Moving Week

Background music: Get back up (by Silent Partner)


The countdown has well and truly (most definitely – just so we’re clear here) begun.

It is moving week, oh glorious ones!

Quick recap (or long-story-short) for those who are new here, or don’t have social media (IG friends, I apologise – I'm more than sure you’ve heard a variation of this many times over…please feel free to skip), or do have social media but have missed my (sometimes panicked, sometimes excitable, sometimes terse) updates:

We (that is, the boy and I – I'm not referring to myself in some strange third-person-esque narrative) are moving to Sheffield (from Nottingham, in case you weren't sure of that part either).

Recap done.

And what will we be doing in Sheffield, you ask? Well, the boy has got himself a (hot) spot on an MA (that he’s very excited about), and I'm going to be working.

More of that…now.

As of this moment I don’t have a job, and I'm not really sure when I’ll get one (note: being positive – I didn't say if I get one…turn up for the books). Main reason being that it is me doing the searching, and I have no idea what I'm looking for (“surprise surprise!” sighs everyone who knows me).

*Lists things I like*

Writing 

(this here is a piece that some call stream-of-consciousness, whereas I call it chuck-thoughts-down-on-the-page-ness)

Social media 

(specifics? Twitter. Instagram. The former for more in the moment thought-chucking), the latter more deliberate, delve-deep sharing)

Community 

(the majority of whom I have found via the above combined)

Connection 

(face-to-face – if you’re asking my preference, that’ll be over cake – or via the written word in any and all the forms)

Promoting local 

(because it’s marvellous to be able to support people doing their shizz)

Exploring 

(on foot is my fave way to do so. Preferably in wellies along a beach, or in whatever trainers I own – sort of – over a mountain, but it’s ok if not. I suppose)

Nature 

(kind of goes hand-in-hand with the above, because I'm normally exploring in nature)

(Did I mention eating cake?)

History 

(and by that I mainly mean local, again – who doesn't love learning about where they live?! Just me?)

Smiling 

(and I’m throwing dancing in, too. And music, to dance to. So, smiling whilst dancing to music. Prince, if you’re asking)

Listening to people’s stories 

(because, friends, there is nothing on this earth more fascinating than you. Even volcanoes, moonwalking (of either kind), jellyfish (hmmmm, wait…), and things like that)

Blue skies 

(I know, I’m moving up North. But, it doesn’t hurt to be optimistic, does it?)

And so, yeah – if you can figure out a way to tie all that together, and point out a theme, or a ‘I know what she’ll be good at!’ role, that’d be marvellous. I’ve kind of got as far as: smiling whilst dancing outside in a field, in front of a castle, wearing a poster that promotes the local-produce-stocked café inside (cake), encouraging people who walk past with let’s-get-to-know-each-other-chatter to head inside and eat (cake), whilst tweeting about how good the food (cake) is, and writing words on a secretly-stashed pad of paper (or, my phone, more likely) that’ll be later turned into a blog post to inspire more people to visit and/or eat local (cake). 

Whaddya reckon?

Back to the moving-week story.

The next 5 days will mostly be dedicated to packing all the miscellaneous bits and bobs still hanging around that we don’t necessarily need but are sure we can find reasons to keep (a piece of bubble wrap that isn't large enough to wrap around anything? It’ll come in handy for stress relief, hurrah!), eating what’s left in the cupboards/fridge/freezer, bar the basics we’ll be taking with us (you guys, we already know we’re going to be buying frozen pizza and fries on Saturday to have for dins because we’ll FINALLY have a working oven – although, saying that, I hope they haven’t switched the leccy off…), making a few last-time trips to things I want to see (probably Wilkos for pic n’ mix), and quite literally counting down the minutes (6929) until Saturday morning when we head out to pick up the van, ready to empty Eric-the-motorhome’s insides into it, before doing the final ‘do we need this?’ unpacking from our room in halls (monstrous green wall, be gone!), and waving goodbye to the past three years.

Exciting, right?

(She says, through clenched-thanks-to-the-nerves teeth)

Right!

Local: Belvoir

Background music: Waltz of the Flowers (by Tchaikovsky)


Disclaimer (because I wouldn't want you to think otherwise): I cannot drive.

I realise there have been times before (here and across social meeds) when I've spoken about getting out and about – exploring one’s surroundings, and the further afield – without an explanation as to how I have done so (although do let the point be stressed that more often than not, when the journeys are short or manageable-by-foot, I walk) – and, so, for transparency's sake...

This particular exploration – acted out in the fields surrounding Belvoir (yes, that one...of the 'Fruit Farms' fame) – was arrived at via Erica (the boy’s Polo), of whom I was a slightly-peeved passenger (thanks to my I-couldn't-hide-it frustration over changed plans – yup, I can be a right proper Madam when I want to be – paired with the cricket blaring from my ride’s speakers), on a warm – and windy, as is this area’s, and it’s neighbouring one’s, weather default – Saturday.

