Wednesday, 21 August 2013

A Time of Change

The house is strangely quiet. I am alone except for the dog.
It hasn't been this quiet since the beginning of June.
I don't think I have even been alone in the house since then.

There is no noise inside save for the ticking of the clock, the song of the birds drifting in through the open back door. 

This quietness and lack of things happening around me feels odd.

As I look about a clean and tidy kitchen with a vase of fresh flowers in the middle of a completely cleared table, and glance at the worktop which for once holds no piles of dirty dishes waiting to be washed up, or put in the dishwasher, I'm even wondering if I'm in the right house!

The living room is clean and tidy, dusted and vacuumed, surfaces clutter-free. Fresh flowers on the coffee table. A small posy of sweetly scented home-grown sweet peas in a little jug on the lamp table.

This lack of the usual homely messes certainly feels odd.

But then I've had time to catch up today.
The first time I've had to myself for nearly three months.

(any real-life friends reading this who know my usually messy home will be shaking their heads right now in disbelief)

Usually I am rather guiltily relieved when everything starts back up again and daily routines are resumed, and my time is my own (to a certain degree, allowing for all the usual humdrum chores, school/station runs, errands, shopping etc)

But this feels different.
The end of an era I suppose.

I am having a taster of the days to come when both husband and child (hardly a child though now, at 18, with her school days firmly behind her, university ahead of her, and today, heading out of the house looking smart, beautiful and confident, leaving a trail of gorgeous and expensive-smelling grapefruit-scented perfume in her wake, off to her full time summer job which will run until she starts uni - I feel so proud ) are gone from the house all day, leaving me to pick up the pieces and straighten the home until their return. 

So nothing unusual or out of the ordinary at all for most Mums, and for me this has been the norm since I stopped (even part-time) work a couple of years ago, but I have just had one of the most relaxing and longest summer holidays I have known since my own final school days, with both husband and daughter here all day since June. 

The longest work-free stretch my husband will have had in nearly 40 years of working. 
The first really long holiday for my daughter since starting nursery age 3 1/2.

 Waking mostly to warm sunny days, day after day, one or more of us usually out and about in the world, or busy with jobs around the house and garden; friends visiting; visiting friends; long walks with the dog through good old country smelling muck-strewn wheat fields and sunny orchards with tall rows of swelling fruits; days out, shopping trips etc, some days not really knowing or caring what day of the week it is, but at the end of the day, all coming home here to roost -  and so this sudden stillness in the house hits me quite hard.

Even though it has been the same every time the school holidays finish, year after year, term after term (unless I was working, then I tended not to notice amidst the daily bustle) I had forgotten how it feels after having them both around for so long.

It also hits hard as we are one down in our household. We sadly lost our beloved Bessie (our cat) a few weeks ago, all of a sudden - one day she was her usual self, two days later we had to say goodbye - the shock and upset of losing a beloved pet is hard to put into words.

We miss her so much, and still expect to see her coming down the garden path, or rolling on her back on the gravel drive to welcome you home when you step out of the car. 

God Bless you Bessie, we love you and you are so sadly missed.


So with changes ahead, husband starting a new contract soon and daughter soon to be off to uni, although she has elected to live at home and travel daily this term (mothers worry note: I hope she doesn't miss out on the social life, making friends etc ........wish she felt brave enough to stay there.....where did I go wrong etc etc..........) the uni being within an hours train ride, I am starting to feel a little surplus to requirements - sort of "not needed on voyage" - a spare part.

Time to get my life back methinks!??

Thank you for being so patient and for humouring my introspective thoughts - I usually try and avoid sharing private stuff but I know there are many of my blogging friends who have been through this - not quite Empty Nest syndrome yet I agree, but partly-vacated nest maybe? 

A hint of things to come, a little melancholy, a time of change.

Normal blogging will be resumed soon, and no more of this contemplative, navel-studying stuff I promise!


  1. Sleep tight, sweet Bessie x

  2. Lots of changes but you know what, you'll take them all in your stride.....just like you always have done! Being a parent is all about evolving, rolling with the changes. We can worry, we can fret but it doesn't stop those changes! Here's to a new chapter! Enjoy! :) x

  3. What a lovely post, Gill! Once you settle into this new routine a wee bit, I'm sure you will enjoy the peace & quiet. And in no time, you'll be filling your days with all sorts of fabulous and crafty things! Enjoy this transition time, and it's good to take time to reflect and be introspective sometimes. So sorry to read about Bessie, I know how hard it is to lose a much loved little furry creature.

  4. It's ok to feel melancholic so as long as you dont languish.
    I found myself on a downer after our holiday, thankfully it was short lived.
    I have never had a full nest, what I would give for one of those.

    Try and remember the good times with Bessie, I do know from experience how heart wrenching it is to lose a cat xxx

  5. At first I thought you might be having company with all the tidy rooms! LOL!!! Maybe you should have some friends over for tea, I think that will perk you up!

