17.5.12

Packing up the cottage







Oh little cottage. I knew as soon as I stepped over your threshold ten years ago, that you were far too small for us. Two tall people - one exceptionally tall - and all my *stuff*. But I fell in love with your 240 year old stone flagged floor, your vintage cast iron woodburner (which has caused more than one chimney fire), your characterful beams.   Who knew that we would mould ourselves so snugly into you and fit even more *stuff* into your many corners and up the walls? 




Looking back as I pack up my thousands of beloved books, I find it incredible that we've managed to live in such cramped - if picturesque - conditions for so long. There is no way of stretching or moving with ease, no comfortable head height. Indeed, there is an ancient original beam (I think it basically holds you together), which has knocked poor Andy's head many a time.



Not forgetting the time I fell down your quaintly narrow, winding stairs and almost broke my neck one Christmas Eve.




My book collection seems to have mysteriously doubled in size. Ten years of village fete book stalls.






 So now, at last,  we are finally on the move. Paintwork is being re-touched (though goodness knows, you weren't exactly in tip-top shape when we first moved in).


 


Time to cull some old cricket bats and donate them to the village fete jumble. There will be more cricket one day, another place and time. These old soldiers have done their time.



Paperwork is sorted.




With a certain ginger secretary lending a helping paw.





 We share  Rodney's bonfire across the way. Taking him tea and biscuits later by way of a thank you.



         



As I continue to pack up (two weeks so far and counting) I  find treasures I packed away for safety ten years ago, which are only seeing the light of day now. 






When will it all end?



 


Where are we going?




To the glorious, bosomy county of Shropshire.  If I ever finish packing, that is.

39 comments:

yvette said...

ah Gretel,so many memories,and leaving your lovely little cottage....but you will keep all your memories with you. (when we left our old home after 27 years, I felt I was leaving something behind, but I can honestly say, you don't) Good luck to you and Andy and pussies. I look forward to your next posts :)
Lots of Love Yvette XX

janet said...

Dear Gretel,

It was your description of that sweet little cottage that got my attention 2 1/2 years ago when I e-mailed you via Etsy..just to say "Hello". Look where it has taken our friendship...I will miss it.

Looking forward to lot's of photo's and stories of Shropshire.

Wishing for a smooth transition for you, Andy and the felines.

janet xox

Su said...

Oh I remember what you're going through well as I moved from my low little cottage 4 years ago. The packing seemed endless, but I got there eventually, as will you. And then a new part of your life will start :-)

Soozcat said...

Ah, little cottage. You made it very cozy, and no doubt you'll make your new digs just as inviting.

Hard to move, though. It always is, even when you look forward to the new place. It feels like sifting through the soul.

Gerry Snape said...

with a gorgeous secretary like that super ginger....all will be well!!

Bee said...

If you finish packing????
I hope that you have lots of glorious space in Shropshire, but I can't help but think that your belongings might easily expand to fit something castle-size!

Jane Moxey said...

Oh! that looks like Wrekin Hill in the picture. We lived in Donnington many many hears ago and loved Shrewsbury too. (Dad in the army at the RAOC Depot there) Lovely countryside as I recall! I'm remembering wonderful bike rides on country lanes! Good luck with the move. Looks like you are making progress!

Merisi said...

You have already managed quite a bit of packing!
So good to know that the Ginger Secretary of Moving is keeping a watchful eye on your treasures.
All the best wishes,
Merisi

elizabeth said...

I think you must be sad and happy at the same time.....
so many memories and now a new adventure.
Frances told me so much about you!

rossichka said...

Dear Gretel,it's a serious step in life - to change the place of living. Maybe now you feel bored by all the endless packing, later you'll be tired by the travelling, but eventually, when these weeks are behind your backs and you spend your first night at the new house, listening to the new sounds and watching the new shadows, you'll feel relieved and calm... That's how I feel things...
Your sentimental memories of the cottage will always be with you - not only in your heart and mind, but also in this lovely blog - in all the stories about it and in the numerous photos that had been taken to show something else, but you'll discover in them your sweet little home, as well.
Have a successful move, take care and thank you for finding time to write this post for us!Best wishes to you and Andy! x

raralee said...