Forever of a traveller/student-budget mind-set, we chose not to venture into the castle itself (you won’t get us to part with our pennies that easily) but, instead, parked-up outside a row of beautiful, stone-exterior cottages in the village of Woolsthorpe, near their teeny-tiny general store, and followed the road on foot around the corner, past the local watering hole (check it out – swish site) and up a fairly hard-to-climb-upright hill, weaving our way across thistle-strewn grass, and settling ourselves on the least-frequented-of-flora patch with views of the castle, church, fields (and fields, and fields), and a wedding party for company.

After stuffing our 'is it lunch yet?' faces with Lidl-bought pastries - caught-around-the-edge cheese twists, and two croissants - plain for moi, and (slightly-burnt) chocolate for the boy (although only the former were devoured on the hill - the latter took the journey back home with us, to later be gobbled up with tea and coffee) - we ventured off through the to-our-left trees, towards a lone, shorn-to-the-skin sheep who startled at our presence, clambering his way through the wooden frame of a nearby protected tree. Light footsteps in tow, we darted across her path, heading towards a tree whose patterned-bark mirrored that of weathered-by-the-years skin of a wise-to-the-world elder (who seemed ready to spill all of his secrets) and upon whose trunk I perched in aid of a not-so-great photograph the boy snapped (one I decided not to share here!).

Upon following a loose-surfaced road that wound between the reach-to-the-stars tree branches, the landscape opened up and out onto more rolling fields and a beckoned-us-towards-it lake whose banks were littered with fishermen, their tents pitched and rods perched, facial expressions resting on a kind of ‘come on!’ exasperation. A fence divided us and the animals – dozens of sheep and their young grazing, and nuzzling, or stood with their sides pressed up against the trunk-lined wood to reap reward in the form of shade provided by the green leaves. To our left a track led off towards a white ‘lakeside weddings’ marquee that stood brazenly – no camouflage here – by the water’s edge, the area abuzz with a furious ‘we must get prepared’-ness, letting us know the bride and her groom would soon be on their way. We stood awhile, scanning the horizon, our eyes caught by birds in flight, sheep making their merry way up the hillsides, and the odd car carrying rosy-cheeked occupants.

Knowing we’d gone as far as we could – because stumbling upon the ‘A’ road, whose murmur of traffic-topped-tarmac had begun to meet our ears, didn't sound quite so appealing a prospect – we turned back towards the way from whence we’d wandered, our skin a little stickier than it had been on the sloping trek downwards, our water bottle near-on empty, and our faces flushed with nurtured-by-nature smiles. Past the sheep – many of whose far-off bleating lullabied our journey – we went, fanning the heat away with desperate-to-make-a-difference hands, and disrupting the quiet air with our laughter-sprinkled conversation, and the occasional 'click!' of a camera. Up and over the hill we travelled, meeting our newly-made-forest-friends with ‘ah, you look familiar!’ smiles, and navigating our way back to the castle view (one last stop to take it all in) before we trundled - in a zigzag: it makes slopes easier to negotiate! - down and out along the road once more, to find the general store closed (‘darn it!’, I cried, for I’d wanted a sweet-treat-for-my-sweaty-belly ice-cream!), and Erica’s interior mirage-warping in the heat.


Now to you:

Share with me a local wonder, friends, and let's adventure there together via our (vast and sunshine-speckled) imaginations! If you've written about one on your own site, or via some other means, be sure to link me up (and don't you worry about any html nonsense that might (well, most probably will!) occur - any links that don't appear 'proper' will be copied and pasted - I'm rather deft with the ol' 'ctrl a', 'ctrl c' and 'ctrl v'!).

On graduating

It was a day to celebrate as a family.

Up like the larks, chirping merry dawn choruses, and punctuating the thin (thankfully sunshine-lit) early morning air with cheer-filled smiles, and nervous, ‘where do we go?’ laughter.

Feet treading through soft dew-topped grass with spiked heels, cursing mud, searching out pathways.

(always searching)

Stopping to capture a moment here and there, clasping hands to waists, grappling with (poorly) perched hats, and grasping at robes that slipped, momentarily clutching at one’s neck, pleading its escape.

Racing heartbeats and mile-a-minute chatter, blurred minutes sat and blink-and-you’ll-miss-it handshakes.

Cardboard.

My name.

Graduate.


What did you learn about yourself?” he asked, almost with trepidation, the softly-spoken way the words left his tongue a suggestion that he was bracing himself for a sour retort (which I could not blame him for, because responses to questions about my university experience were all-too-often choked-out and burnt with frustration).

That I’m stronger than I thought I was” I delivered – almost as soon as his question hit the air – with assurance, at a slightly-above-average volume, the words round, full, and impregnated with pride.

Oh?” he startled, a genuine, relief-filled smile quickly spreading to the corners of his previously ‘what will she say?’ eyes. “That’s great!”

And I laughed. Because, he was right.

It is.


And now, to you:

What have you learned about yourself recently, my dearest ones?

