As the barn makes sure and steady progress towards completion I am savouring the process of thinking about what (of the strange collection of furniture and belongings we have in storage) will live where. I struggle to think just exactly we do have and should probably have made an inventory. Today I can recall our pine kitchen table, bench and chairs, a small linen press, a sofa and assorted ‘things’ from our hangar-sized Belgian garage – lovely to have lots of garage storage space, but I can assure you that it only leads to keeping many belongings deserving of a new home! There is also the church pew which was in my parents home as I grew up, and which joined us in Belgium for a few years before returning to Burrington. It has spent the winter sitting on bricks and wrapped in a tarpaulin, so I hope it will have survived unscathed and am looking forward to sprucing it up for use once again.
We have been enormously lucky to have experienced many different countries and communities over the years, and having a notoriously short attention span I have embraced the regular change of scene and the opportunity to reinvent myself with each move. What it has meant though is that our daughters haven’t had the ‘family home’ within an established community such as both Mike and I grew up in, and I often find myself wondering how this will play out in the future. I wonder whether they will choose to travel and lead similarly itinerant lives, or perhaps they will choose to settle in one spot – I can take a guess at which choice either of them will make, but won’t commit myself on paper (so to speak!).
While there will be plenty of space for the four of us to spend weekends together at the barn in the near future, I do foresee a time when each of the girls may want to bring boyfriends, and then perhaps husbands and children to stay with us. Maybe one day we’ll feel ready to once again face the challenge of planning permission and more building, but in the interim I have happy fantasies of shepherd huts which the girls could call home. A visit to Blackdown Shepherd Huts in Ilminster is on my list of visits in the coming months!
This weekend should finally see all the trenches and holes around the site being filled in and the ground restored to something resembling level. It won’t really be long before Spring is upon us and the grass will start growing again, and this in itself will start to transform the site. We have, over the years, drawn innumerable sketches and plans of how we might start to develop a garden and make the most of the land that we have. At the top of my list is always the livestock, I long to have chickens again and the girls and I have already named the miniature donkeys we would like to see living in the paddock (Dobby and Jorge in case you’d like to know!). It seems only fitting that donkeys should once again reside here as I fondly recall their presence in this very spot when I was a child.