Alone on a new path



The past several weeks have been difficult. This is an awkward post to write, considering that I am a very private person and not given to spilling my emotions publicly. So the fact is, Joe does not live here any more. He left, three weeks ago, with what he could fit into a few bags, offering no credible reason and departed without even bothering to say goodbye (or sorry). And while I’d sensed (with some confusion) the night before, that he could barely stand to be in the same room as me, I had not expected this. We never argued and as far as I was aware, had a good relationship. But it seems he’d planned it all for at least three weeks and even had a room in town pre-arranged. So I had been living in a fool’s paradise. Had I not confronted him that morning, he would have stayed for a bit longer, until it suited him. 

I kept my dignity and retired to my studio to let him pack. After all, what can you say? Since then, I’ve joined a few dots up and it’s left rather a nasty taste in my mouth. But thank goodness for my dear friends  - my  ‘sisters of the heart’ - who have been my constant support throughout.


When he left, I was cold with physical shock. But as the days went on, I realised that this is not the worst thing that’s ever happened to me. Once the numbness had worn off, I tried to hit the ground running, sort out what finances I could and  began working ten hour days in my studio, in an attempt to earn enough to keep the roof over my head. I’m bruised,  but not broken. As someone once said, ‘people have died, but not for love’ and I find I am enjoying my new found freedom and the space to do whatever I like. The old ‘me’ is returning - I’ve missed her.

Here’s the thing - long time readers of this blog will know that three months after moving into this cottage, in 2013, my darling partner Andy decided to leave this world, and took his life. Nothing can even come close to the pain I suffered then.



When you’ve stayed up all night because the love of your life has gone missing on a bleak, snowy winters night. When you’ve seen the sniffer dog following his scent across the fields and heard the rescue helicopter thumping overhead, doing a search and sweep. When a kind faced police woman tells you that a body has been found and you sink to your knees, wailing, wishing that a hole in the ground would swallow you up. When you survive the months of misery and loneliness afterwards - when you have been through all that and can still find joy in life. When all that happens, it seems that being lied to, deceived and manipulated are really, by comparison, quite small hurts. Although they are, of course, hurtful.

The last five and a half years just seem like a terrible and sad waste of time.


The last drops of summer

Summer is quietly slipping into autumn and there is a hint of exquisite melancholy to these last golden days.  We remember things; things that we said we would do in the early, hopeful days of Spring. Things we still might do, if we are allowed a few more precious days of benevolent weather. And underlying it all, a lurking fear of winters approaching with cold, dark creeping fingers.

And while the gold and the green will all too soon be replaced with turgid grey skies and bleak, bare naked earth, we will embrace this final little ‘inbetween’ season and tell ourselves, like children repeating a protective rhyme, that it is not too late. 


The storms

The strangest summer many of us have lived through is coming to an end. In Shropshire, we have had a couple of long, stormy nights after days of humid heat. The world - including our little secluded one - seems an uncertain place and I have found it hard to find words to place here, certainly nothing of note. I take refuge in my work, inconsequential as it is, finding small comforts in colours and textures. So have many women coped, during difficult times - the distraction of handiwork providing fleeting respite from troubles throughout the centuries. Despite everything, there is always this. 


All the lane awash

After the spring drought, we have had several days of regular rain, and not just regular - one shower so torrential that it was almost a 'white out' and a bout of storms, which was very welcome. There is nothing like like a good storm. A few days ago, we watched from my studio window as the thunder cracked overhead (leading to a brief power cut) and the lane outside swiftly became covered in a few inches of rapidly moving silty water.

Dramatic as it looks, once the clouds had passed, the lane was almost back to normal, thanks to the cottage being on a hill and good drainage. After a rather exciting evening, we had just sat down to dinner, when there was a scuffling in the wood burner flue and a muffled thump. We knew what it was at once. Despite a top cover, a starling had managed to get into the chimney. It flew straight to the window and seconds after I took this, was fluffing itself up on the fence, before flying off over the fields.