Trails and trials of the writer who walks
My Leap of Faith led me literally to a wobbly landing. The flat over the shop in Brampton Market Square has floors so uneven I feel sea-sick. My filing cabinet, placed against a wall, slyly opens its drawers, an inch or two at a time, so that I return in the evening to the impression of a burglary scene.
Let me back-track a little. My sons grew up and left home for places so distant I was never going to be able to call them up when a light bulb needed changing. My beloved partner, father of said sons, suffered several horrible years with two different cancers and slipped into death with heroic resignation.
So there I was, completely devoid of responsibility but tied down by my garden. A garden is like a pet dog. You love it, but it stops you from doing anything else. A friend suggested a ‘gap year’. I think she simply meant just don’t grow anything this year, but how could I look at the empty veg plots and not plant something that would require nurturing all summer through? That’s when the Big Idea happened, followed by the Leap of Faith (only three weeks apart). I discovered that properties on the borders of England and Scotland were a lot cheaper than my pretty Lancashire des-res village. I could let my house and garden, rent a flat near Carlisle for a lot less, and thus not only live in the bosom of all my favourite walking areas, but make money as well. What could possibly go wrong?
Have you ever moved, on your own, to a place where you didn’t know anyone at all?
It’s only a wobbly landing, not a nose-dive. I’ve become super-nice, smiling, chatting and nodding to everyone I meet (beggars can’t be choosers!). I’ve done things I wouldn’t normally do: guided walk around historic Carlisle (for God’s sake! I opted out of history at 13!), afternoon cinema, zombie Zumba. I’ve also done things which define why I’m here: day-long walks taking in country pubs, short walks from my back door up to the ridge to watch the sunset, dawn chorus walks, afternoon coffee and cake, tea-time real ale in front of a real fire.
Some of the wobble is easy to fix: I placed dinner mats under the front of the filing cabinet. The rest will settle naturally, given time.