The Wishbone Alphabet – an experiment, of course, with attitude, life and the eponymous soup.
If I list the things I will miss about this home it will be a long list…
A hedge of daffodils. Scooping fingers of the overhanging ash tree. Broken branch oak making a tree tunnel over the lane; picturesque, impractical bumpy lane. Wild strawberries, in the walls and the central ridge of grass. Wild garlic with triangular stems and dainty stinking flowers.
Shy snowdrops, cheeky crocus. Pink rhododendron growing next to the orange berberis. Lilac rhododendron that flowers months later than the pink. Orchard daffodils in lines, grading colours from bright orange to white.
Two pet graves in the orchard, one for Chinchilly (I cried for three days) and one for Tyson Sparkle, beloved rabbit.
Bees in beehives. Cherry trees in blossom. Fragrance of the lilac tree.
How ridiculous the house is: our bedroom doorframe is too narrow to walk through holding a breakfast tray, one must go sideways or get stuck, coffee and toast inevitably falling on the disgusting vintage carpet.
Impressive height of the bay tree. Petals blowing over the granite trough, floating on dark rainwater. Apple, pear, damson, hawthorn and sloe in flower. Blackberry blooms, pink and white, like wild rose, simple prettiness, a tendency to ramble. Celandines bursting yellow through the field grass. A gooseberry bush discovered only last summer.
Textures and shades of grass, greens and golds and reds and tones of blue. Drops of dew on the wide grass blades, carpeted gems catching light.
Snow in the fields and the speed a skimboard can pick up before it tips you into a drift. The crunch sound of walking in snow. Mist rolling low, primeval, concealing, other worldly.
Willows' spindly clustering over the stream. Alder stumps glowing bronze. Sycamore stumps oozing tree vomit, sycamore seeds helicoptering over the valley. Honey-sweet smell of the lyme trees.
The gigantic oak, the dead oak, the amazing purple-reds of the copper beech. One hilariously erect branch on a fir tree. Worn trunk of the fallen apple that is perfect for beginner level tree climbing. Remnants of tree house in the old pear, where we were held captive by irascible pear thieving cows. The hollow poplar hooking a branch around the neighbouring oak, so it can keep growing in a gravity defying fashion.
Old granite bridge almost buried under collected silt. Slant of the fields and the sheep terrace ridges.
In the continuous discovery of abandoned items, nothing tops the day we looked in a hedge and found a whole land rover.
Clues to the habits of the wild things that dwell here; kill sites, squirrels’ nut stashes, stench of rat urine, amusingly berry packed fox poo, deer hoof prints, the effortless circling of the buzzards.
Car-baiting pheasants; a plumage that is part excellent country tweed and part embroidered silk dressing gown.
A loom of sloes and roses across the top hedge, where I pick fruit for medicinal purposes, where the best nettle patch grows partially shaded.
The old damson that once framed a gateway between fields, before it grew overbalanced by the weight of its own fruit. When Mr chopped it back I couldn’t watch, being sentimentally attached, then immediately loved how the view was opened up.
The view, of neatly rounded opposite fields, green domes edged with deciduous trees, interlocking spurs of hill that turn into bleakly beautiful peaks of Dartmoor, that look like distant mountains.
Remains of the dead elm, curved with ivy sculpture. The handmade gate that’s always open.
Sheds packed with rotting history.
The end field, that feels so far away from everything, where you sit and hide and find that you knew the answers to your problems all along and you do have the strength to return and face them.
Okay, I won’t actually miss the stench of rat urine; nor the rats, the mice that look cute but chew stuff up, invasive laurel trees, wasps building nests next to the washing line, nor the cold, the damp, the rotting woodwork, the way the lane keeps trashing our cars, the irritable boiler, the necessity of having to source wood or freeze. Rarely is anything perfect, even if you love it. I don’t want to leave but there’s no happiness in clinging to things. If its time to change, then I accept it. I rather suspect I will sit quietly in the end field before we leave, and the tears that come will be made of grief and gratitude, and one or two might even be of relief.