This photo was taken on Wednesday night, from the top of one of the mountains that nestle the valley, where I have chosen to put down roots and make the next chapter of my life. I have found a little apartment in a 17th century converted coach house, on an estate and working farm, in the depths of rural North Wales.
I am aware, as one of life’s ‘cliff leapers’, that I may not always have all my ducks in a neat row, but I have faith and trust in what is meant to be. I was drawn here, (never having been to the area before), and as soon as I drove over the mountain range and saw the valley stretching out before me, with the little medieval town in the middle, my soul spoke the words ‘You are home’.
With much gratitude to the loving support I have had, I came into land last Saturday and a few things happened in quick succession. My original choice of apartment felt all wrong as I unpacked my car and stood in the middle of the main room. My warm spirited landlord caught on very quickly and I was moved to another apartment on the estate. As I spruced the place up and settled in my laptop died, my phone struggled with any mobile signal at all, the Wifi signal was faint (that is being kind) and nothing electrical in the place worked. I have not collected my belongings from David’s yet, so I had very little that was familiar around me. The care agency work I was assured was a doddle to get into, is anything but, and I awoke the next morning to a cold feeling of ‘Oh what have I done…’.
OK, I thought, this is fear and I will acknowledge it, but not sink into it. I have been stopped in my tracks for a reason, but I am very definately in the right place. The fear is not real, what has gone before is not real, for it is in the past, and my imaginings on what might happen next are not real either.
What is real is what I tell myself and how I tackle this. I am capable and I have my smile..I can climb mountains.
My landlord on various visits has sorted my sparkly clean washing machine, which I can now set the dials on and start with a ball point pen…he’s ordered me a new button. The oven is now functioning (it had a dicky timer) and is sparkly clean. My laptop is fixed and I have made friends with the friendly man in the computer shop in the town and a lovely lady who runs a cafe nearby. Rachel lent me her laptop and let me sit in her cafe for hours on end as I job hunted. I have sussed the water timer and I can have hot, deep soaks in a sparkly clean bath. The sparkly clean theme now runs throughout my whole place and it made my landlord smile when I texted him a friendly warning to wear shades to combat sparkliness when he next visited. He is also buying me a Wifi booster. I am starting to get to know my neighbours, as there are forty odd places all rented out on this estate. Some are in the main hall and others in the coach house, stable block and assorted cottages and farm buildings dotted about.
Midweek, a visit to my Mum and Dad, who now live less than an hour away, was much needed. Mum got my washing done, fed me, sat me down to watch an escapist film and sent me back home with all sorts of goodies. That was real.
The job hunting has clarified something for me and I think it is based on all the blessed forms to be filled in and hoops to be jumped through…I am a self employed lass at heart. So I have created some handmade cards and started advertising myself as a ‘Home Service’…think Mary Poppins. Anything from cleaning to decorating, right through to cooking and baby sitting. I had a think you see and what is real are the things that I can do right here, right now. I can do accounts and finances, but why would anyone let me loose on those when I am in a foreign country and I am an unknown? If I start by being of service; work, smile, gain trust, talk to folk and get to know those in this farming community, then I can expand my services.
With the kindness of strangers; my cards are being handed out, helpful tips are being shared (along with some much needed local knowledge), decorating work is being promised, I was given a yummy piece of chocolate cake lovingly made by a neighbour’s young daughter last night, I have been gifted a beautiful rose bush for my patio, along with a thoughtful lavender plant (they are alongside a pale pink geranium from my Mum), friendly greetings are called out as I go about my daily tasks, invitations are being issued for coffee, dinner, a visit to the top balcony on the coach house (the views are breathtaking), advice for joining local business groups and I have been driven up one of the mountains to see the valley from there. Kindness is flowing….
What is also very real here are the views from several five bar gates. I can see the cows and sheep in the fields, each afternoon I can hear the cows in the wooden barn opposite me, hear the fountain playing through my kitchen window and each evening I watch the swallows flying in formation and calling to each other as they cool off in the evening breeze, just before the bats start to fly in the dusky evening sky.
I am home.