Wednesday, August 10, 2016

five hours

I'm all alone in a tiny cabin on the edge of a forest in a town an hour away from home. From the last school drop off to the next school pick up I've counted five hours. I have no wifi, no washing machine, no farm work, no house chores.

Somehow, due to some crazy planning, compromising and trialling, that little seed of a dream that has been at the back of my mind through all the crazy chaos of the last 15 years of parenthood has come to fruition. I have complete silence (except for the wind and the birds), I have no one to look after or talk to, there are no shoulds, only a heap of coulds.

To be honest, part of me is slightly terrified. I'm worried that my precious time will go too fast and be over before I've done anything with it, and I'm also fearful that it'll drag on forever. I feel bad that my farmer boy is braving the winds and the rain pruning the apple orchard back home. I feel sad thinking about Miss Pepper sick on the couch. And I'm a bit nervous that my mind will travel to dark places and I'll have nothing to distract me from exploring them.

And I think I fear the fact that this thing that I have wanted for so long, this precious me time, is not in fact what I want at all.

And of course another part of me is beside myself with excitement at all the possibilities. I feel rich with time. I don't know what to do first. 

I could knit some squares onto my memory blanket, I could play spider solitaire on my phone, I could have a long shower and wash my hair and then dry it, I could fill in our census forms,

I could hop into bed, put the electric blanket on and read the last hundred pages of my book, I could rug up and go for a walk, I could make some notes for myself for when I go home,  I could tackle my inbox on my phone,

I could fill in an interview for a magazine that I've been putting off for ages, I could cast on another hot water bottle, I could lie on the daybed and listen to a podcast, I could call farmer Bren again, I could try and attempt to graph out the knitting pattern that is stuck in my head,

 I could visit the local town and walk up and down the main street, I could pop the kettle on and make another cup of tea, I could knit the other heel of my ugly socks, I could scroll through instragram and Facebook, I could borrow Indi's water-colour paints and paint in my journal, I could even have a Nana nap.

Or I guess I could sit on the couch by the fire, sip my hot peppermint tea, watch the crazy wind in the trees and the sheep out the window and write my blog. Acknowledging just how precious these moments are and how lucky I am to have them. Trying not to be swept away by the unsettling wind and to enjoy my moments.

I miss my people. But I just had a little thought that I might be a better person for them because I have had a chance to.

Three and a half hours still to go. I'll publish this and still have more time.

Sending you all the love.

Do you know this place I'm in?
Have you been dreaming about it too?
Or have you been here?
How did it make you feel?




  1. Kate.....i remember this feeling when our girls were babies and they would have their afternoon time felt so strange and there was so much to do and i wasn't sure where to start and i missed them when they slept......go gently, with love.....xx

  2. Mothers so rarely get this time and space Kate. Very occasionally it happens to me and I often end up sorting through the photos on my camera and computer, without feeling guilty, completely uninterrupted! It is always such a joy when your blog pops up in my feed, truly. x

  3. my children are grown, i am divorced and i live happily alone. i still work full time and get to spend lots of time with my grandkids. i help take care of my 87 year old mom. i camp, kayak, create art, knit, crochet and walk my dog numerous times a day. my life is full. but, i never, ever seem to have enough quiet alone time. it is something that i crave, often times feeling an almost physical ache to spend days alone in the quiet of my own thoughts, nourishing my own soul, doing exactly what i want when i want to. i understand. believe me, i understand.

  4. Your peeps will definitely benefit from you having that time. I even feel a difference when I go to yoga and come back two hours later, feeling lighter, softer, and more able to! Those me times are precious though, and I'm learning to let the overwhelm of not knowing what to do first (or at all) pass, then let my gut or my hands guide me to the first thing. And it may only be one thing that I end up doing, but I give myself permission to feel that it's the right decision! Enjoy Kate xxx

  5. We are creatures of habit, and any change can (usually) cause fear, worry, rebellion, fill in the blank...But after a time to adjust it usually turns out to be a good thing, even a growing experience. I'm wishing for you and yours it's a positive good thing, this change.x (embarking on one (not so little) bird flying from the nest here.) Yikes!

  6. Do you know, I think the best part is that you haven't already scheduled what to do with that time? When we're time poor, even if we do manage to carve out some me time, we still schedule that - shave legs, colour hair, finish THIS job, tidy THAT area. Getting completely away from home/work/where the jobs are is a good start, but for me, the real luxury is being undecided about what to do, and not having that matter either.

  7. I'm doing enforced nothing time. I'm reading a diary from the last time I did this - 2009 - and writing new entries. Walking. Reading blogs. Sipping Coca Cola. Lounging by a pool with a book. Looking over a creative brief I promised to do while I was out of the country. Watching people. Really watching and seeing their moments, moments I live every day and move through without much thought. It's exhilarating and a little nauseating at the same time. So many 'shoulds', 'could be doings' ...

