Archive for the ‘Dreamspace’ Category


Spring fever is upon us fully now, and we are enjoying the weather as if it were summer: the door is flung open, letting light pour into the truck while the burner still keeps us warm, and we are beginning to move our activities outside.

We marked the Equinox on Sunday, the day of looking forward and back, to the winter passed and the summer coming. Day and night have equal length; its a balance point as we emerge from ourselves and our inner lives to bring things out into the world.

Friends came from London to celebrate the spring, have a taste of country air and to fill the truck with love and good company. We ate, talked and made spring spinners and flags which the children flung, waved, and ran about carrying with great glee.  A grey start flourished into a glorious bright afternoon and we enjoyed company into the early evening, including a spontaneous visit which re-united old friends from 15 years ago, to everyone’s surprise and delight.

Its a quiet, graceful delight to sense the change in the air as the seasons move on.  The sudden change in the light in February was startling, and came so soon: when I was ready still for another 6 weeks of winter, I knew that the world was waking up, and that the inward time would soon be done.

Even at its darkest time, when we were covered in snow and I stood in the rain making phonecalls with my back to the north wind, the winter didn’t seem as bleak this year. Out of doors every day, rather than looking out through a pane of glass from a stuffy room, you sense the life and the gloriousness of it all. It makes sense in a way that it can’t when you only use your eyes to understand. Up in London passing words with strangers on a grey day – “not long yet” and “it’ll soon be over!” – came from another world and reminded me of what I’ve left behind.

Everything is incandescent now, with the light and with the special kind of newly growing green. We arrived home from India at this time last year and there was not a twinge of sadness as we were suddenly drenched in Spring after tropical dryness.  England is beautiful, and I love this time of year!


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Thanks to a nice piece of fixing from my lovely brother, we’ve spent the last couple of weeks at the bottom of a field in a little village near Canterbury, right next to the farm buildings where Miles runs his wild food business. Perfect.

Since leaving Easter Wood we have begun searching for other woodland management projects on HelpX and WWoof. Tinker’s Bubble, Landmatters and Steward Community Wood, all in the South West, are making a go of it living communally and legally on the land. I feel a strong pull in this direction, and want to experience for myself what this kind of lifestyle involves.

Mostly, I am desperate to be in a more natural environment for a while. Something in me let go a little bit when we arrived up at Easter Wood, and there was a thrill at having somehow put a piece back in its place. Beautiful and idyllic as Chartham is, civilisation of any kind is beginning to grate.  Too many years in London and the overpopulated South East has left my senses clamouring for a different kind of rhythm.

Unfortunately it seems pretty clear that low-impact woodland settlement and large live-in horseboxes are not terribly compatible: access routes and planning agreements are not conducive and I can understand why. To visit, we will need to abandon our home and dwell on the earth, living in benders, yurts and cabins, sharing meals and living side by side with other volunteers and permanent inhabitants.  This will be a beautiful thing to do; it also means being transient again and leaving the comfort and familiarity of our new home for a while, something we have done plenty of in the last 18 months.

One solution would be to swap the truck for a yurt and van, or at least a bow top wagon. They are cosy and neat and beautiful and reasonably portable, and are ideal for woodland living. We considered a yurt last year. We also considered full blown Wwoofing, ie staying in the accomodation provided. However, we had done enough travelling in India, and again on our arrival in the UK and were desperate for a bit of Home.

Feeling the need to arrive and depart with a minimum of fuss with Rowan in tow, we eventually settled for the horsebox. It allows us to experience different environments whilst reducing the degree of change associated with each move. Of course, something considerably smaller would also do the trick, and would present less of a challenge to park, only now we are in the unfortunate position of becoming attached to our lovely home!

We have put woodland projects on hold for now, until we can find somewhere to leave the truck while we go and visit. We will be heading to Middle Ruckham Farm in Devon, to help them build fences, look after their gardens and to spend more time mulling and incubating, and learning new skills. As we develop our own rhythm of moving and staying still,  and become clear about our long term plans a yurt may become a more viable option. For now, while so many things are uncertain, it is good to keep our lovely cabin on wheels.

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I’m a woman of thought.  Someone, a man, once asked me what I most like to do. He was flirting.  I, 18, wooden, innocent, surprised, could only say, hmm, I like thinking?! I have lived with my thoughts for a long time, and wondered what to do with them. Sometimes I am frustrated with all the ideas that spin around my head, how they seem to want a life, they seem to have a purpose, and yet I seem only to give them the broom cupboard of my mind. Now for a change of tack. Now I’d like to share them. It is an experiment in creativity, in responding to what is, in following the path that lies before, and not questioning too much the nature of things as they deeply are, whilst also questioning everything, tirelessly.

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On Leaving

Home time. Home from Home. Time to go home to my real home: the truck awaits, our little world, abandoned unwillingly and left alone in the snow for too long. Time to leave my childhood home again, and every time it is as if I am coming of age once more. Again and again: I regress as I cross the threshold and step fully into an old skin which, ghostly in normal life, here is course and thick and suits me badly.  I re-emerge at the end into my adult self, dazed and reeling, stepping uncertainly yet with new resolve to carve my life afresh. I wonder why I am so fragile? Why at 30 a fortnight here should resonate so deeply?

Change, moving places, always affects me. It is a mark point, a taking stock, a chance to compare and contrast, and to break into a new state of being.  Often I fight it, lingering too long – at the shops, at friends, in towns, in countries. I must learn the art of the timely departure, quitting while I’m ahead. Perhaps it is because I find the transition so profound, and I hold on to put off the moment when the storms will come inside me. Boulversant: in French it means turned upside down and around. A thousand questions are running in my head: was it as good as it could have been? What did I do wrong? How could I have enjoyed it even more? What could I have been doing instead? And, What is next? Will things be OK? Have I prepared myself well enough? Have I made the right choice in going now? What if I had gone sooner? The sheer act of taking action, it seems, throws me into anxiety, however mild, so that every change, every moving on, however smooth, has for me this undercurrent of checking in, of looking at what has gone, and what is to come, and hoping hoping hoping that everything will come good. Sometimes it is like a warm breeze , carrying me on, other times its winds lash and pour upon my psyche, and it takes me days to regain peace and establish a routine which is born of my own sense of purpose.

I am becoming used to these goings on, and know, at least in the back of my mind, that a going will put me off, make me more sensitive, melancholic, or edgy, or it will fill me with strength, enthusiasm and a lust for the world. Either way, it will not be bland.

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We came downstairs to a snowy Suffolk morning, a couple of days before the recent attack of weather really got going.

There was a kind of huge silent space in the air, as if the gods were standing round giving away nothing but their magnificence.

Til next time, dear, pure winter. We love you deep, and crisp,  and even – because you let us know that everything can be beautiful, if brief.

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