one. I cut my finger.

Not a large or particularly deep cut, but there was some blood and that was too much for me. I turned grey (I’m told), went from hot, sweaty and nauseous to cold, shivery and sleepy in a few moments and did not help in the kitchen any more. I wonder if I’m going to be brave enough for this adventure.

We won’t be having onions.

Here is my confession

It’s strange, feeling like on one hand I should be careful what I share publicly about our family life and the sense that I’m not being entirely honest. Although our dirty washing basket sometimes overflows I won’t be airing our dirty laundry here.

Here I will redress the balance slightly in the interests of honesty. Our children are sometimes naughty. They usually argue. They are sometimes sullen and rude. Except Birch, he’s lovely although perhaps not at night. I don’t know about that. Ben, having gone back to work, still gets up in the night to feed him. I don’t know how he became this selfless man, or how I got to be the one married to him.

I am not the human I would like to be, much less the wife I should be, or the mother I once thought I could be. I have plenty more work to do on developing patience. Sometimes it goes wrong. Then it’s an opportunity to say sorry. I’m glad there is that word, sorry.

I suspect this is just our version of normal life.

My blog doesn’t read quite that way. Even though I’m forecasting difficult moments still it reads like the idyll we long to create. So here is my confession. Just like yours, our life isn’t perfect. But we are trying really hard and sticking together anyway. It is worth it.