This is how it felt…

…back at the beginning of this Jam Jar Dream, the one we’re already living, this sensation of wanting to capture the movement of my mind but having no time or space to do so. We did actually manage to record a number of video diaries at the beginning – I think there are nearly 10 that I did in the Black Cat Flat/Hot Flat/Tiny Flat whatever we call it. I’m glad because without them that time would be entirely foreign. Just looking at the house now it becomes harder and harder to remember what it was like when we moved in, let alone the experience of walking in for the first time. I recently rediscovered an email chain I had completely forgotten, a hurt that I had consigned to forgotten history. But it shouldn’t be forgotten. It’s necessary to remember the reluctant support we were given as much as it’s necessary to remember what the house was when we took it on. Barely even a house at that point. We replaced the roof, ripped out the 50 year old electrics, put the first ever plumbing into the main part of the house, treated the wood, tore away the nicotine-yellowed plaster, broke down the ceilings to remove the tonnage of dust and rubbish, saved the windows, pulled out the awful ‘modern’ fireplaces and restored them to former glory, brought the bones and flesh of the house to the fore, let it breathe, let it recover, let it become a home again. And forget talking about the garden, we’ll be here forever. I am a stuck record on this but only because I don’t want to allow myself to disregard the achievements we’ve made as I do with all my successes, discarding them in fear that allowing myself pride necessarily creates opportunity for the fall. Which is utter bullshit. Pride is wonderful, it’s the only thing that makes growth possible, positive growth at least, which is the only kind I’m interested in. Without pride I do as I have done and begin every day from square -1, just in case inadvertent arrogance does any damage. But returning again and again to the things we’ve done already in this house is the best way I know to remind myself time and again that we have already won, that we have already played the risk and drawn the winning hand. That all we’re doing now is choosing the moment to take that success and enjoy it, knowing that whatever might happen next we can tackle and overcome because we’ll never be back to square -1 again. If the worst was to happen and our French dream turns out to be a wisp of fantasy, we’re still not returning to square 1. If we were to discover that nobody was ever interested in booking time with us, if we run out the precious savings that we hold back and find ourselves in three or four years looking at zero bookings, zero savings and zero ability to continue on as we are, we still won’t be returning to square 1. We’ll still have our house. We’ll still have each other. We’ll still be able to take control and make decisions about the direction of our lives. They may have to be smaller but we’ve already looked at the possibilities for the worst case scenario and if things don’t work out and we have to settle for a quiet life owning a small house on the Isle of Wight working in simple jobs while I write in the margins and we can’t holiday or spend but we do have our family and time together, we’ll never once spend a moment regretting our decision to go all in on the French dream.



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