Friday, 18 January 2013

Living the Dream

Six years ago this week.  I'd been out at a small quilt show and when I returned Management was sitting in the kitchen, in thoughtful mode.  "I've been thinking" he said "why wait until we retire to move to the Lake District?  Let's go now".  So we did, and here we are.

We had such plans;  we were going to downsize*, and not have a mortgage**, and leave some of the equity from our Hampshire house in the bank***.  Instead we saw Bag End, fell in love with the location, the huge garden, with the only house which seemed to offer the space and flexibility to suit us, and the rest - if not history - is what makes up the Bag End blog.

*  didn't happen
**  neither did that
*** you are joking, aren't you?

Trouble is, in order for things to become blog-fodder they actually have to happen, this is not a work of fiction.  Those of you who've been around since the beginning will know that in the (nearly) five years since we moved to Bag End rather a lot has happened and much of it has happened to me.

Around the beginning of October I started to feel I was coming a bit unravelled - Tolkien put it so well when Bilbo said "I feel all thin, sort of stretched, if you know what I mean: like butter that has been scraped over too much bread. That can't be right. I need a change, or something".

This was followed, unsurprisingly, by a cold which was nearly flu and knocked me sideways. Things weren't made easier because this coincided with the long-planned visit of a friend I hadn't seen for years. I absolutely was not well enough to get from one end of the house to the other, let alone entertain someone who NEVER stops talking and can be enthusiastic and ebullient to the point of making me look introspective so I asked her to postpone her visit. She refused and said she was coming anyway because it was booked.  Very upsetting because I don't have so many friends that I can lose one and not notice. However, as Management kindly pointed out the friendship had been becoming exceedingly one-sided and that if she really cared about me she would have listened and understood when I said I wasn't well.

I spent most of the following couple of weeks in a total brain fog doing nothing (unless you can call laying on the sofa watching DVDs of The West Wing 'something'!) I really wanted to get away, go and hide in a holiday cottage for a few days with no phone, no TV, no people but I was too wiped out to arrange anything.  So I chilled out, and slept, and kept LP away from the garden as much as possible (the dreadful weather helped there!), and M. and I talked quite a bit, and eventually I started to feel less wiped out, less like I was on the 'edge'.

Part of the conversations we had included my admitting that every single day I thought about the fact that we didn't have a dog in the house. And then I thought about how much more 'sensible' it was NOT to have a dog, how much easier life is when you don't have to do all the walking, cleaning, caring, feeding, worrying .... and then I STILL thought about having another dog. Then Management said "how about we DON'T have another Bearded Collie" ..... and it wasn't long after that we were driving 80 miles down the motorway to a rescue centre in the next county to meet Daisy.

Giving this little girl a home and bringing her into our family has probably been one of the best things we could have done - but I'm still knackered!  The good thing is that now I don't care so much :}

I don't want to complain because I really don't have ANYTHING to complain about but I find it very difficult to get my act together at present, apart from to look after Daisy!  I have no concentration, I forget what I am going to do on the computer between sitting down and putting my glasses on .... so you can imagine what confusion ensues when I walk from one end of the house to another?  I've been drifting around in a small, happy fog where I achieve nine-tenths of bugger all.  I sat down to try and catch up on some of my blog posts from the end of last year - I found myself just gazing at folders of photos and not knowing where to start.  So I didn't!  I'm tired and burnt out, it's a culmination of things which can simply be distilled into 'doing too much'.  The first person who says "I told you so" is likely to get a smack, however far I have to drive to deliver it in person.

So where do I go from here?  What about the next six years?  We have a wonderful life here with opportunities to do things that we could only dream about when 'down south'.  Whilst we never meant to buy a house or garden that needed so much doing to it and I am absolutely delighted to be where we are, constantly being "on the go" and having endless Lists of work that needs doing has taken its toll.

The garden is either under control or we know exactly what we want to do with the parts which are still feral, and THANK DOG I have LP to do the heavy stuff.  We've done all the really major work on the house (new roof, new heating, new water system, mostly new electrics, knocked walls down, rebuilt them, changed the kitchen & bathrooms) and generally what's left is cosmetic.  I am remarkably unconcerned about scuffed paintwork and peeling wallpaper . . .

I shall continue to garden enthusiastically, get back to quilt making, and use Daisy as an "excuse" to walk those marvellous fells far more often. 

And continue the Bag End blog giving thanks every single day that I wake up in this amazing place.


  1. Hey, if I say "I told you so", does that mean you'll be coming for a visit soon? (I'm ducking back behind a wall now, giggling.)

  2. Even YOU, dearie, can only do so much for so long. As for fatigue and brain fog - I suggest a good B-complex supplement. (I've found the lack, thereof, may have contributed to my Xmas episode.) P.S. ITYS! (*heh* Will look for you at the airport. *snigger*)

  3. ITYS too *snigger* although I'm guessing that by the time you reach me your ability to administer a good smack with be somewhat diminished! tee hee!

    And however outrageously fortunate you are in your life at Bag End, do not forget that this has not just happened by accident - you and Management made big decisions where the rest of us might balk (?sp), and have worked hard at making your lives what you want them to be.

    So breath deep and smell the wild garlic (if I am not mistaken). :)

  4. Once the weather improves it may make you feel better. Cold, miserable, damp, dark weather doesn't help lift the spirits.

  5. Oh dear Bilbo!Reading through this post - dogs and moves the Lakes aside, has been like reading my own life for the past six months!Fatigue, brain fog, illnesses, doing bugger all, no ooomph....definitely time to meet up again and have a good old moan....and maybe a glass or two of something nice along the way!
    Wouldn't dream of saying ITYS, but what's in my head stays in my head some days!!! :-)

  6. Thank you all for the lovely comments and big giggles

    QuiltSue - is that an invitation? Will have to arrange it for a weekend so that Management will be here to Daisy-sit.

    Kris - you're right, I'm no longer Superwoman. You'll have a long wait at the airport dearie, take a good book :}

    Hazel - I have told you before not to underestimate a Determined Hobbit. Be afraid, be very afraid!

    Sue G - low light levels all last summer and now winter too ... fingers crossed for a bright summer, even if I do end up complaining about how much watering there is to do.

    Nutty - I'm sorry you've had a rough few months, you're right, we must make the effort to get together before too long :}

  7. Fabulous photos and wise words ,,, from you and your friends! Da Da Da Da Da ,,, trying not to say certain words :-)

    If you want to have a giggle watch the Comic Relief Bake Off ,,, I haven't laughed so much in ages! Last night was so funny!

    1. Lakeslover - thanks m'dear. I know you understand very well how much it means to be here :}


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