A week since we moved, and it feels like a month. H has started his new school and seems to think it’s the best thing ever. That may have something to do with him having less homework to do than at his previous school, but mostly it’s that the kids here have been so very friendly. His teachers seem to be nice, too, although he’s a bit put out at having to catch up a term and a half of German. If he’s got the right genes from me, that should be absolutely fine, but if he’s his father’s linguistic ability, it’s going to be an uphill struggle. We shall see.
Having spent so much time shifting and emptying boxes, I’m quite tired and decided I needed a rest. I was aided in this by a friend who’s been staying nearby. We don’t see each other often, but we get on so well when we do manage to meet up, it makes me wish we lived nearer. It was a lovely surprise to find she was visiting the Dales with her sons during their half term, and even better that there was the opportunity to meet up, even briefly, in Hawes for a cuppa.
We chose the cafe at the Wensleydale Creamery, because I’d never been there and am starting to learn about my new home’s culinary tradition, and because pretty much everywhere has novelty value for me.
The drive up was frustratingly slow for the distance, and the route was sufficiently unfamiliar and winding that it demanded all my concentration. The route back, on the other hand, made me cry. It’s not that there’s anything wrong, or that I’m sad. I’m mourning and not mourning. I miss my shop, I miss our customers, I miss our neighbours and friends, and getting used to the scarcity of small Tescos that oil the wheels of London life has led to some slightly strange meals this last week. Life is irrevocably different.
But different isn’t always bad.
Since arriving in Kettlewell I’ve been trying. Trying very hard at a lot of things. Trying very hard to keep it together for H so he doesn’t have to worry, and so that he has someone to share his own concerns with, without fearing making my load heavier. I’ve not had a chance for an emotional adjustment to the move yet. Hell, I’m also missing my husband because our first couple of months are going to involve only sporadic trips north from him, and being a single parent in a time of major upheaval is hard. And I suppose this afternoon it all came out.
There is a very real sense of loss that I feel. This isn’t one of those happy blogs where someone ditches the shitty old city life and is suddenly at one with nature, getting chickens and goats and weaving their own home-grown lentils. This is a big move and a big change. I know nobody, literally nobody, up here. And I live in a tiny village in the middle of nowhere. This is not Peter Mayle setting up in Provence and finding the natives oh-so-quaint-and-amusing.
This is me saying goodbye to some of the dreams and most of the life I had, and setting up somewhere it will take effort to fit in and create a new life, new connections, a new way of being and running the household. And I’m disabled and not able to get about very easily, so it’s not going to be easy. And I’m OK with that and I will get there. But this afternoon I had to say goodbye to some of that stuff, or at least acknowledge it with kindness before tidying it away. I’m not sure I can Marie Kondo my brain, but maybe.
But there is also a whopping great ‘hello’ out there. Wherever I go, Yorkshire is there waiting. Beautiful, wild, drawing me in. Making me wish I had a clue how to paint, but in a very real way reaching in and settling in me. Telling me that my home is now here, and that there is much out there for me to discover, if I’m only open to it. Wherever I go, the distant landscape seems hidden by successive layers of translucent veil, revealing itself only as I approach, drawing me further down the road to see what may lie beyond.
Most of all, living in the Dales, the scenery has barely changed for centuries, the local stone of the buildings blending and occasionally punctuating the landscape. It could be 2018. It could very well be 1818. And possibly in 2218, visitors to the area will see what I see, minus perhaps a few telegraph poles. There is a permanence, here, and a freedom that comes from knowing that, if I can just stop tripping over my own brain.