mumsnetBack along, my family and I swapped a house for a three-acre field in Devon and a leaky caravan where we lived off-grid for two years. Sadly, we failed to get the planning permission we needed to stay. We are now back within four walls, with a proper loo and everything in a cottage in Dartmoor. So this is now a blog about living ethically amid a fabulous landscape with our home educated kids while we adjust to being 'normal' - for a while... and what we plan to do with our land next

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

A squash and a squeeze

The trailer-cum-dormitory was finished this week. By finished, I mean the beds were built – it still resembles a padded cell and the cats still view it as theirs but consider the addition of duvets and memory-foam mattresses a great improvement. 

Moving into it to sleep represented one of the shining moments of the whole adventure so far. 'I don't know how to thank you,' Zena said tearfully to Gully so happy she was with her little bunk. I too, can't quite believe my good fortune. Actually moving into a different space to go to a bed that is already made feels profoundly gratifying. Equally so is waking up and walking into a different room to make tea and breakfast. Such a simple thing, yet it feels so luxuriant. 

It has, of course, messed up my routine, such as it is. I can't get used to the idea that I no longer have to go to bed at the same time as the children – and on my first trip to work I set the alarm absurdly early in order to enable me to do all the things that take forever in a small space. But now I don't have to store beds and tidy away and so instead of the normal Friday morning running-around-and-shrieking routine, I found myself sitting with time on my hands drinking tea while feeling vaguely out of sorts. 

All this has put me in mind of Julia Donaldson's excellent book A Squash and A Squeeze – a book you may be unfamiliar with unless you have small children, but is worth reading all the same as a beautifully succinct philosophy on life. The plot revolves around a little old lady who feels her small home no longer meets her needs and consults a wise old man. To her bemuseument he advises her to take in her hen, goat, cow and pig – this she does in spite of thinking it a 'curious plan'. Finally he advises her to take them all out, at which point she discovers to her joy that her house is plenty big enough after all. 

The moral of the tale is, of course, to be happy with your lot. In our case, our lot has suddenly doubled in size – and very happy it has made us too!

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