Friday, 3 August 2012

Green and blue

Our house has always been a little otherworldly. It is built into a hill, like a hobbit hole, (the same hill which holds the body of Thomas) and has water flowing underneath - great for moving energy along and encouraging an open-palmed, open-minded flow in our lives, but not so good structurally speaking. Returning from a hot, bright holiday (thank you, thank you sun), Pickle and I found this house has become more fairytale than ever. The top garden is almost impassable for me and impenetrable for Pickle and brambles have crept in at the windows to fasten round the first thing they touch. We were only away ten days! 

I wonder, if we left for a year (and a day, perhaps), whether the house would disappear from this world altogether - either by passing into some other realm or, more likely, being subsumed by greenery.

Nature abounds and bounds and slithers and buzzes and creeps and flits and oozes. Nature rules here. I love it. It feels safe, like I'm being reclaimed by my true family - by blood. 

But I have neighbours. Lovely neighbours, who have been kind and patient with the wildness on our land. They have regularly-mown lawns and small children who do not want to encounter our bastard triffid-nettle army, our orcish dandelions and ragwort. They want grass. 

So. I will begin the eternal dance that is gardening, even though I don't quite know the steps of ruthless reduction, removal and replacement, while nature surges all around me in a storm of vitality. And every now and again, I will down tools and, getting very close to the earth, whisper encouragement.

The world has been encouraging me too, as ever. Pickle and I have been adventuring far and near. Bill and Anne have visited to chase the elements with Pickle.

We gathered a couple more friends (as happens) and visited Thomas's grave in unexpected sunshine, sharing snacks and the work of barrowing the kids around or holding them by arms and legs, face down and 'flying' them through the long grass.

Thomas's hawthorn is growing well and his oak is exploding out of its tube.

The next time the sun deigned to shine on this soggy corner of the moor, we went to our first festival without Thomas. Chagstock is just on our doorstep and gets better every year. I had to listen to the headliners from the tent as Pickle announced 'the sun come up' before 5 each morning and would not accept my story that it was still the night. The Fun Lovin' Criminals sounded so good I danced in my sleeping bag. Pickle had a great time on all the rides and swings and the bouncy castle

and exploring all the weird and wonderful arty things about the place. She very courageously shook hands with a 7 foot dragon, but not the big blue puppet lady. 'Too close' she said and the lady hurried off to terrify another small person.

With just one hour to unpack and pack, we set off for Jersey to spend another week camping with Gappy, my beautiful sister-friend Bonnie (Pickle's goddessmother) and her daughter. So good to be close to the land again.

Pickle learned new skills

 and celebrated climbing a 20 foot mole hill with her new friend.

 We found unexpected marvels

 'Can I climb?' asked Pickle.

 The blue was a dream. It's been ages since I've swum in the sea and I miss it. Giving my body to that expanse. Being so held and so vulnerable (years ago a Jersey riptide tried to take me under). Divine.

 We found a little cliff walk which reminded us of home

and led to a rocky cove where we could dabble in bath-warm pools and find a dozen different coloured pebbles.

 Our way home was just as beautiful

and we left with plans to return next year.

I am not at all robust lately, but cleansed a little by sun and sea and time spent on the earth. And I am listening, repeatedly, to this:


  1. I love Pickle's feet, so sturdy on the beach.

  2. Lovely pictures Lunar ! Our garden in Brighton was very much the same and home to an inordinate number of very large frogs :) Pickle looks so well and full of joy. Lots of love to you both xxxx

  3. Wow, Pickle is growing so fast. My littlest has just turned 8, I don't know where the time goes! So glad you found a beautiful sunny place to spend some time and relax, Lunar. And swim in the sea...that's where I go for my sorrows, she's big enough to take them all. That looks like a 'Hills Hoist' in your backyard, and there I was I thinking they were a typically Aussie backyard item! *Chuckle*, we adults think they are for hanging out washing, but small children know better. They are for swinging around on and climbing. Which is why most of the old ones in old backyards have a serious lean! Yours looks like it has experienced some serious fun in its time! And happy gardening!

    Take care,

  4. Beautiful photos and life affirming words which remind us how special and delightful time spent with young children is and how abundant nature in summetime (however wet!) can be.

  5. D'ya want a hand honey bun? Many hands make light work.... Lots of love to you and her. xxx

  6. Pickle is growing fast! It is good to see. Those are beautiful pictures from Jersey.

    Have you ever seen a time-lapse film of brambles growing? It is scary!!

  7. Pickle seems to be growing so fast. She looks like she had fun in the rock pools, and milking a cow, very impressive something I have never done yet in my 40 odd years. Sounds like you had a lovely holiday too. My garden looks a lot like yours, and my neighbours also have neatly mowed lawns, its a wonder they put up with me!

  8. Scythe...
    (And yes, to the blue.)

  9. Thank you all for adding your voices to mine here.
    Suzi, as if you had nothing else to think about... I'm enjoying the snail pace of my gardening. It seems to be the pace of this summer.
    gz I think of you and hope life is gentle with you. I don;t dare watch a bramble time-lapse. Just looking out my window every hour is alarming enough!
    Coyopa, I even have a scythe, but the technique was held by Thomas. Another lost thing, although this one can be reclaimed. But I feel the first pass will have to be an industrial brushcutter and I have a friend in the wings ready to wield one.

  10. Nice work .Thanks for the share. Keep up writing so that we can get more informative blogs like this one.
    Stone Split Face


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