The last post I wrote was a bit negative, methinks. However, I am trying to be as honest about this experience as possible, because, let's face it, what's the point otherwise? I do miss being warm, I miss the blue skies and even the storms of Brisbane, the bright flowers and sunlight and my friends. And my dog of course.
Feeling a bit more positive at the moment, though. We have moved into the house now and Tiger and Tamara have arrived so we are a complete, if depleted family, again. And though we have none of our stuff yet, we are making ourselves comfortable. The girls have covered their rooms with mementoes from - no I mustn't call it home, must I? - from Brisbane, photos and cards, pictures that their little cousins had drawn. Yesterday, I went and got what Rupert refers to as “room stinkies”, but which I prefer to call perfumed candles and Christmas pot pourri and we have just put the Christmas tree – a real one! - up in the living room, waiting for the kids to get up and decorate it, so we are beginning to feel Christmassy. I am hoping that some of the family will be around later and I am going to make mulled wine and mince pies.
Now, for some history!!!!
Our house is in Adstock, a tiny village in rural Buckinghamshire, complete with famous gastro-pub, The Old Thatched Inn, which is, truly, an Old Thatched Inn, est 1645. It is a village of narrow lanes which wind between higgeldy piggeldy cottages – white rendered cottages, with black beams and thatched roofs, red, herringbone brick cottages with thatched roofs or with roofs of slate and terracotta tiles, furred with moss. They are all surrounded by gardens which will be bursting with roses and hydrangea in the summer, still-bright-green-grass-even-now (my elder cousin, Ellen, once told me that in winter in England, the grass shrivels up and is blown way, but I think she was fibbing) and all have names like Wisteria Cottage, Lilac Cottage, Jasmine Cottage, Rose Cottage, The Priory. Our house is a red brick, 2-300 year old cottage, called, with an almost unbearable tweeness, Shamrock Cottage. Our research has taught us that a certain Robert Sharnbrook, was a notable villager for a number of years and I am hoping that Shamrock is a mutation of his name, rather than somebody's quasi-Irish offering to the Gods of schmaltz. We have three fireplaces, none of which we are allowed to use at the moment (thatched roofs are an insurance/nightmare, insurance company's dream come true, so it would seem) but which are all very pretty. When we have wi-fi, at the end of this month, I will even attempt to upload photos, but at the moment, we don't, so if I get to post this blog at all it will be a miracle.
Adstock itself, is one of many little villages off the main road to Buckingham, most of them just a gathering of little houses, the occasional pub, curry house, or butcher's, all set amongst patchwork fields - think soft greens, brown winter trees against a pale, grey-blue winter sky, ashy fields where the grass has shrivelled up and blown away for winter. The hedgerows are alive with a hopping and gentle twittering of bullfinches, thrushes, blackbirds, robins, the air clear and cold and full of the smell of wet mud and leaf rot and smoke from living room fires.
We are inordinately lucky to be living here and I know that.