Saturday, 28 August 2010

How do you revitalise yourself?

A lovely week full of visitors, first from family, then from a gardening friend who has moved from a virtual to a real friend but whom I would never have met without blogging.  We share a passion for gardening and it was great to wander around and have my ideas both understood and challenged and to hear a new perspective on my field and my trees.  It has made me look at my garden again, appreciate the progress I have made and decide what to do next.  The wildflowers under the orchard trees need more time, thought and attention.  Zoe suggested planting rattle which weakens the grass.  I have been meaning to look into this for ages but will actually do it now!  She also had a wonderful idea for making a window onto another view, not the compelling view from the house across the valley of the ridge and the bronze and iron age hillforts, but the view down the fields towards the hidden river, where the wild cherry trees shine with white blossom in the spring.  Genius.

We spent a day at an extraordinary small church, a place of pilgrimage, a place where the air between worlds is thin.  I can't decide how much to share of this so I am thinking about it some more.

And then a visit from a Canadian writer who sets her thrillers in our part of North Wales and was visiting as she does quite frequently for some research.  Again we would not have met were it not for Twitter.  I set out to pick her up from the train wondering if we would recognise each other (slightly easier for me than for her as she at least has a picture on Twitter while my avatar tends to be whatever flower I am liking at the moment!  In order to be recognisable I would have needed to cover my head with echinacea).  I needn't have worried.  Everyone else was carting huge wheeled cases onto the train, returning from holiday, while she was travelling light.  As I showed her round she pointed out to me that so much that I take for granted is exotic and unusual for the majority of people who live their lives in cities.  I never take living here for granted, in that I am aware of how lucky I am, but I do tend to forget how different some of our life is.

And more visitors today in the cottage, family ones this time.  I love having people coming through and like cooking for them and talking and sharing things but this morning I was struck by an overwhelming need for a bit of time to myself.  I took myself off to the greenhouse with a cup of tea and the newspaper and soaked up the silence which was not silence: the distant noise of a tractor working across the valley, the sound of insects buzzing in the marjoram, high above a couple of crows shouting at a buzzard as they chased him across the sky.  Later I took the heads off my dried lavender, a slow rhythmical job rather like a slower version of topping and tailing gooseberries.  Ian worked away preparing the onions for storage.  The mixture of a bit of time to myself and then a mindless task in the sunny greenhouse with quiet good company smoothed me out again.  I could feel my fur lying the right way again, like a cat being stroked.

Silence.
Solitude.
Sunshine.
Mindless, soothing activity.
Companionable quiet.

Works for me every time.
What works for you?

37 comments:

  1. Not my cup of tea, in all possible sense of the phrase!

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  2. Oh your words are such bliss, every one - every thought - resonates. How do I revitalise myself? Journal 'Spilling'; time on my own in my workroom-cum-laundry-room; and meeting friends through blogging. Time to be myself and not wearing all the other hats that have been thrust by circumstances upon my head, though some were of my own choosing.

    Will you be at the Malvern Autumn Show - a celebration of nature's harvest?

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  3. What a beautiful post, you can almost smell the flowers in your writing or perhaps it's that the air between the things that grow and the people who grow them becomes thinner, to use your phrase, when it is you describing it.

    I would normally describe myself as a sociable, social person, but I know just what you mean about the need for solitude. I need personal time, personal space with only the natural world, or my imagination, for company.

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  4. the air between worlds is thin

    What a stunning way to describe those rare, secret, beautiful places . . .

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  5. Oh Elizabeth you hit the nail on the head about 'me' time.
    I love that you could go and sit in the greenhouse with a cuppa and the paper, it just sounded so relaxing with the insects and the birds etc......
    I love my little piece of the countryside and appreciate it every day, but when I read about your little haven I do feel a touch of envy. Ah the grass is always greener on the other side but just as hard to mow.....
    Shall go for a walk around the garden to smooth myself out agin,enjoy your weekend.

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  6. The crow/buzzard dance is a daily occurrence here too. I don't think it's as serious as it looks; I bet they're good friends really.

    We recently said goodbye to the last of our summer visitors. It makes autumn seem so much closer.