My hubbie and I are doing the opposite, moving from our big home to a smaller one! I too have thousands of books, tons of craft stuff and squillions of kitcheny things. This happened 8 years ago when down to only one child at home we moved from an even bigger country house to this town one, now I need to cull the things even further! At least this time there are not 4 farm sheds to consider, just one big shed, under the house, in the roof space and in the house itself!It's soo hard deciding what to give up but I am desperately trying to squeeze as much in as possible.

Lin said...

All those boxes....such chaos--it's a cat's dream! They love all the madness of moving, don't they?

My, that is a lovely cottage. I hope the new place is half as charming! I look forward to seeing photos of it when you get all settled in.

Wow. You really do have lots of books! :0

Frances said...

Well Gretel, as you might expect as I read through this post, my eyes grew just a bit damp. It was great to see these photos of a very special space lived in by two people whom I feel so very fortunate to have visited.

I have some fine memories of that staircase, with books, your cherry chocolate cake, Andy's way of magicking up a wonderful indoors picnic after a grand tour of beautiful green landscapes and ancient churches, meeting each one of those cats, seeing the window above your worktable, seeing the bikes. Gosh, I could go on for a very long time.

I wish you all great happiness in your new home, and know that so many beautiful Shropshire memories are just waiting to develop.

Love to you and Andy, xo

Kris Keese said...

Dear Gretel,
Can't wait to see you settled. We moved ten years ago from a large five bedroom home in California to a smaller beach home in New England. We still haven't unpacked everything (mostly books) just because we don't have room.
I am so glad that you will have more room to create but I am also sad to see you leave your little cottage.

Thanks for letting us all know! Praying for you and your move.

d. moll, l.ac. said...

I hope you are renting a truck and not hauling that lot with a thousand trips on the motorbike....

Magic Cochin said...

Sending you good wishes for your move.
Your post struck a chord... it showed me what it's going to be like if/when we eventually move on to pastures new. Not something I plan to do soon, but one day I will. And I'll have boxes of books and stuff that's never been unpacked from the last move!

I also have a very tall person who bangs his head on low beams (it seemed almost impossible to find a house without low beams in Suffolk!!!) and I have a Ginger Assistant to hide in boxes (or get shut in the garage - like last night!)

Looking forward to seeing where you move to.
Celia
x

Textureknit said...

What an adorable cottage, so much more character than my 11 year old house with paper thin walls that you can't hang a curtain pole for fear it will fall down!!

So so many books oh my goodness.

Good luck with the move and eventual unpacking. But I have a feeling the new house/location will be equally spectacular.

Sara

ted and bunny said...

oh leaving...beginning...all those boxes...and STILL the fruitbowl stays piled high!
xx

Nancy said...

I hate moving and I love moving. The nice thing about reading about you is knowin gthat whereever you go you will make a home out of your new house. You seem to carry home in your heart. I eagerly await pictures of your new home while enjoying the last of your home there.

BumbleVee said...

ohhhh, I feel a certain kinship with you and the photos of boxes as I'm packing up the main floor in preparation for the gutting and renovation ....... my house is looking a bit the same ...not quite so many book boxes though...hahahha... mine have more dolls and bears... oh, and kitchen utensils and 'stuff'... now if I just had a ginger secretary to keep me organized, all would be perfect. Well, with the exception of poor Greg's allergies I guess... so I can't go there....darn it. Or I would ...I'd have 5 secretaries ... a secretarial pool as it were... yes I would.

It'll all be so exciting to move to your new place ... (I'll just be moving back upstairs again when it's over here... several months down the road) explore new walking and running trails....ohhh.... exciting for sure.... good luck with it all

big hugs,

Vee

mountainear said...

Wishing you the very best in your moving venture - hope you will be very happy in Shropshire. We are about a kilometre into Wales, very much border-landers. Shrewsbury is 30 minutes away. We've been here 9 years now and wonder why we didn't make the move years ago.

Can only advise that you don't put too many books in a box (think of the weight) and remember that the tea bags, cups and kettle are last on the van and first off.

Lauren Finley/www.wordpress.com said...

Wishing you happiness and roominess in Shropshire! My idea of Shropshire is from what I have seen on Cadfael. Guessing it has changed a bit since then.
BTW, found "Molly Makes" in Atlanta! and was happy to see your article. I made a little dog...he is rather comical! Thanks for sharing your technique.

