We've been moving rooms. I still have my little cell where I'm very happy, but the Badger has moved down from his attic. I regard this as a noble act because he absolutely loved that room. The thing is, he had some very substantial furniture, a tiny staircase that twists and turns, and neither of us was getting any younger. He is a person of great energy and zest for life, but when he gets ill it's spectacular. A couple of years ago he had a bout of pneumonia that absolutely flattened him, and this summer his insides went mad after a teaching trip in Africa.
It seemed to me that a bedroom on the same floor as a bathroom, with a regular bed and normal access to it (not a nook under the eaves) might be a wise condition to set in place as we enter our dotage.
It wasn't easy to say goodbye to the attic room with its huge skylight windows looking out at the moon and stars, with a privileged view into the home life of seagulls and jackdaws — but we realised that what we could easily achieve now might surprise us by becoming suddenly impossible a few years down the line.
The move meant a fresh wave of minimising possessions for the Badger — which is not a sad thing; he's come to recognise it as healthy and positive and wise, even if it's never easy. And now he is installed and we are recovering from our World's Strongest Man feats of bringing a giant mattress and gargantuan desk down the teensy little ladder staircase — and of course taking up those stairs all the household effects of the previous occupant of the room he moved into. And she deserves a medal and a round of applause, for her immediate and gracious acquiescence to this scheme even though it took years of saving to get her room repaired and decorated to its present lovely state.
This move was a whole-household effort and we were very grateful for all the help we had!
Once all the associated carpentry is accomplished, I'll show you our current situation. Just now it's not very beautiful, because the Badger still has to build his wardrobe and bookcases. Its all a bit transitional.
So that's what I've been doing. Plus tending night and day (yes, both) our dear cats, their primary caregivers have been away at a stonecutting conference at the wonderful West Dean College.
The photos in that link make it look very minimalist and modern. Inside the house where our folk stayed it looked like this
And this was the view from their bedroom window.
So, altogether marvellous. And while they were away we cared assiduously for the cats (you do have to), with good results:
So it's been a somewhat focused few days. But now — back as we were. Winter woolies, then — yes, the days of frost and fire will soon be here.
I can't really get on all that well with coats. I've had several at various times and fallen out with them all. Recently I had two — a glorious Indian kantha coat in sunset colours, and a dark green cotton barn coat jacket.
I sold the kantha coat along with most of my clothes this summer on eBay to get together the funds to have my new dresses made. That left the barn coat, which I wore into town on a cooler day last week. I kept catching sight of myself wearing it as I passed the big reflective panes of shop windows; and I thought I looked so horrible in it that I dropped it off at Dr Barnado's charity shop. They were pleased to have it, I was pleased not to.
I don't really need a coat anyway. I can wear a shawl. If it rains I can get wet and change when I come home.
So my serious winter things are these:
At the back are two Tibetan shawls — the kind sold online as Yak wool. They are in fact made of acrylic and have never been near a yak, but I think trading standards may be differently configured in Tibet. I bought the blue one in the spring on eBay, and dithered for ages over which to get because I loved the red one too. Then — O frabjous joy — I was given the red one for my birthday! In the photo, perhaps you can see (I folded it back to show you) it is really like having two shawls, because one side is different from the other. I love these shawls. They are large, light, superbly soft, easy to wash and quick to dry and very, very snuggly.
On the arm of the chair on the left is another shawl — a mothers' day gift knitted by my daughter. Grace (who also gave me the red shawl). It's cotton and very open knitting, so it makes an excellent autumn/spring layer.
Now, those sandals are, in my view, an excellent addition to a wardrobe. They are fur-lined Birkenstocks. Because of my hyper-mobility, my skin blisters very easily, and these sandals are just great because the fur cushions my feet against rubbing. But also, they allow me to carry on with bare feet into the cold weather. Just add leggings under my skirt — job done.
The grey mittens in the middle I wear every time I go outdoors right through the cold months (so, October to May, basically). Our Alice knitted them for me.
She also knitted my soft grey alpaca hat next to them. Above it is a cheap 'n' cheerful but very warm snood thingy — not for over your head, just a sort of enclosed scarf. I bought it a couple of winters ago — my very aged auntie in Yorkshire always sends me ten pounds in a card for Christmas. Usually I just put it towards the groceries, but on that occasion it occurred to me that I'd have something to remember her by if I bought an actual thing with it. And this scarf was nine pounds at Asda, where I get my food shopping.
The stripy socks — these are mostly my bed-socks in the winter, but I do sometimes wear them in the day and, oh dear, (can you see?) on the teeth of the metal edge strip in the floor (in the doorway), where carpet used to be attached — I caught one of the socks and tore it. Posting this will remind me to get some green or brown wool and darn it before the cold weather comes. Our Alice knitted them for me. They are alpaca, silky soft and very warm.
Oh! I almost forgot! I have some furry slippers now, too. They were a present from the Badger this summer, ready for the winter.
So when the winter winds start to blow, I'll be ready!