I’ve been trying to think about this week, and why I’m not finding this week as much fun as other weeks. I think perhaps I’m ready for a break- with travelling days we have one day off a week, so its been a few weeks since we had a couple of days off in a row. I’m feeling a little under the weather- not ill, but getting motivated and not being snappy has been a challenge for the last couple of days. On the whole, I think its me- rather than the place that’s not quite right.
We’re at a smallholding with a family near Llanelli, and its a beautiful place. They have their house, a place that’s going to be a holiday let, several camping pitches ( lovely, level pitches with nice ground for tent pegs!) an good size veg garden and a few acres of trees down towards the river at the bottom. Their place is on a hillside, so its good exercise up and down, and we haven’t been far into the trees, let alone down to the river yet.
The work we’re doing is clearing brambles, nettles and bracken from various places. DH has been concentrating on the orchard, where the chickens are, and I’ve been nearer the veg plot, and also turning the compost heap.
Compost is a topic that I’m finding interesting- everywhere we go folk have different rules. Here brambles, cleavers and bindweed go elsewhere, but docks can go into compost. We’ve been places where everything goes in the compost, where coffee grounds don’t go in, where eggshells must be baked before going in, etc, etc. I’m looking forward to having our own compost heap and making up our own rules- not that I know what they’ll be! I’m also looking forward to having chickens to eat some of the waste. One place we’ve been gave the chickens meat waste ( not chicken) but cooked all their food ( including pellets) for an hour- I wonder how much nutrition is left after an hours cooking?
This family’s way of living, with one of them working in a hospital even, is the closest we’ve been to how we think we might be living in a few years time. Its really interesting to see it in action, even with their children at school. Also lovely to have experience shared and things pointed out to us- so we can learn from others experience without having to do it all ourselves. Pointing out sneaky costs like how expensive oil and gas are in the country ( I was already aware rural people are discriminated against- you can’t get dual fuel discount if they don’t pipe gas near you), and we are factoring in extra travel costs into our planning. We hope not to be spending enough to be in stamp duty territory, but I wasn’t aware some places have discounted or no stamp duty to attract folk to move there. I know we know very little about the paperwork side of keeping animals, which I imagine has some sneaky costs with it.
The girls have been enjoying the company of the children when they’re not at school. One is a boy, who’s taken a little longer for the girls to get around to having fun with ( far too many baby and parent games for him to want to be part of). The older girl has clear ideas of how she wants the others to play, which hasn’t always gone down well. I’ve enjoyed seeing how Big One likes having other children to be around. Little One generally just wants to know where her big sister is, and is upset if she’s blatantly ignored or excluded from bigger girls play. I’m impressed at how Big One does include Little One in the games, and seems to enjoy things just as much with her as without her. I am happy that Little One ( and I) still benefit from an afternoon nap, so Big One can have some time without Little One if needed.
Spiders were everywhere in the tent in April and into May, June and July we have black ground beetles. Their feet rustling on the groundsheet make much more noise than a mouse. One beetle nibbled our dishcloth, apart from that they just seem to be noisy neighbours.
Here we’ve not been too bothered by spiders, or beetles- at least with think the beetles we’ve noticed we probably brought with us from the last field. Garden type grass doesn’t seem to support the variety of bug life we’re used to in fields. The flying bugs here have been another matter- here there are some rather large biting flies. We’ve come across them at a few other places, but this place seems to have the most. Our hosts call them cleggs, and we think we’ve heard them called horseflies. Their bite hurts, and they seems to take a noticeable quantity of blood- judging from the injury I get when I splat them mid-bite. They’re easier to see than mosquitoes and midges!
We enjoyed looking at the plot of land on Monday. It looks lovely, and its had us thinking. I realise we need a village nearby for the children to walk to, but we also want to live outside a lot. Having neighbours talking distance ( i.e. talking over the wall, able to hear outside conversations) doesn’t feel right to me. I feel our lives would be too public. We hope that our eventual house will have a large veranda for us to spend time sitting out on, I imagine our utility room could well be a shed, or at least partially outdoors, and we’d definitely have an outdoor kitchen space. In a village I’d be aware of stream of people/traffic just by our place ( I know that if we want to sell produce we want some passing traffic) and worry about if I should be locking doors, keeping things out of sight. I suppose knowing about crime rates,and spending time in a village we’re interested in would all help with that.
What I have loved about our journey is so many places are off the beaten track, and doors and windows aren’t always locked and bolted. I was worried at the start of our journey about the value of certain pieces of equipment we have, and lack of insurance. Now I worry more about being in towns with a fully laden van, and some idiot taking a fancy to our van while its parked somewhere, but on the whole I worry less!
Seeing that plot, with outline planning permission, has also given me a bit of hope. I know that if we need to, we can buy a field and set up and run a business to gain permission to live on our field. However, without the planning battle we don’t need to set up the business to be profitable. I can see us doing farm gate sales, possibly the odd farmers market, but it being at a pace that suits us, and selling enough to cover some costs rather than a visibly profitable business. That feels like a lot of pressure of us, and a lot less compromises to happen.
So, regarding our dream I have more hope that it really can happen. Our plot does exist here so I can hope we’ll find something else in a better location for us.