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March 2012
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May 2012

New routines and discoveries

Deserted
Abandoned

New routines are being hatched. Saturdays have become quality time for Gracie and her new best friend, April, the pony. And while Gracie is busy T and I explore our new surroundings. 

Last Saturday we tripped over this abandoned hamlet while we were walking in Exmoor. Apparently it's inhabitants left or died out during the Black Death of 1348. Some research says people still lived here until Victorian times but we saw little evidence to support that suggestion.

Tree in wall
Wall with a tree growing out of it

The dry stone boundary walls seemed to go on forever and one can only imagine how long it must have taken for a small community to construct them, especially when a lot of time was dedicated to the art of survival. 

Abandoned
Peak out that tiny window to a valley below

If this area was abandoned in the mid 13th century, when was it first built and inhabited? Tris and I were imagining the long walls being constructed during feudal times, the land being portioned off to tenants.

More wall
Wall meandering through the woods

On this particular day we walked for miles and didn't come across another soul, unless you count the deer that were spying on us from the safety of the thick woods. The quietness added to the old and creaky atmosphere.

Wall pattern
Nice pattern

I love that the building techniques used all those hundreds of years ago are still used in the area today. The dry stone walls (no mortar used), the simple building construction with local stone, lime mortar and lime-wash... it's all around us.

Ponds
Pretty ponds

The ponds and streams with little bridges crossing them at the base of the hills are clear and beautiful and there's lots of smaller life to explore.

Log habitat
Life in old logs

Then it's time to cruise back over the gentle rolling hills to find Gracie again and make our way back home. 

Spring landscape
Springtime landscape

The geology of the Exmoor area is so varied. This section of hills we hiked are covered in slate with some sandstone and granite too. Here's a short pamphlet that shows how mixed this relatively small geographical area is, I know some of you are into this sort of stuff, I find it fascinating and you might too.

Can't wait to see what this coming weekend brings (though it really should involve the last bits of unpacking, lots of cleaning and catching up on laundry).

I hope you're weekend is full of small adventures, or big ones!

Jx


A quick look

Laundry at the woodshed
Hanging laundry at the Woodshed

One of the funny details I forgot about moving house is that daily life still must go on even if I have a hundred boxes to unpack (or more) and furniture to shift and utility companies to sort out. The dog still needs walks, the laundry still needs washing (if I can get to the machine) and deadlines still must be met. Sometimes my children even expect a square meal, good thing we've moved to a village with an excellent shop – they turn their noses up at frozen pizza, even though I explain that it's a square meal because it comes in a square box ;)

Antler gift
Pippi bringing me the antler she found

Living in a temporary state of disarray has meant my absence here and I've missed you blog; the process of creating I've missed even more. I'm bursting to make things which admittedly has sometimes led to crankiness, but we're getting there.

Here's a quick look at where we've been. The two images above were at of our temporary lodging at the Woodshed, a little holiday home when we were between houses (and without Internet access). The rest of these are from the last week and a half which have been crazy but fun. Good friends even came to stay two days after we arrived and they were very good humoured about wading through boxes (thank you Dianne and boys).

Though we've been in Somerset for such a short time there's already lots to love – like hearing the bells ring out across the village from the church just up the hill, amazing walks and incredible nature reserves, stunning views, welcoming neighbours, a beautiful riding school for Gracie to join with lovely horses and not silly prices and very importantly, a pub with great food and brilliant local brews.

Creative space
A new creative space in the making

Pony girl
Gracie finally gets to ride, she's been begging for years

Wild, wild ponies
Wild pony and her foal on Quantock Common approaching the parking lot

New walks
Walking above the village

Good friends
Special visitors

New village from above
View from our walk above the village

Thank you for the emails and comments of concern wondering if I'll return; yes I will – see, I'm making a start already with this quick hello. Thank you also to friends who gave us all a lovely send-off before the move, you'll be missed!

Now I'm hoping to get back here more regularly and start making visits to friends soon too.

Jx