Sunday, August 1, 2010

Home Making

 It has been two months since we came here.  Alan, the painter is almost finished - just a few bits and pieces totidy up.  The carpets are being fitted on Tuesday,and my sewing machine is ready for the fabric I will purchase tomorrow.  We spent the day putting up new light shades, washing down woodwork and hanging our familiar clothes onto new wooden hangers.  I washed new towels and bed sheets - placing them with lavender sachets into the linen cupboard.  I've never had a linen cupboard before!  Only blanket boxes or top shelves of wardrobes. I enjoy saying "It's in the linen cupboard"  such a fine phrase.  We are determined to be mindful about how we live here, and that includes the things we surround ourselves with.  I have read Sacred Space, Living a beautiful life and Timeless Beauty, still subscribe to Country Living and I am an avid reader of many beautiful and mindful blogs.  And still feels so ... what?  False?  Forced?  Artificial? Our initial euphoria of finding this place and the momentous decision to move has abated now as we get down to the business of living here. Something is missing - ok, carpets, curtains, furniture are missing, but as I plan the rooms, place candles, vases and wooden bowls, I gaze out of the windows at the stunning views all around and I feel as if i am going through the motions- I am not present. It feels - indifferent, somehow.  I had imagined that living the dream - and it has been a long held dream, would be constant joy and delight. I would be finally Home. But now, I wonder when a place to live becomes -  a home.

My Sister phones from Canada.  She remarks on the clarity of the line.  I say that it is because we are much closer to her now.  She laughs and asks what the  shopping is like, then "Do you like living there?"  I reply in the affirmative.  I wonder if she believes me - I wonder if I do.

We go for a walk earlier than usual.  There are a lot of people at the stones today.  A large group of Spanish/American tourists are on top of the rocks, taking pictures, while a private tour guide is pointing various things out to a Japanese family.  A young French couple take photographs of each other leaning against the stones and someone has placed a bunch of wildflowers wrapped in Christmas paper in the cairn at the centre of the circle. I watch James running around, as usual, trying to hide behind a stone, his bright blue jacket and golden hair making his hiding place fairly obvious.  "Count to fourteen and then come and find me!" he shouts.

We climb up to sit on the rocks and observe the people moving around - Big Daddy Sheep is grazing beside us - not even pausing to look up, such is his enjoyment of the summer grass.  We sit for a while, as James searches, unsuccessfully  for baby rabbits.  A large boat is anchored in the bay and we watch as a smaller craft detaches and heads for the shore. Another group of young people head up the hill and we see them stop and take in their first view of the monument.  I love to see people enjoying this space. A tiny something inside shifts, imperceptibly  and I begin to feel a bit better. I want to tell everyone - "I live here!"  Instead I remember that dinner is cooking in the oven and I am hungry. As I set the table on our return, I root around in some of the unopened boxes and find the new cutlery I had bought for this house. Yes, it is time to start living in the present.

We were recently back down at the old house for a week, catching up on various bits of business and loading the truck with more things for the return journey.  While we were there, Kenneth and his girlfriend took a trip up to see the house and explore the Island.  Our paths crossed briefly on our return as we disembarked the ferry just as they were boarding.  A quick hug in the terminal building waiting room and they were off.  He looked so grown up, confident, his own man. and I felt that pang of loss that happens when you realise your child is no longer yours alone.  Back at the house I could sense his presence and felt a huge emptiness, which gave way to tears. I missed him - really missed him, and wanted to be home.

Connection - that's what is missing. We have removed ourselves from hundreds of year of family - of instinctive knowing of a place and people. Recognising the faces - knowing the stories, being part of another's history - this place holds none of that. The home I was pining for is no longer there. It exists in my mind - a recollection of different times, different scenarios  different people - the pain of nostalgia.  Home is made from memories, conversations, meals, joys, sorrows - all those things-  not waxed wood floors and vintage pillowslips.  I know Kenneth and Louise will be back here - as will our daughters. James will grow up here and his all his childhood memories will be of Lewis.  My grandchildren will come on extended holidays, friends and neighbours will drop by.  Home Making is a slow business - it takes time and energy and love, but like the fabric on tomorrow's shopping list, we will weave ourselves - thread by thread into the warp and weft of this place.


  1. It does take time for it to feel home-like. I remember mmoving to where we are now, and suddenly getting a great sense of regret. But as things slot into place, and memories are made it is now a happy, vibrant home.

    Hope things settle soon for you, I'm sure you have everything you need, and more to make a wonderful home.

  2. I agree, making it a home comes with time, moments, creativity and time spent with those you love around you.

    Your personalities and mark will soon start to make it homely, familiar things and new things, new fabrics and all.

    Happy days ahead!

  3. Has it been 2 months!?

    This is such a big move, it's going to take time. Hang in there xxx

  4. Oh, your post put a lump in my throat. I think it does take time for a house to feel like a home. A house needs to feel more than just four walls and roof, it has to reflect the person who lives there and I think that takes a few months and a bit of 'real life living' to happen. I'm not sure when our modern Alison house started to feel like a home, but it took a while. I didn't want to live here for very long, I thought it would be awful, having a tiny garden and so many neighbours, but I painted walls, hung curtains and slowly it felt like the house was bending to our life, rather than us moving into somebody else's space. Memories are important too, but memories are carried by the person who then reflects them into the house by means of decorations and objects that have history and sentimental value. I know this sounds daft and I almost cringe when I type it, but I think you need to let a house discover who you are just as much as you need to discover who the house is and then the love is mutual and it becomes a home and a place of comfort.

    Beautiful photographs, it's such a lovely place you've moved to and I know it will feel more in harmony with who you are once you've both learnt more about each other.

  5. Thank you lovely Mamas. I absolutely know it will be fine. I have just been aware of that feeling of anti-climax after the high of moving in. A bit like having to clear up the packaging and paper on Christmas morning. The house needs a bit of loving and attention - we are only the second people to live here. An elderly bachelor was here before us, so I am the first female resident :)
    Pippa - what you said does not sound daft - I do believe places and objects have souls and we need to listen to them. xxx

  6. Oh jaqui, I think everyone has very elequently said what I would like to say :)
    My, what beautiful photo's too.
    blessings to you and your lovely family and I hope you will be truly happy xx

  7. I left some cuddle vibes for you at 'my' stone-the one that looks like an old women carrying peat on her back.

    Much love mama x

  8. I understand something of what you're saying, looking forward. One day we'll live in my Dad's house, and I find myself daunted by making it into a home, tho I never gave the matter a thought when we moved into our current house 18 years ago. Sounds like you've put a lot of heart into your home already.

    And - just a thought - will we see you in Country Living one day?


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