Thursday 28 June – I went out to run the van for a while because that’s what you do when it’s been parked up for a few days, and 15 minutes, some schnozzle bruising and a crushed knuckle later I retreated to the house. I think she’s cross with me that I’m not staying in her as planned. Instead, I’m sleeping in crisp, white sheets, in a listed thatched house with picture perfect views and fine cuisine.

I’m in Shropshire, at an idyllic smallholding. The weather isn’t great, we’re about 10 miles from Ludlow where someone died in the floods today. Horrible and no doubt the news will be full of pictures of sofas covered in sewage tonight.

Tuesday 3 July – So the idyll didn’t last. Sadly, my host emitted her intense unease at having people staying in her house like a force field humming out of every pore. Incredibly knowledgeable about so many things a smallholder needs to know about, but too many rules and not enough joy. So despite it being such a stunning place I cobbled together a half-truth about a mission to the Lleyn Peninsula and headed for the hills after a week. It was sad, there was much to learn, experience and give there.

Oh the growth! It’s heartwarming! Just a short time ago I’d have limboed under her chicken coops trying to please, but Halleluiah! apparently I’m cured of the gut wrenching need to be everything to everyone. About time – too exhausting for words.

Still, it felt strange actively choosing to leave comfort and community, (the other volunteers were great), for solitude in the middle of a low pressure cycle that promises rain indefinitely. Back in the van and ideas but no fixed plans until a wedding in Somerset at the end of July.

Elan Valley

Elan Valley

Alice quizzed me hard when she came to visit me in Pembrokeshire a couple of weeks ago. Had I actually spent any time on my own? I’ve done quite a lot of immersing myself in others’ lives and projects over the past 3 months. So check me out Alice, I’m in a rain-swept campsite half way up the Elan Valley (on the Ceredigion side) heading North. Sitting in the drizzle with a cup of coffee and a tea cake listening to Jack Johnson – smaltzy audio fodder. Only barely justifiable when trying to trick the Welsh weather with some Hawaiian sun-drenched tones. Full moon tonight but I suspect that the clouds might fail to part.

My brother and I drove through the Rockies in February once and the snow stopped and the clouds parted just once, so I can say I’ve seen a Rocky, momentarily.

Spirit level reading – fair to good.

So I’ve been rather absent, my apologies. A crisis bestruck my blogging. I only blogged because I was asked about 33 thousand times before I left if I was going to blog. So I blogged. I’ve been given two key pieces of feedback:

  1. Put all you gags in the first 30 words – people just haven’t got time to read any further (Good advice that I’ve completely ignored),
  1. various bits of family input about finding the openness of my blog challenging…

This silenced me (on paper at least) for a month while I pondered.

Conclusion 1: This trip is about opening doors in the hope that they’ll be a big neon sign saying “Over here, this way” behind one of them, but the probability is that I’ll open some wrong doors, i.e. I’m probably going to mess up somewhere along the line. This blog may or may not be a mistake (the internet being forever and all that) but I’m enjoying writing it so for now I shall continue.

Conclusion 2: I might go and open doors somewhere warm and dry.

view from the van

So back in the saddle, so to speak.  That was the big blog RE-LAUNCH.  The next installment is going to be a bit of a chronological catch up on the past month of roving.

There have been epiphanies, tears, injuries (minor) and joy and I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up or even what I want to do over the winter. I did feel the lack of light in my flat in London when I went back to visit a couple of weeks ago. It was horrible weather but it all felt a bit underground and dark. That might have been because Luke and Clare seem to be happy living with 25% of the light bulbs working but it might be because I’ve got a pretty amazing view from the van as I type this and it feels like the beginning of something, I’m just not sure what.


About Kate Fenhalls

This may or may not be my 41 year old gap year. Yesterday (2/4/12) may or may not have been my last ever day working in an office. Who knows, let's see what happens...
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10 Responses to Howdy

  1. Delighted you’re back Kate. Missed you! Gabbie

  2. Pol says:

    As a breast-feeding blog virgin (sounds weirder than intended… ) I’m loving it. And I definitely don’t need gags so keep the thoughts and the updates coming in their own good time. Well done for riding above the passive agressive vibes and doing your own thing. life’s too short. see you in herefordshire next week…? xxxx

  3. Susan says:

    Firsrly, I was sorry to miss when you passed through North London the other day, perhaps next time. I find it interesting reading your blog so keep it up. The minutiae of your daily life cannot be present when you write so rarely but your thoughts on what you are achieving and what you might achieve are interesting to me. Good luck for July, I hope you find something to do – sightseeing?

    • Well I did a bit of sightseeing – I visited the Llyn Peninsula but managed to arrive just in time for that monster storm last friday so not much looking around was done, more a bit of hunkering down. But the sun came out and I spent the day on a fishing boat catching lobster and crab which was pretty lovely. Sorry to have missed you in London – the curtains were half closed so I knew you were away! xx

  4. restart1104 says:

    Blog is great. Always nice to hear from you.

  5. Tom says:

    I believe that the adventure you are on will present you many doors to open, maybe one of the goals is not to differentiate between good and bad – after all they all lead to new things. Sorry I missed you last month in Dalston, I still think reading John Steinbeck’s ‘Travels with Charley’ would be a great idea, if there are no bookshops near where you are give me an address and I’ll post and lend you mine.

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