Tuesday, 29 May 2007

Catching my breath


Not everyone has a strong sense of home. For some, home is where they grew up. For others, it's where they hang their hat. I have had several homes, but so far the one that has meant the most has been the one where I lived at that moment - my nostalgia for homes past is limited. Arriving in Devon two years ago felt like I was moving to a different country, not county. It was and is so utterly different from my previous surroundings. I have been used to having farms on my doorstep, but not where farming is the mainstay for nearly all local people. So considering how people who have lived here the majority of their lives still see themselves as incomers, how come I feel so quickly at home? I suspect that the situation of the farm has a lot to do with it. The house is sheltered in a children's storybook way, sitting in a dip, nestling. When I walk the dogs I rarely move out of the farm boundaries, but I still see something new each time - a flower, a dip in the land, the shape of a tree, a gap in a hedge, a ditch running with fresh rainwater, a clump of frog spawn.
As you walk or drive down the grassy lane to the house there are terrific views in all directions; it makes me catch my breath every time. You can place yourself firmly in the season, the landscape and the OS map. The sense of place is very strong. And then there is all the work that needs to be done on the land and on the buildings. Facing you every morning as you throw open the curtains are immense tasks that will take years and see me move through all my middle years. This roots you too; tasks to be undertaken, improvements and restorations to be started and to be completed. And when you steal an unexpected sunny day from a forecast of rain, and lie in a meadow of pignut, speedwell, bugle and bluebells for some respite from fencing, you catch your breath again.

7 comments:

mountainear said...

What poetry there is in the words 'pignut, speedwell, bugle and bluebells'. That is how it is here.

We have 5 acres - not many, but enough - in a cleft in rolling hills. Yes, we are incomers, but now because we're here we are part of the history of this place. And we have planted trees which will be here when we have long gone. I can't explain my sense of belonging and the continuity of just being in this ancient landscape.

I look forward to seeing the pictures.

The thinker said...

Beautiful - sounds wonderful - we'll all be rushing down for a cream tea IF only you would start doing those too.
As to incomers - I've a cousin - ben in Devon for 50 years she still not seen as real 'Devonian'
I'm curious as to what you think of as 'middle years' - I ask as I'm not sure whether I now left them behind or still in the latter part of my middle years?!
'Fencing' you say - now which weapon is your prefered choice? Epee, Foil or Sabre?

The thinker said...

I've been meaning to say - I see that you have G Heyer listed on your book list.I am now re-reading them for the first time for 30 years. I think they have stood the test of time - elegant and funny.
Why do you (i.e. me) only see the typos after the comment has ben posted!

Mopsa said...

Mountainear - the slideshow of wildflowers is now up. I don't need to tell you how exciting it is to have such a nifty wee camera!
Thinker - middle years are a state of mind - I wouldn't dream of admitting it in public! OK 44.

mountainear said...

Beautiful slide show. Well worth the wait.

mutterings and meanderings said...

You are very, very lucky...

The thinker said...

I'm having such a LOT of trouble on my techie bits this week. posted comment but it shot away and disappeared! i think 44 a lovely age to be at - it's the other side of 54 that not so great.The slide show is really wonderful. congrats. I'll have to wonder just how you managed it and then look to my laruels - so to speak.