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  7. Lovely post.

    If I wake first, which is usually the case, I walk around my little walled veg garden in my pjs with a coffee. Bliss.

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  8. oh, you just described it perfectly...."I feel my fur is lying in the right direction again". I had such a such a feeling yesterday after many guests the last week. I told my daughter "I'm sorry I need to go somewhere". She was very understanding and I went and saw a movie. Sitting on the back row so no one could strangle me, I was enveloped into the movie not able to concentrate on anything else. Came home feeling fine!

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  9. Elizabeth, you are such a welcoming person that no one could begrudge you time for yourself. I can relate to the need for solitude - and just a few moments ago was replying to an email from a friend who had had 11 family members stay for 13 days and was glorying in her rediscovered peace and quiet after their departure.

    I like to read, or to walk, when I need to be away from others. Not being a very outgoing person, I find the constant company of others draining, and a long, solitary walk refreshes me physically and mentally.

    You write so poetically - like some other commenters here, I was struck by 'the air between worlds is thin'. Should you ever decide to write more about that, I would be very interested to read it.

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  10. Haven't much to say, just smiling in the recognition of all you say, although I think the Genius bit is stretching it a bit far!

    Had a wonderful, soul restoring time, thank you so much xxx

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  11. I had planned a lot of garden visiting and also coming your way as you know but I feel like you do and need some quite time to myself, to potter in the garden, to do quiet repetitive jobs.

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  12. I enjoy my very early (thanks to my old dog) morning coffee while reading the blogs I follow, which always give me some inspiration.

    I have my blog list quite refined now after a year, narrowed down to the ones that provide substance and a positive vibe (plus one that is just out there and crazy but harmless, which I see follows you too).


    I enjoyed your post today. It left me wishing for a greenhouse I could retreat to.....the lovley smell of a greenhouse....

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  13. I get a nice glass of wine and start painting a brand new canvas..
    yvonne

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  14. Somewhere high with a view usually puts me back on the right balance -especially if it involves wind and sun and the smells & sounds of a lonely country spot.

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  15. Such an evocative post. I love being on my own; I sometimes have to make an effort to be with people, although that can be very refreshing. But letting myself into my quiet house afterwards is always a wonderful moment.

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  16. Hi Elizabeth!

    I just stumbled upon this beautiful blog of yours and I'm so glad I did. It's amazing that just by a single click a new world opens for you. I love the way you write and your beautiful pictures. I'll definitely come back often. :)

    Have a lovely Sunday! :)

    Lotta
    xx

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  17. I do like the idea of having ones fur the right way - such an apt description Elizabeth. I do also agree about meeting friends through blogging - I have done it once or twice with excellent results all round.

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  18. It certainly seems that you have found the right solution for revitalising yourself Elizabeth. I like your comparison to a cat with your fur lying in the right direction :) I usually find myself restored after a couple of hours pottering at the allotment.

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  19. When I need to re-energise or revitalise and I have the time I go to the shore. If I don't have a lot of time I get into a bath and go somewhere in my mind.
    I've been to places where the air is thins between worlds - I love the way you put it. I wish we could chat about it.

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  20. For once I've had the opposite experience and revitalised by taking time off work and enjoying the company of my younger daughter - it did me good to get away from the computer and see real people.

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  21. In my pajamas with a cup of coffee and a cigarette and the early morning news I am quite happy. Those are the first moments of bliss.

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  22. A warm bubbly bath, with candles...What a gorgeous blog, you capture the mood so well, sounds heavenly. I haven't ventured onto Twitter yet...

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  23. Thanks for all your comments. It seems we all have our own ways of making our fur lie smooth! I can also vouch for a glass of wine by the fire, or two.

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  24. First of all, I love your photo you selected for the contest. I like time and space for myself also... just sitting outside by myself, and hidden from other's eyes helps me relax and get my mind in order. Also crocheting--in a quiet, empty house with no TV, radio or music on. Short, but frequent trips to my brother's house where I don't have to cook renew my soul also.

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  25. Either gardening work, or just going to the shore and listening to the waves and feeling the wind in my hair.

    Both smooth my fur back the right way.

    8-)

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