At first when I realised it would be roughly three weeks after moving before I was connected to the world again, I thought I’d make notes. They never progressed outside my head. It took a few days to shake the mental habit of publishing, either on the blog or Twitter or Facebook but in fact, I’ve enjoyed this unconnected time at home: no phones, no internet, no TV or radio. Life has been very quiet and very linear. One day, I had to wait in for someone to deliver a bookcase I’d bought. There were other tasks I wanted to complete that day, but since I couldn’t so much as make a phone call, they went uncompleted. I’m so accustomed to multi-tasking that it felt strange simply to wait.
Gradually, and especially at weekends, I fell into this new, slower rhythm of just being, and of focusing entirely on whatever I was doing at the time. It’s certainly been an inconvenience on occasion, without the facility to make plans on the fly or default to the internet to look up a bus timetable. On the other hand, I’ve had plenty of time for kitten watching.
Here is a random list of things from the last few weeks:
- The plumber came to light the Rayburn, just as the weather turned unseasonably warm. Half the cottage is heated just by the Rayburn’s presence and it’s going to be awesome when the weather turns again. A heated towel rail is the best.
- There is nothing bouncier than a kitten at playtime. Belle and Charlie can jump up, sideways or both directions at once. Their reactions are amazing and it is better than TV any day of the week to watch them scampering and clambering around.
- Oxford’s traffic is abominable. It takes me an hour to get to work no matter what time I leave, and it’s only 10 miles. I’m using the Park & Ride, and I hate the bus, so that really might get me cycling.
- On a moonless night it is so dark outside my cottage that I can’t see a thing, except stars. I hear the birds roosting, and then owls calling. A family of pheasants seems to have its home in the garden, because I see them at dusk or dawn. A red kite lives nearby, and circles low over the village.
- The kittens have only once been mewing outside my door in the morning, but the thought of them being hungry gets me up at 6.30 to feed them. It is a dangerous exploit to go downstairs with two small cats jumping around your ankles.
- After a perfect drying day, nothing smells like line-dried linens.
- I am quite hard-hearted enough to maintain a ‘No cats in the bedroom’ rule. Particularly after they’ve pissed on the bed twice in the same week when allowed in while I was getting dressed in the morning. Of course, the bedroom is now the place they are most interested in exploring, and as I throw one of them out, the other one runs in. It’s like herding kittens.
- I have furniture! And books! And a bunch of stuff I’d forgotten I owned. And a lot of handbags.
- The entirely hideous fireplace is worth it for the entirely wonderful wood fire. Half a woodpile came with the cottage.
- The friends who have visited so far have said ‘You live in the middle of nowhere!’ or ‘You’re a bit of the beaten track here, aren’t you?’ They’re right. It’s a good thing.