  8. Well thank you for sharing some of that precious time writing to me and all the other readers of your blog. I have a slightly troubled relationship with time, it's something I'm working on at this stage of my life, to enjoy but to take my time, to be productive but not flat out busy exhausted all the time, to share it among the people and things I love most, to be precious with it but not too precious... I dislike the word should but find myself using too much... hope the other 3.5 hours were delicious and filled you with peace and contentment x

  9. I dream of that place for 14 years and i have no idea if that's really what I want and how i would feel there... it feels so good to read someone else's thoughts when they are just like yours :)

  10. I feel the same about time often. Just before the UK school holidays the course I was tutoring had finished and I had a sneaky Thursday free the day before they broke up - I was so giddy with what to do o that day I sort of did nothing - bit of knitting, bit of sewing, bit of gardening but I tried not to make it a day to catch up just a day to be. Jo x

  11. Enjoy the time it is too fleeting and soon gone.

  12. Time is fickle isn't it? Goes too quickly when we are enjoying ourselves and too slowly during boring tedious jobs. I can imagine it must be strange as a busy mum having time alone and it feeling like an ill fitting jacket. Not something I have experienced as I do not have children. I worked with little ones for many years and although the peace at the end of the day was always welcome I missed their chatter and questions and the classroom felt hollow and empty when they went home. You are so wise to take time to reflect and treasure this unfamiliar moment. I hope the remaining hours brought peace and pleasure.

  13. Love your post and the photos with it! Enjoy your precious time!

  14. This resonates with me so much. The occasional times I get to be alone, I just can't wait. At first I am excited, then undecided about what to do on my long list of alone time and then I start to stress that there is not enough time to do the chosen activity in a relaxed manner. Ending with feelings of "Oh I don't actually want to be alone because I feel lonely!"

  15. I'm just starting to get a taste of this time for myself, eleven years into motherhood. Tiny sips of alone time while my littlest is with Grandma. They are precious hours indeed, and I feel like I need to fill them with productivity to justify claiming them for myself. But sometimes the best thing I can do is head down to the beach and ride a few waves, have a long shower, and maybe, just maybe, write a page or two before I have to pick up my boys. I hope you are savouring your moments, (and not using them to fill in the census!!) and they bring you much joy. x

  16. Oh dear Kate
    How I can identify. I did it last year. Went to our summer house alone. Well, actually my dad was out there in my brother's summer house next door but we agreed to only have dinners together. It was nice.
    The first day I hardly couldn't breath. My mind was racing with thoughts like a tossed skein of yarn rolling around on the floor being played with by a cat's paws. It was messy. One thought was exchanged by another before the first one was really thought through. It was chaos. I didn't know what to do with myself with no people around, no chores, no loved ones to nurture and care for. No one calling for "Mama". I had imagined sitting on my veranda crocheting on my granny blanket project, watching birds and maybe some rain... Instead I wandered around the small house, from one room to another, not being able to sit down for a minute. My body itching of restlessness, not being able to deflate. I read a few lines in a book, had a cup of tea, went outside for a walk, washed some windows, sorted a drawer, vacuumed the lists, scrubbed the kitchen cabinets. All those things I shouldn't have done... I had dinner with dad next door and watched some telly with him and then finally it was bedtime. I say finally because I just wanted Day 1 to pass by so I could do something nice on Day 2.
    Day 2 I was more in my solitary element. I sat on my veranda. I crocheted. I read. I enjoyed the silence and did not feel the urge of calling back home to check in with the chaos. I had a sandwich for lunch and cookies with my afternoon tea. Sat on the dock by the water and closed my eyes, filled up my lungs with fresh air breathing deeply.
    Day 3 I wanted to stop the time. I now truly enjoyed being just me. My analytical mind had relaxed and I wanted to stay. In the silence. But it was time to go back home. My time came to an end but I will do it again. Next time I think I will be more prepared. Maybe I will bring a small paper bag to breath into on my arrival, to get over the panic of actually being alone. I'm actually a loner and this post makes me realize how much I need these moments. I think it is time to book a ticket for yet another summer house visit this fall.
    Hope you enjoyed the rest of your 3 and a half hours. Lovely blog post.

  17. I think I am in that place now. We are on holiday in Greece, there is some weak wifi but other than that it is just eing lazy, swimming, having naps, writing letters, reading books... And strangely thinking about all the things we have to do when we get home and lots of planning. Which makes me wonder - have we grown so accustomed to busy lifestyle that we are unable to fully enjoy the sweetness of not having to do anything? We have five more days to go. I think I will write another letter :D

  18. I know exactly how you feel. My boyfriend frequently travels for his job, and I love the balance of togetherness and alone time that gives me. Right now I'm looking at five whole days, and so much I want to get done.

  19. xxSighxx sounds like my piece of heaven, I think we could all do with that from time to time x

  20. Free time is such a dangerous thing, there are way to many things i could do with it but not enough of it.


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Kate XX

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