Since the imposition of the 5p charge almost everybody now reuses bags and has a selection of shopping bags by the door or in the boot of their car. It is rather odd to be asked if I want a bag, for most of my adult life I have been the one trying to refuse a bag as I had brought my own. Odd at last becomes normal.
But it goes beyond bags, jam jars and milk bottles (we found ours by the side of the road, ours is a popular spot for flytipping sadly) make lovely vases, printed and plain tins make interesting planters, scented candle holders become glasses, broken mugs and pretty tins become pen holders, plastic milk bottles become the hanging gardens of Brancepeth (more about those in another post!). I could go on and on, there is almost a book in the reuse of everyday objects that have outlived their original purpose. But today I wanted to introduce you to our recycled deer.
These beautiful creatures are made out of junk metal heading to the skip. Recycling is not just about saving the planet, or 5p, it can also be a thing of beauty. Think outside your recycling box today.
Last year our flock of hens, ducks and geese finally reduced itself to one feral Light Sussex. As we were planning on moving we decide not to rebuild the flock. Now we have decided to stay we have some new girls. Meet Dolly and Polly (Light Sussex), Dotty and Spotty (Speckleds) and Doris and Floris (Copper Black).
They have been in the hen house and run since Saturday to acclimatise them to their new home, but this afternoon I let them out into the orchard. They were cautious at first, but soon started flapping and playing. I left them to explore and settle in.
I am doing much the same thing, exploring and settling in to my home. We have lived here for over 16 years but all the changes, decluttering, redecorating, new soft furnishings and curtains, new shelves and bookcases have given our home a new direction. It feels lighter and airier. I find myself picking up something and moving it to another room, I don’t know why but somehow I feel it will be better there and usually it is. I have moved pictures around, dyed loose covers. There are more plants and even the cut flowers seem to be lasting longer!
You don’t have to move house to take time to settle in. In fact, the longer you have lived somewhere perhaps the more important it is to look at your surroundings as if they are new and take time to settle in and see what you change and why. We live with stuff for so long that we just assume it has to be there. Maybe it doesn’t.
So I return. I wonder have you missed me? I have been on a long journey since I was last here. I have started new ventures, tweaked them, published a planner and then taken several months out to consider where I want to go and how I want to get there.
In essence I have been decluttering me and my life rather than my house and it has been a very revealing process. I read recently in a book by Karen Maezen Miller, Hand Wash Cold, that sometimes it helps just to coast in life for a while; to take your foot off the accelerator or indeed the brake and just see where you go. That’s what I have been doing and it is quite an interesting mode of transport.
Along the way I have read books and magazines I would never have noticed or even considered before (on the magazine front I can recommend Stack Magazines who send you a different independent magazine each month, this month I am reading New Philosopher, last month was a beautiful avante garde fashion photography publication).
I have rediscovered my love of fabrics and yarn, learned to crochet
and have reupholstered a footstool and a chair.
We have put our house on the market, changed our minds. We have redecorated the entire house and put in plans to convert part of the house into separate living accomnodation to let. Our elderly greenhouse didn’t survive the storms so we built a new one with much more space for potting on and for sitting in. Consequently the garden is fuller than ever and we are even more glad we stayed.
And the decluttering continues. I have managed to keep my wardrobe reasonably small but the book collection has been building up again. Some are keepers but there were quite a lot ones more than ready to move on. If the building work goes ahead we are going to have to think very seriously about what we can keep for we will be downsizing our living accommodation by almost half in terms of floor space.
Meanwhile I have started writing two new books, one a novel and the other a culmination of my experience of decluttering together with suggestions, plans and ideas for others. I think it should be an e-book – so as not to clutter up a bookshelf!