‘We who live in quiet places have the opportunity to become acquainted with ourselves, to think our own thoughts, to live our lives in a way that is not possible for those keeping up with the crowd.’ Laura Ingalls Wilder
The idea for this post came to me shortly after we moved here in June 2018 yet, as the months have passed , what started as a simple idea (to be explored in further posts) has by instalments grown in to something all together different; something rather more challenging and demanding. It’s occupied my mind while out walking alone with the dogs or digging the garden, peeling potatoes or sitting with the hens. I have spent hours trying to find answers only to find that when I think that I have them, they then poise a whole new set of questions. The more that I work on it, the more layers I peel back: its become a reluctant self analysis. To be able to set down my idea, first I needed to arrive at a better understanding of myself. It’s a permanent work in progress and I’m beginning to wish that I’d never started!
Before we moved to The Red House an acquaintance asked me what was my reason for wanting to sell up our business and move to somewhere so rural and out of the way? Without hesitation I replied that I didn’t want distractions and that I wanted time to make my own work, my drawing and to write. And then, like some kind of disclaimer I added (with a nervous laugh) ‘who knows if I’m even capable? I may very well be left faced with my own emptiness’.
Being faced with the threat of my own emptiness is a somewhat terrifying prospect. In the past I have staved off feelings of failure, inadequacy , hopelessness, grief etc with the obvious and easily available distractions of alcohol and tobacco. But I got fed up with being beholden. They were not the solution and they had to go. Now I had to learn to walk without my crutches.
The idea of us selling up and moving towards a more humble, kinder existence, came to me while making drawings, and linocuts, in the studio at Atelier88 in Alcalá La Real. I needed a break from the ironing mountain and chamber pots and was happily drawing and listening to the radio, completely lost in the zone, engrossed and contented.
And I realised in that moment, sat there drawing, that if I really wanted to face my demons head on, and get on, then I had to re evaluate what I was doing.
I had to get right back to nature. Away from town life, people and endless chatter. To find hedgerows and green lanes again. Rugged wild coast lines and night skies free of any light pollution, Streams and woods. That little girl drawing at the kitchen table, absolutely absorbed in her pursuit while listening to the Tales Of Little Grey Rabbit on her tiny record player: she didn’t need crutches to walk. If I could retrieve something back of that feeling of pure contentment without screwing it all up with self doubt then this was what I must do. .
The moment that I glimpsed the little red house through the trees I was enchanted. Something about the way it sits nestled in to the side of the valley; tucked in on one side by forestry and the rest cradled by a patchwork of meadows. The sound of cow bells carried on the breeze. Before we even pulled up to the gate, I knew that I wanted to live here.
Thank you for reading! The next instalment will be up as soon as possible. I know that I am horribly slow but I have endless distractions and get sidetracked trying to fit everything in. I have added a kind of slide show of extra photos below.