Wednesday, 19 February 2014

When the Rain Stopped

Luna's new favourite spot
Well, it's been nearly a month since I've written a post and now, finally, I feel that I've got my blogging mojo back. It's also a month since we moved and the new little house is starting to get a little clearer, a little more sorted, though it stills feels a bit like a holiday cottage and I wonder whether it will ever truly feel like my home. Since moving, work has been full on and I've never been so pleased to get to half term. But, rather than get immersed indoors with the last of the unpacked boxes, I decided to venture outdoors and discover the area around the new house. What prompted this excursion?...The rain stopped!

We've not had the terrible weather that much of England has been dealing with but the rain and drizzle have been pretty constant. The new little house is shaded by trees and the bare branches all around us look black and foreboding against the winter sky. Once outside, the sodden grass is sprung with moss and streams of muddy rainwater race along the sides of the lane and down to the burn. It hasn't been very tempting to go out and about and when I did battle the elements, it was with head down against the wind and tightly wound scarf obscuring any view. What a difference a little sunshine makes!

Suddenly,  the colours of the garden have come into focus and I can see the daffodils and crocuses starting to peek through determinedly. I have no idea what other treasures are lurking beneath the soil - possibly lupins - I do hope so as they're a favourite of mine. I had never even noticed the roses around the front door and they too are starting to bud.  

Living on a private country estate is quite a different experience for us. Where we are in the gatehouse, we see all the visitors and residents going in and out the entrance - deliveries, estate managers with their 4x4s, dog walkers, runners, cyclists and ramblers. It's constant torment for Luna who feels it necessary to protect her new home with lots of high pitched barking! Just outside there is also a bus stop though no sign indicates it as such. By the stop is the most fantastic of climbing trees and S has spent happy hours there already, often making me nervous by waving precariously from a top branch. She has a convincing toy bow and arrow set and has been running around the woods probably terrorising the pheasant community in her very own version of The Hunger Games. 

The climbing tree

The estate no longer has its original gothic mansion but it does have a small church dating back to 1450, more ruin than building now. Despite having neither windows nor heating, the combined parish churches have an annual summer service here followed by a picnic in the grounds. Last year, this event coincided with a visit from my mother and stepfather and was the cause of much hilarity. Regular church goers, they were keen to attend a service but weren't quite prepared to face the torrential rain and high winds that Sunday. Inside the shell of the building only a few hardened Scots were gathered. The minister did his best to preach above the noise of the wind. We sang hymns, stamping our feet and rubbing our hands, trying to keep warm and we were regularly baptised with rainwater as it blew in through the missing windows. Concerned for my mother's tendency for rhematism and my stepfather's best suit, I was forced to rush back to the car and grab whatever coats and blankets I could find. My stepfather cut a very dandy figure indeed in a bright crochet blanket worn like a poncho!   

The church in the afternoon sunshine
Little did I know that less than a year later I would be living on this estate. It's a real plus to have such history and pleasant walks on the doorstep. In the afternoon sunshine I walked up the path through the woodlands scattered with snowdrops. Roe deer can be seen at dusk and I was surpised to see a barn owl in the daylight; it took off across the fields, a furry morsel dangling from its claws.  

Snowdrops everywhere
The church itself is high enough in the parkland for me to be able to see out to the bay and coming back towards home all you can hear is the downrush of water below in the dean as it makes its way down to the sea. Often it sounds like a torrent and when we first moved here I spent the first few nights lying awake convinced that the house would be washed away down the steep banks of the ravine and into the raging rapids below but when you look down to see what's making all the noise there's surprisingly little water - more of a babbling brook than waterfall. The sound must be amplified somehow - perhaps by the many stone bridges that criss-cross above it. 
View from the Bridge!
I feel blessed in the sunshine and blessed to have found this dear little place. Even if it never fully feels like our home, and even if we are only here a while,  it's a safe and sheltered spot and I'm looking forward to exploring some more...when the rain stops again. 

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  1. Great to see you back and glad you are settling in. That first pic makes your home look oh so cosy!

    1. Thank you. Hopefully will manage to do an indoor post soon once we've got rid of that final packing box!

  2. Wow this looks lovely and the climbing tree is AWESOME! Great to see you blogging again :)

    1. Thanks Suzanne. Today a great big branch came crashing down in the wind!

  3. I've just popped over from the Rusty Duck - the name of your blog caught my eye, as I too live in the Borders (in Hawick). I hope you enjoy life in your new home. We have lived here for 7 years, and enjoy our life here.
    Regards Anne

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Anne, Hawick isn't that far away - we're practically neighbours! Love the name of your blog by the way! Helen

  4. Beautiful tree and it looks to be a beautiful area. Have fun exploring!