Inspiration, issues & comment

Calm amid the chaos

Calm in the chaosSo here we are on 21st December, the winter solstice and shortest day of 2014.  We’re drinking coffee and eating dark chocolate pretzels and I am sitting here on the sofa (that also doubles as the bed in our tiny studio) trying to find a moment of calm to gather my thoughts.  Running boy is in the kitchen, literally one metre to my right, cleaning and packing up.  The Sunday football is on the radio, the washing machine is whirring with a final wash and our suitcases and boxes lie open and half packed a couple of metres to my left.

We’re on the move again.  Today is our day for packing up and cleaning the tiny 26 square metres of space that has been our home for the past eleven and a half weeks.  Tomorrow we will drive to the bassin d’arcachon and unload and unpack into our next housesit, a cute wooden cottage of 60 square metres on the bay overlooking the oyster farms.  The following day we drive to the airport to fly back to the UK for a week or so of catching up with friends and family before returning on new year’s day to start our housesit proper.

It’s been an interesting time of late and has been a challenge to find calm amid the chaos, but we’re getting there and we’re moving forward in the right direction.

This is what I’ll be doing to re-energise as December and 2014 come to a close:

Some quiet journaling as I work my way through the Winter Joy Retreat

Quiet contemplation and thinking about how I want to feel as we move into 2015

Listening to this song and feeling festive

Watching this with my niece and nephew and singing along

Having a bath using this blend of essential oils

Spending time with family and friends enjoying long winter walks, cosy pubs, good food and laughs.

Wishing everyone a wonderful end to 2014 and a very happy new year – see you in 2015 ♥

Inspiration, issues & comment

Dancing with indecision

Eleanor Roosevelt QuoteEarly morning and I can see the moorhen chicks in the pond, darting around, quick movements.  The sun catches the ripples in the water, the slight breeze causing the leaves to chatter softly in the trees, the green of the hills, gently rolling away into the distance.

I love it here.  I don’t want to leave.  Ever.  The window is wide open, my feet resting on the ledge, sunlight warming my bare legs.  This is the home office I always wanted, but sadly staying here much longer is not an option.  Our year-long house-sit holiday is almost at an end.  We have to go, to move on, walk forward to something new, different, unexpected.

We’ve been dancing around this decision for weeks, months, putting it off, waiting for something to “come” to us, waiting for inspiration to strike, avoiding actually making a decision at all costs.  Could it be I’ve hooked up with the only other being on the planet who is as incapable of decision-making as I am?  Or am I being unfair?  Who are these people who make perfectly planned and executed decisions anyway?  I’ve tried writing things down, lists, pros and cons, but it never works for me.  I only ever go with how I feel, I can’t help it, but sometimes the feelings just won’t come, or if they do I don’t recognise them.

Maybe I’m getting better.  We talked about going back to the UK.  We slept on it or rather he slept and I lay awake, my insides twisting and churning, my back muscles slowly turning to stone, fear tightening its grip over my solar plexus as I fitfully tried to sleep.  We discussed returning to Lyon.  I felt sick, I couldn’t breathe.  I was getting strangled by my own stubbornness and unwillingness to go back to something I knew, somewhere I’ve already lived, a job I’ve already done.

We gave up on our decision making and took some time out visiting Bergerac and Bordeaux, catching up with long-time friends.  His not mine, our lives are still separate like that.  In our escaping, our running away, a funny thing happened and we caught a spark of something.  Excitement, anticipation, newness, and just like that the decision was made and a plan was born.  We set ourselves off on another track, another trajectory, another life to be lived.

Hey, this is nice, there’s a good feel to the place, let’s come and live here. Whispered over a rainy picnic in the park, murmured while wandering the ancient streets marvelling at the grand buildings, quietly voiced in a café watching the city life buzz all round us.

And so one rainy, summer day the decision to move to Bordeaux came about.  It’s scary.  We don’t know anyone there or have any work contacts like we do in Lyon.  We don’t have family there or cultural ties like we do in the UK.  We just have each other and the guts to give it a shot.  Hopefully that’s enough.

Tell me, do you have a decision-making process or are you more like me in your approach?

Nature, photography & France

2013 – my year in pictures

We’re almost at the end of 2013 and for me it’s been a year of change.  It started off in cold and snowy Lyon in my tiny apartment and it ends here in the middle of nowhere in a big, old, draughty, rambling farmhouse in Poitou Charentes with acres of land and its own fishing pond.  This time last year none of this was planned.  Who knows what 2014 will bring…

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Happy New Year everyone!

Elizabeth x