I had a lovely couple of emails in response to this post:
The sender, a teacher and friend who has just moved out of Cornwall, said he is happy for me to post them here, so I have.
One of the things I’m most looking forward to, especially in weather like this, is of moving into a house. Of being able to make a cup of tea or go to the toilet or even move from one ‘room’ to another without having to put on wellies and walk for 10 metres outside.
Aside from a brief spell at university I’ve lived caravans on my farm since I was 5. Through winters so cold that one year the mirror in my room cracked, rainy seasons where the caravans leak and you find the new leaks caused by the previous winds and cold spells, high winds where the roof cladding and walls stripped off, creaking and groaning as if they’re in pain. Falling through floors weakened by decades of rain, stress and use; thin windows that don’t keep the cold out or warmth in when they want you to, but turn the caravans into an oven when you want cool; power cuts caused by water leaking into circuits; falling over in rain soaked or frozen walks to get a warm drink (negating the point of the drink in the first place because of the journey outside in the cold or wet!); having no water because our spring line has frozen; all the years of having to go outside and have a shit when I was younger before we plumbed in an inside toilet.
People come here and see the farm and tell me that “It’s quiet and there is nobody else for miles and how beautiful the lake and all the green space is” and bloody hell they’re right, and I’ll miss that, but when they tell me that
“they’d easily manage in the caravans if they could live here” (especially if it’s summer when it does look picturesque here), I look at them and I know they’re full of bullshit, they wouldn’t cope at the first sign of rain or a light frost, they don’t know what ‘cold’ truly is, from their centrally heated homes with big thick insulated roofs.
And now I’m going to become one of them, and I’m going to truly relish something as simple as going to the toilet or getting a cup of tea without having to prepare for the elements. Even being inside when it’s raining ridiculously. Your blog post pretty much captures how I feel, especially when I used to visit my friends houses when I was younger. I don’t think I’ve met anyone else who can really understand this.
After this week it’s amazing how easily I’ve got used to this. Each morning when I wake up I walk from bedroom to bathroom to kitchen to lounge just because I can – without having to put on trousers, a jumper or boots! I think the frequent and quite heavy rain we’ve had this week has played a part too. Several times this week I have caught myself standing in the lounge looking out the patio door at heavy rain, walking to the kitchen and making a cup of tea and then going back to stand and stare out the window; once I return to the window tea in hand, I find myself subconsciously smiling as I stare out the window.
It’s the same smile I used to give whenever I’d walk the twenty metres down the bank from my room to my kitchen to make a cup o’ tea, and then back again; serendipitously timing both journeys with breaks in the rainfall – that smile that somehow I’ve beaten the rain!
And whilst I didn’t sit and watch the washing machine first time like you did when you first moved into a house, I did appreciate being able to wash clothes again without either taking them to a friend’s house, or visiting a launderette.
But my cat did sit and watch the first cycle – I think he was intrigued by the noise.
Also, I love reading your blog, don’t stop, do a creative writing course and find a way to make it support your life so you can get out of teaching, (or carry on teaching on your own terms). I love reading it because I can hear your voice in my head and it makes it even better to read!
Thanks Brynn, we’re going to miss you.