Still here

So a while back I posted that I was expecting to be moving, on to pastures new and especially a new garden. I found it a hard post to write and was very emotionally as I walked round the garden taking my final photos. This promoted a niggle, called Uncertainty, to take up residence at the back of my mind, was this the right decision?

While this niggle was setting up camp, another called Doubt, asserted its presence leading to sleepless nights and anxiety about whether the Cottage that had started the whole house moving idea off was the right house for us? Yes it looked out at fields, but those fields rose up from the house and as it was pointed out I would no longer see my beloved hills. I hadn’t realised how much the hills meant to me until that point, I felt quite bereft. Yes the garden was bigger, longer and had a brook – the stuff of dream, maybe, but I just couldn’t see me in the garden. I’m a very visual person and have to be able to see how a room or part of the garden will look before I can make changes, whenever I try to short cut this process the result is just wrong. The only part I could visualise was the other side of the brook which wasn’t part of the deal. Yes it was a Cottage but the space was no bigger than  our current home and whilst we don’t need space, and indeed in a few years it will only be me and the cat, something was jarring at how much more I would be paying on the mortgage a month for a house that wasn’t any bigger and needed so much work. And that was the crunch point, it did need work and there wasn’t scope to make big changes due to the fall of the land, trust me, and then the words ‘subsidence’ and ‘underpinning’ were mentioned and that’s when Doubt and Uncertainty threw an all nighter.

So I pulled out of the move, sent Doubt and Uncertainty packing and slept like a log. At times like this I really appreciate the support of my family. The advice from my sons and my mother was wise and measured, they empowered me to stop the process of buying a house just because it felt wrong, a step that really surprised some of my work colleagues.

And I have no regrets. When I bought this house the intention was to stay here until the boys left school, they are now in their twenties. Firstly I couldn’t afford to move, then there was uncertainty about my job and what my new salary would be and then it was all sorted and I suppose I felt obliged to move. But finding myself faced with moving I realised that this house is home, the only house that has ever felt like home. Yes I have found my neighbours clearing their garden challenging but my shrubs are growing and they seem to be nice people, better the devil you know and all that.

My eldest suggested that if I was planning to stay for the foreseeable then I should view the house as if I had just moved in and think about what I would change.  After all, when I bought the house 13 years ago, it was as a home for myself and my sons.  Now it is the case that it is mainly a home for myself, and the cat, with my eldest here about 50% of the time so we use the house differently and there is potential to change the space.  We have already made a start with a new sewing room from my youngest’s now vacated bedroom.

In terms of the garden I am seeing it with fresh eyes.  Having more or less taken a year out of gardening and blogging I am coming back to both from a new perspective.  The garden had stopped providing me with a creative outlet and stress relief, in fact the garden and blogging were making me more stressed. They seemed to be inextricably entwined and just impossible.

I stopped blogging, reading blogs and really engaging with anything horticultural and this has freed up my mind which was crammed with so many ideas, many of them conflicting.  I have realised that my real love is foliage, the bigger the better, and some specific flowers mainly from bulbs.  As I have neglected the garden there is lots of tidying up to do, which I enjoy, and with my fresh eyes I am planning some changes – nothing major – just better.

So who knows you may find the odd blog post popping up from me over the coming months as I have fresh things to share.

Advertisements

20 Comments Add yours

  1. Jean says:

    I’m so glad you figured it all out and I’m looking forward to see your changes! This post has me thinking about my garden as well, hmm.

  2. Pam/Digging says:

    I like your son’s advice to look at your home and garden with fresh eyes, as if you’d just moved in, since you’re moving into a new phase of your life as well. And of course I love foliage too, so I’m with you on those changes to your garden! But most of all I’m glad you’re still here as an engaged member of the blogging community!

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Thanks Pam, deciding to come to the Austin fling is a big thing for me after the last couple of years

  3. rusty duck says:

    Sounds like your intuition was spot on. Good to see you back, even if only occasionally.

