OMG WHY?? {small house living}

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View from my kitchen window

If people don’t ask me outright, the question lies on their face, their eyes betray their curiosity. Their shock.  And their complete lack of understanding.

I hope to explain just why I choose to live in such a small place, how it has benefited us and the handful of downsides that I am working out how to do better.

I have always love the idea of living in a double decker bus. Or one of the tiny homes that are increasingly popular in the USA. In England however the weather is cold, grey and unpleasant an awful lot of the time so keeping a tiny home warm is a difficult task. I am not able to drive and I have no intention of getting my drivers license any time soon. So a bus, whilst tempting, was out of the question. A tiny home sounds great, if you are able to build it yourself. Then kids came along and we bought ourselves a house. it seemed the right thing to do.

Fast forward 6 years and our marriage had broken down entirely. the one and only thing we agreed on was that whatever was going to happen next had to be in the childrens’ best interest. We looked at going our separate ways, each getting their own house but the cost! It would have mean moving far from where the children had settled, far from where I had settled and where the four of us had a group of friends. it would have meant both of us adults living a considerable distance apart which would have meant the children would have seen their dad a lot less. Not acceptable to us.

Somehow the decision was made to split the semi detached little house we lived in into two flats. The children and I would live in the ground floor flat and their dad would turn the upstairs into a flat of his own. And out of nowhere my desire to live in a smaller home was realised. I now have three rooms. The childrens’ bedroom, the kitchen/living room/bedroom and the bathroom. 3 rooms means a lot less cleaning but also a lot less place to hoard stuff.

Living in a small space like this obviously has its disadvantages! For me however the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages!

Whole life sustainability <3

Home made bread

The advantage of down sizing. Home made bread ❤

What? you mean sustainability isn’t just a “green” issue?

This was the start of an unexpected conversation with a friend of an acquaintance who asked in that tone “what do you do“. you know, that slightly condescending, superiority complex tone. It is a tone most mums, especially the slightly out of the mainstream mums, are very familiar with I think( but that’s a story for another time!).

No! life, all of life needs to be sustainable. there must be a balance. not over a day or a week but over an extended period. life needs to be adjusted constantly just as the garden needs to be checked and changed so does life. It needs to be sustainable for people AND planet.

I believe we can all have a balance between working and play. I don’t think we should be all filled with stress and anxiety. I know we can create lives from which we don’t need to take a holiday. I believe in downsizing, reducing and with that expanding our lives.

I’ve never been one to chase after the Jones’ and instead was more likely to follow the Goods. Downsizing was the normal natural thing to do for me after splitting up with my husband. it wasn’t easy and it wasn’t without hiccups!

It was (and remains) the best thing I have ever done for my little family!

 

 

Drum Birthing

large alpaca rug with Altar in the middle

large alpaca rug with Altar in the middle

On Sunday I spend the day in Avebury. Leaving early by cab (my ride had cancelled!) I spend a good half hour on my own by the beeches before Adam arrived. I love the silent moments before people start to arrive. sitting with the crows (and sometimes sheep too) there is a peace amongst the stones that you can’t find in other places.

The rug in the above picture is the one I have spend restoring for the past month and a half. the leather had dried out so much it was almost parchment resulting in some unpleasant rips and tears! Many nights I had it spread over t he dining room table rubbing leather cream into the back until the pieces felt soft and smooth. then stitch by stitch each rip was carefully sewn up by hand. I unrolled it with mixed feeling on Sunday. Satisfaction for having finished it but also a tinge of sadness as I had enjoyed working on it very much.

We started the day with tea (obviously!) and followed it with a drumming journey. once finished we got to choose our hides, or perhaps I should say we picked up the hide that was meant for each of us.

Hoop and Hide ready for lacing

Hoop and Hide ready for lacing

My hide, a much larger than I anticipated hide, from a Red deer. Usually Adam has what he refers to as “Avebury deer” (known to most people as Roe deer). We cut our circles of hide, punched the holes and set upon cutting the lacing to lace the hide on the frame and tension it. Lace cutting sounds simple but its hard work! hide is tough and you need a long length of lace to build your drum. After cutting lace you get to stretch it. outside with the lace around the tree and the maker using their body into something akin to a trust fall.

Adam cutting more lace

Adam cutting more lace

Lacing the drum and slowly tensioning it,  bit by bit, was next.  Experience helps for this and I handed the last round of tensioning over to Adam who has made many many drums. Once I had laced the drum and before tensioning I had maybe 10 centimetres of lace left over. After tensioning I had several feet. Enough to bind a bulky handle around the cross laces.

Laced hoop

Laced hoop

The drum is hanging up to dry in my utility room, the coldest room in the house, and I can’t wait to take her up somewhere peaceful and play her for the first time. I will update this post with a picture once she is fully dry. The hide was so large that there was enough to build a second drum and a large rattle. Both are in the process of being made still!

I have done several workshops with Adam and as per usual there is the right mix of sacred and silly. Space to be you and relax. He puts you at ease and walks you through the process step by step. If ever you want to build a drum and you are anywhere near Avebury, I can highly recommend going to one of Adams workshops.

He doesn’t have a site (yet!) but can be found on his Facebook group  here.