Friday, 7 February 2014
Away with the fairies?
I am so lucky - I have a bolt hole to which I occasionally escape. It is not far away and when I feel the need to be alone I just pack my rucksack with a few things and set off by bus. The bus drops me in the village at the end of a narrow lane and about half a mile or so down the lane is my sanctuary. It is very small, a converted farm building, with just a little living room with a wood burning stove and a tiny kitchen area where I cook on a little two-ring camping stove. My bed is on a mezzanine floor and the warmth from the wood burner keeps that cosy too and I can see the flickering light of the fire as I drop off to sleep. The building is made of stone and the windows allow plenty of light to come in, the floor is of old wooden boards and there are some traditional rugs and a sofa with lots of cushions, mostly with faded vintage fabric covers, along with a couple of patchwork quilts and crochet throws. There is a cushioned window seat where I can sit to read and I have a small table and a couple of chairs. It is all very peaceful and comfortable. Outside is a small sheltered area paved with mossy old bricks where I have a comfortable wooden seat and a little table and where in summer I might eat my meals or just sit admiring the distant views across the countryside. I am sure you will have seen pictures in magazines like Country Living of the sort of thing I mean.
When I escape there I spend much of my days walking in the surrounding countryside enjoying the different seasons or occasionally I might take the bus to the coast for a walk by the sea for a change. Or I might just stay at home and write or read or maybe do some knitting or even to do nothing at all. The village has a shop where I can buy what I need and since there is no electricity at my little house - so no fridge - I walk to the shop most days for fresh milk and whatever else I need. It's beautiful along the lane especially in spring when the frothing cow parsley fills the hedgerows and there are wild flowers too, primroses, celandines, blue bells and lady smocks each in their turn. I love it at any time of year as every season has something to enjoy. Sometimes I might spend a winter's afternoon reading by the fire with a cup of something hot to hand or maybe spend time cooking up things I like for my supper and not having to take anyone else's preferences into account! In summer I sometimes sit outside with my knitting or perhaps my pen and paper to write. No computers here of course!
Somehow I feel more in touch with Nature here, perhaps it is the lack of electricity and the fact that when it gets dark the tiny living area is lit only by candles and an old oil lamp along with the light from the fire and on summer evenings I am aware of the twilight gradually fading until the sky is deep indigo and sprinkled with stars and the bats are flitting about. There is something calming about living with natural light - short days and long evenings without the brightness of electric lights in winter and the longer days of summer when it gets dark so gradually and I am either outside or sitting with my book on the window seat catching the last rays of the sun and watching night gradually fall. It's all so natural to want to go to bed early in winter and to be more energetic and wakeful in the summer months.
Of course this is just what it sounds like - a daydream so that if I suddenly decide that maybe I would prefer a different bolt-hole somewhere else then I can change things instantly! I have always had a tendency to daydream and my daydreams have most often featured houses. Maybe this is because we never had a house of our own until I was married - my mother and I lived our lives in other people's homes and I shared a bedroom with her until I was 14 when she got a job in a house where I had my own room (as of course did she!) for the very first time. As a child when I visited a friend for the first time I always returned to regale my Mum with the details of the home and what it was furnished with. I have read recently that daydreaming is good for us and also makes us more creative so perhaps if I spend time doing so it is no bad thing. And as the South Pacific song says , "If you don't have a dream how you gonna have a dream come true?"!!
The photo is from "Little Grey Rabbit and the Wandering Hedgehog" a book I have had for more than 60 years and it tells the story of how she met the wandering hedgehog and befriended him, making him a warm coat out of patchwork so he would not be cold on his travels in winter. In this picture Hare has visited him to see what he is like and been persuaded to try a puff of the hedgehog's pipe filled with meadowsweet baccy and to see the pictures he dreams up in the smoke of the places he will visit and so on. I wonder if these days it would be taken as a hallucinogenic drug he was smoking and not just meadowsweet - or maybe meadowsweet IS hallucinogenic I don't know but as an innocent child I wouldn't have thought of this any more than I might have wondered if Noddy and Big Ears were gay - a word which had a totally different meaning then anyway!
So back to the title - am I away with the fairies as this place doesn't exist except in my imagination or is this just a harmless, stress reducing pastime? Do you ever join me in drifting off into a daydream? And if so what of do you dream I wonder.