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi Jessica
      I enjoyed your recent post and I think a small germ of interest has returned

  4. This sounds hopeful. Not only Doubt and Uncertainty sent packing, but fresh inklings in the garden. I wish you a happy relaunch of your old home and garden….!

  5. ks says:

    I too almost moved from the house I had lived in for over 20 years, but the recession intervened and the housing market collapsed so I am still here. I feel now that it would have been a huge mistake in many ways so it was a happy accident that prevented me from something I now know I would have regretted. I still wish I had a bigger garden though ! I’m happy for you that you feel at peace with your decision.

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi ks
      I thought I wanted a bigger rural garden. But I don’t have time for a bigger garden and I became concerned about feeling isolated. The grass isn’t always greener on the other side

  6. Ogee says:

    Your house and garden scream “hurray!” They were both meant to be yours.

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Indeed and the garden is filling out. After all my efforts I think I should stay and see the results

  7. Cathy says:

    So nice to read a post from you again Helen! Especially such a brave one. You were the first blogger I ‘discovered’ when I started. I’ve also been a bit overwhelmed by the blogging/gardening thing – and I haven’t even got a full-time job! I’ve found that sometimes blogging has actually stopped me gardening, which is totally the wrong way round! It seems to me you’ve made a wonderful decision … I sold a house based on a sequence of events that took me over and I still remember how much I cryed when the sale went through. We have to follow our hearts more, and you are intuitive enough to recognise that! I’ve so enjoyed your garden and I do look forward to seeing occasional posts about your new foliage world. Sorry I don’t visit often enough. But I wish you great joy of your new universe (complete with sewing room!)

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Thank you Cathy, yes following your heart and not your head isn’t always easy.

  8. Gail says:

    Helen, Welcome back! I’ve enjoyed seeing your creative needlework and missed your garden. Looking forward to a face to face visit in Austin. xogail

  9. Anna says:

    I’m so glad that you feel that you’ve made the right decision Helen. ‘Subsidence’ and underpinning are alarming and costly words and more than enough to make anyone waver and as for brooks there is always the risk that they can babble over. What an excellent suggestion from your son. Instead of the trauma of moving you can have fun adjusting your present home to meet your present/future needs and continue to gaze to your heart’s content over your beloved hills.

  10. Tracy says:

    You made a good decision. I’ve missed your blog.

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Thanks Tracy

  11. Cathy says:

    It was so interesting to read about your decision and all the thought processes involved – it was a brave decision considering the point you were at with houses and made that heart over head decision much harder. Having ignored the heart for so long when I was still working I can vouch for the lightness of spirit once heart wins over head. Well done, and welcome back, even if only occasionally – many bloggers began their journey with you, something you can be proud of

  12. Caro says:

    Your son sounds so thoughtful and calming by saying exactly the right thing. His words have made me look at my home in a new light as I’ve spent years longing to be out of London, in a cottage with a large garden. It’s an unaffordable dream but I have a lovely cosy flat here with two outside spaces to call my own. The relief when you decided not to go ahead must have been palpable. Well done, and pleased to know you’ll be occasionally blogging as well.

  13. karen says:

    Sounds like your instincts were right. Your son sounds a very sensible and wise young man. We too are changing our house about and re-purposing some of the rooms. The baby room is now a second office for my youngest who is attending uni whilst living at home. I’m re-doing the inside of my potting shed to make it more cosy. It has got completely cluttered over the summer with everything just being thrown in. Good luck with all your projects. Nice to see you blogging again Helen x

  14. Chris says:

    Great writing Helen. We go along for a few years then change confronts us and demands lots of thinking. We need time out to assess where we are and where we should head next. I always enjoy your thoughtful, honest posts.
    All the best, Chris.

Please feel free to leave comments as its always lovely to get feedback. I try to respond to comments as much as possible but sometimes life and work get in the way but I will do my best to respond especially if your comment is a question.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s