Trailshome said...

Such a lot of living, you've done in that tiny little cottage. I hope your life expands to fill every corner of your new home, and even more. We will look forward to reading of your new adventures. Thanks for taking us along on the ride.

rachel said...

Painfully familiar, all this packing, with cats bottom-testing everything. And when you arrive, you have it all to unpack! But it's going to be wonderful.....

Rachael Rabbit said...

Part of me loves the process of packing up neatly and moving into a new space. I think that was before the kids came along though when I had time to think ... we plan to stay here for 20 years at least ... I wish you well in your move - can't wait to see how you settle in.

Elizabeth Musgrave said...

So much strikes a chord here and we have the boxes still unpacked from the last time (nearly seven years ago now). But you are moving to Shropshire! That is our neck of the woods, like mountainear, just over the border. Very best of luck with the move and when you are in and half unpacked you must come over into Wales for a cup of tea!

Caroline B said...

Good luck with the move - I hope you are moving to somewhere with just as much character but perhaps a bit more space! I don't envy you packing all that stuff (gives me an inkling of what it will be like if we ever move from here!) but on the plus side, it's always great to unpack somewhere new and have everything tidy and fresh...for a while anyway!

Claire said...

Oh my Gretel, packing and moving aaargh!!!
You think you'll never see the end of it, but you have been busy.......
Amazing how much you can stow away in a wee, cottage......
After 20+ moves, you would think I'd have moving house down pat, but nope, it never ceases to amaze me how I still can't finish one room before moving onto the next!!

Wishing you and Andy all the very best for the next chapter in Shropshire......oooh, I just love saying that word. Look forward to reading about your new home when you've moved, unpacked and settled in.

Claire x

Menopausalmusing said...

Ah yes, the nitty gritty of moving........ and realising just how much stuff you have. What a lovely picture of your big chap, he looks as if he is dipping a wand into soapy water to blow bubbles in amongst the mayhem. (It would be a brilliant coping mechanism don't you think?) I clicked on the picture to find out that he was painting! I love it when cats sit on paperwork/books - when our moggy does it we always talk about him using his "magic scanner" to read...........! Good luck with your move and hope it all goes well.

Vintage Jane said...

Your move will surely have its ups and downs but it will all be worth it. Wishing you and Andy all the very best in your new home. Look forward to reading more. M xx

Frances Tyrrell said...

Dear Gretel, I do wish you both well in your move and for smooth sailing in all the ups and downs of packing, transporting and moving in (with blessings to the cats too). I love your loving tribute to the little house that has been your haven and creative centre all these years.

Francie...The Scented Cottage Studio said...

ohhhh Gretel... looking forward to seeing your new home ! I don't even want to think about how we would try to move all this stuff, so do not envy you .
(())

Cindy Garber Iverson said...

What a delightful homage to your little cottage that has been home for the last decade. I love how your ginger tabby is "assisting" in the packing. We have a ginger that does the same thing with everything we do. I promise there is an end to all the packing. And soon you'll be off to Shropshire.

Cindy at Rosehaven Cottage

Val Reaves said...

Moving is never easy...but I also hope your transition is smooth. Thank you for the pictures and your homage to your cottage! I'll keep a good thought for you both and the "assistants" as well!
Val in Kansas, USA

Jeri Landers said...

I will miss that little cottage too, seeing it so often in your posts. But now, on to bigger and better things, taller ceilings and elbow room. It is so much more fun emptying the boxes than filling them. Happy moving day to you both!

rossichka said...

Hoping you've already moved! Hoping also you are both in a good mood!:)

I just wanted to send you my "hello" on a bunch of sun rays!:)

rossichka said...

Hoping you've already moved! Hoping also that you are both in a good mood!
Just wanted to send my "hello!" on a bunch of hot sun rays!:))))

Cotswoldgent said...

Hey Gretel you can't get away that easily, my sister lives in SALOP he he! Wishing you well, don't worry, I'll keep the cotswold thing going. CG x

Cotswoldgent said...

Hey Gretel you can't get away that easily, my sister lives in SALOP he he! Wishing you well, don't worry, I'll keep the cotswold thing going. CG x