keeping cool

The sun has shone, the kittens have grown in size and confidence and the garden swing beds have multiplied. The tomatoes taste eye rollingly good, the strawberries are scrumptious and the broad beans are bursting with flavour. It’s all been a bit summery and I love it!

Cherry love
And now the novice is flying solo….. Mandy has gone to England and I’m garden guardian for a whole week. To say Mandy looked nervous would not be an understatement. In fact, she looked like she could do with a paper bag to help her control her breathing.

More about that next week – when it’s over – gulp.

When we made the decision to leave the city and move to the sticks one of the big appeals was stepping off – doing it a bit differently – to live a life we believed in with conviction.
I’ve always been fascinated by an existence with less and resisting being a slave to the marketing campaigns we are surrounded by telling us we must have more.
When I became a mum I noticed this more than ever. Throughout the boys lives I’ve battled the messages that are hard to avoid often falling foul of my own beliefs and the advertising has won. Gadgets, gizmos, routines, what to eat, wear, do or at the very least be seen to be doing…… moments of realising but many more under the spell – stuck in a game I just didn’t want to play. A sure way to swallow up any available head space and kill any free flowing creativity.
For Toby and Nick it has always been about the box the toy came in rather than the toy. The sheet and peg dens rather than the plastic play house, the space to run around and feel free rather than be herded around attractions and theme parks. The pyjama days that just evolve rather than days out where we do lots and tell ourselves lots that we are having a good time – right!
I know that I cook a much better supper when there is hardly anything in the fridge and I have to get inventive than if I stand in a supermarket with everything at my finger tips. All I want to do is get out of the glare of the flourescent lighting, shiny veg and choice, so much choice of lets face it rows and rows of processed foods. They win every time – I go in seeking a baskets worth of food and come out with a trolley full. Is my life any richer? I have no doubt that the answer to that is no.
When we left Brighton we said good-bye to boxes and boxes of possessions. It was an ideal time to get rid of excess ‘stuff’ and we had a lot of it. The local charity shops benefitted and it felt good to be clearing/cleansing. Our little house here could not cope with the volume of stuff we once had and I love it. Striving for less not more. There is something very refreshing about saying no thanks rather than yes please…..
This week we’ve experienced soaring temperatures and some impressive thunderstorms. With one storm came a power cut that left us without mod cons for a few hours. It wasn’t so bad but a good reminder about how we use electricity without a second thought. There were no quick cups of tea that morning.
The thing that really surprised me though was when we had a day without water. We knew it was happening – the water board had written to us to say they would be cutting the water supply for 8 hours. The boys had been told to bring in their own supply to school that day. I guess I didn’t really believe it would happen. No water on one of the hottest days of the year. No water at a school??? Then I thought about schools around the world that never have any running water. Women who start their day with a long walk to the well and here I was thinking no, surely not, we can’t be left without any water. It turns out you can! Out came the bottled water and we spent the day feeling very grateful for the tap that until then always flowed. The laundry could wait, the washing up could wait for a day but what if it continued? We only had so much bottled water. Blimey we are reliant on modern day infrastructure. That didn’t feel good! Then I brushed my teeth…. I’m not a leave the tap running kind of girl but even so to see how much of the clear stuff I got through just brushing and rinsing……
So, it’s been a reflective week here at 23.
We will continue to try and resist being consumers and tread lightly on the planet.
Question what really matters and allow a pause……..stay conscious. We’ll try.

A man and his dog…..and his swing bed mark two


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