The Struggle

My heart is racing. I am panicked. We’ve been here twice before. Concentrated research into a new area that promises us a future and the life we want. This time it’s North Pembrokeshire, Wales. The end of the line. Facing out to Ireland and the Atlantic. I’m vulnerable to disappointment. Half expecting the grey wet reality to underwhelm, and the tourist guide listings of attractions to disappoint. It’s not helped by the fact that the new promise land is so close by the first, the Wye Valley. How quickly our confidence dissolved upon exploring on foot and in car what we had been excited about in front of the laptop.

I’m snatching half an hour between the kids’ bath and making dinner to record my angst because yet again things are moving at incredible speeds – in my head at least! It started with the New Year and the oath to cleave, commit, be decisive, to simplify. Documentaries on minimalism and veganism. Going vegan overnight. Talking again about sustainable living. Growing veg in a greenhouse. Solar power and wind power. City, town, or village. The mountains or the coast. Homeschooling or not. Portland USA, Glasgow, The Midlands, the North, the Isle of Wight (again). Tiny living. Boat living.

A Rightmove search can be the death of a new plan. We’re looking for land for our own new build, or a bungalow or cottage to extend/rebuild. Somewhere rural. Not even in a village. With neighbours we can see from an acre or two away. Is our budget going to cut it? Are there even plots available? Would north Devon be a better option? The Lake District? The driving time from the Midlands is going to cause upset for family, especially after several years with us on their doorstep.

Is the landscape too flat? Are the cliffs too dangerous for the kids? The hills too desolate? The slopes too steep to climb? The towns too far apart?

Why hadn’t we thought about building in cob before, when it offers a cheap, easy building solution? A material we could master ourselves. An organic curved rough natural home. Perfect for us. But cladding it with polystyrene to meet building regs? What other compromises would be needed? Are we too late to the party?

Eco villages, whole food stores, indications of where the new movement is at. But we’ll need a primary school nearby too.

I’m dying inside not being able to move forward. Doubting, floating. Life halts yearned for progress. Priority DIY on Jam Jar bodge house, Ben’s new video games journalism, and bringing our new business to life. And every day the pressure of multi-generational living, grieving for the dreamlife that was lost and coming to terms with the deeper loss that means, and a new baby who has been yelling for me for the last ten minutes. The desperate impatience for the fresh start. The desire to make sweeping changes to the way we live, in tension with the need for stasis, forebearance, a bit more hard graft, and then nothing left to do but wait, hanging on the whim of potential buyers. Willing Jam Jar house to sell.

~J

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