Sunshine

"Familiar or not, getting outside and into nature has a way of shaking up one's insides"

There is something so invigoratingly-uplifting about spending time in our wild outdoors, pounding the sometimes concrete-and-loose-stone-d, sometimes grass, other times bare-as-it-was-born earth with the slap-tread-stomp of our footsteps. Familiar or not, getting outside and into nature has a way of shaking up one's insides - tugging loose the knots of worry, pain, or bored-out-of-your-mind frustration that can appear when a particular way of living (a way you aren't entirely enamoured with) becomes routine – or turning one’s day (or, as is often my case, frown) upside down.

When the sun comes out, an excited 'could it be?' escapes my (taught, pursed) lips, and a small smile spreads, upturning corners and birthing happy-to-see-you eyes. My day takes on a different kind of feeling - from one that has settled itself into the now accustomed-to soft sigh of 'this again' to an amped-up roar of a 'let's make today happen!' peppered with tingling toes, heart knock-knock-knocking, and an insatiable thirst for life. When the sun comes out, I pack up my bag (camera nestled deep inside), inhale the stale, and exhale an almighty gust of wind that loops itself under my arms and drives my feet forward, catapulting me out the door.


"I slipped quietly between the shadows of towering trees, my footsteps soft and forgiving"

On Wednesday, yellow-hot, ‘can you forgive me for the grey?’ rays met my eyes closed, tilted-towards-the-sky face, beckoning me to join the outside-my-window world with its summer promise of music-to-my-ears bird chirrups and the sweet smells of warmed-through air.

I took to the pavements with a gusto-and-a-half, the heart on my sleeve offering up smiles and murmurs of joy and happiness. Along I shuffled (my steps slow to soak up the surroundings), enjoying the company of nature’s most rewarding-for-the-eyes palette of blues and greens and flashes of jewel hues that decorated bushes, trailed along walls, crawled up the sides of buildings, and darted across fields of grass.

After a magical encounterwhen the air hummed with a heady mixture of breathless wonder and hold-my-gaze curiosity – I slipped quietly between the shadows of towering trees, my footsteps soft and forgiving, stealing glimpses of the yellowed-façade, and breathing in the silence (that was occasionally punctuated by children’s grown-from-the-belly laughter), my camera lens tallying up the moments-after-moments that my eyes – alert and awakened – darted between.

And then…hope blossomed – its petals unfurling within my chest, relieving the weight that had buried itself deep, restricting the room to breathe – and I felt something inside of me shift, felt the worries that had flooded my body – seeped into my blood – begin to dissipate and expel themselves from my skin where the sun touched. I stood, in that moment, feeling comforted. Happy. My mind a whir-a-minute machine of thoughts and ideas and what-could-be’s.

So much promise.


Friends -

What does getting out in the sunshine mean to you? Are you one for warm weather, or does rain-drenched skin, cool to the bone, appeal more? 

Starting anew

There is a feeling you and I both know well - a feeling that lies, sometimes dormant, often bubbling, in the soft depths of our stomachs - whose presence is so powerful it can immobilise us with just the faint whisper of an appearance.

Fear.

For so long now (in fact, I'd hasten to add, for too long now), fear has ruled my head and heart. What started with self-imposed writer's block back in January snowballed into a black space of nothingness into which worries and emotions were poured - their aggregate force settling itself under my skin as the black-shadows of fear - and ended with 6 months of silence.

It began as just a flutter - an anxious, what's-going-on-here tug that bowed my head...made me miss a step or two. But, then? It grew. And, as fear does, it stuck around - becoming a consistent, lingering whiff of what if's and why bother's and quiet exhales of promised disappearances, and of deceptive brief partings that ended with it's inevitable slow creep back into my world; light steps that tickled goosebumps from my skin, straightened my back lumbar by lumbar, and clouded my mind with poor judgements and I can't's.

And so, I gave in.

I let the skies cave and close, and dimmed my lights, becoming what (I convinced myself) it had wanted from me all along: a shackled-by-comparing-myself-to-all-the-others creature around whom walls were built, for whom doors were locked, and - thus - hope was shut out. 

Until.

A crack was split-through by the words of a community I adore, appreciate, and admire with a fiery passion that stirs my blood, and stacks my bones, and boosts me high-high-higher.

Words that made me realise that I just couldn't stand for it any longer.

Determination began to build - in almost-too-small-to-be-aware-of-their-existence increments - that gathered a force of its own. My thoughts shifted, and I came to understand that my viewing fear as just the enemy - an all-encompassing figure of great strength, that bent and shifted and manoeuvred me without reason - was my downfall. Because, in reality, it is not that fear has to be on one end of my scale, and being/doing/succeeding on the other; my fear can be used to propel my actions forward.

And so, I let it. 

I'm here.

It's no less scary. It might even be more so. But these butterflies that flap, and flurry, and cause ripples of tear-through-my-heart-anxiety? They won't settle unless I encourage them to. And the best way for me to do so? To take this step. 

To start anew.


With great thanks to this piece from Esmé, by which I was encouraged to record audio of my post.