    I'm sure Bella will have lots of friends over and your home will be crazy busy as soon as it all kicks into gear - I say enjoy the peace, it may be another 40 years before it happens again! LOL!!!

    I'm very sorry about Bessie, I will keep her in my thoughts and prayers. She was a blessed cat to have had you for her family and your family was blessed to have had such a wonderful pet.

    My lazy summer days are ending soon. Back to work on Monday!!! I'd love to have September off! There's just so much to do!!!

    Have a wonderful week my friend!

  6. You will enjoy the 'me time' for sure once you get used to it. Think of all the creativity time you will be able to embrace!
    So sorry to hear about Bessie.
    M x

  7. I am so sorry to hear about poor Bessie, it is so hard to lose an animal family member, so very painful! Thinking about you all.
    It is hard to get used to change, I hate change but it happens unfortunately. This summer my daughter got married (though she's not gone far) and my son has moved to Berlin, so I know how you feel. At least Bella isn't moving away so that is something. You need to focus on your sewing and your little craft business and keep yourself busy!
    Take care Gill, it will be alright in fact you will probably get to really enjoy all the time you have to yourself.
    V xxx

  8. Times are changing for sure with your daughter off to uni, I wish her well in her studies. Living in isn't for everyone and who's to say she won't want to in time, being close by is a plus for her at the moment and for you if you do you need to visit.
    Sending you all a virtual hug for the loss of dear Bessie cat, our pets are part of the family and we miss them so much. Cherish your happy thoughts of her.
    Lisa x

  9. You'll soon fill your days with stuff. My daughter is working full time, she is the last of six, so when I'm not at work I'm home alone. I do like it.....

  10. What a nice written post. You took me through your home and let me smell the flowers, see the dust free surfaces in the shine of the sun. I find it hard to believe that one day I will experience the same thing. But right now I am in the middle of it and after spending 4 hours cleaning the house is really nice... For about 2 hours or so before all kids have turned things up side down again. And when I am standing there in frustration watching the cookie crumbles fall to my newly wiped table or how they run in and mess up my clean floor with shoes on I remind myself that one day - one day I will miss this. Believe it or not. And that is where you are now. Keep me posted. I want to follow you through this transition in life. Thanks for sharing.

  11. New beginnings, a new chapter in your life begins, it always seems strange at first but you'll soon settle into your new pattern and no doubt you will enjoy it. You are so lucky to have a daughter that wants to stay at home and share family life with you. So many nowadays go to university at 18 and move away completely. I'm so sorry to hear of your sad loss, a pet is such a treasured friend and companion but you have lots of happy memories of the time you shared together, perhaps it's time to think of getting another one. Liz x

  12. Beautiful post, Gill. Change is hard, especially losing your sweet cat at this time too, I am sorry about poor Bessie. I know how you feel having your daughter move on to Uni, having been through that with my two girls as well...but you will get used to it, and having a love of crafting, gardening, home making and reading, will all help you make the transition, I'm sure. I loved your description of your very tidy home and how strange it feels :)....
    Helen x

  13. Hi Gill so sorry to hear about Bessie.
    Kind regards

  14. I quite enjoy reading your introspection, Gill. I can feel how you're feeling because of how well you describe it. I am so very sorry about Bessie. I hope that once the melancholy part of so many changes is less fresh, you will have the desire and gumption to really discover yourself anew. xo

  15. Hello Gill
    Sound like a perfect summer. Change is always a little stressful but I am sure with your creative mind and attitude you will find time to pursue your passion. Sorry about your loss of dear Bessie

    Helen xx

  16. Hi Gill,

    Days like the one you had are rare for me as well! Happy to hear you enjoyed it so much! Sorry to hear about your cat.

    Wishing your daughter lots of luck at uni!

    Happy weekend,

    Madelief x

  17. Oh Gill, so sorry about Bessie, the paw prints they leave on our hearts are so bittersweet, we had our boys for 19 and 21 years and have been without them for 10, and I still think about them everyday...they stay with you forever, just in a different way.
    Big hugs to you, and may you find peace in the new situation that life's continual movement forward, has brought.
    xo J~

  18. My dear Gill, I am so sorry to hear about the loss of your little Bessie. It cuts to the quick, no doubt about it. I wish her a gentle journey, and send you a hug from way over here. Enjoy your clean and quiet cottage (what on earth can that be like, I wonder??) and I look forward to seeing what you will make with all the spare time. :)

  19. Hi Gill - I understand exactly where you're coming from here. In a few weeks time I shall be experiencing the same solitude but somehow it never really lasts for long and the Christmas holiays are here before we know it! Yikes, I said the C word! xCathy

  20. I'm so sorry to hear about the loss of your beautiful Bessie, our pets become part of the family and it's so hard when anything happens to them. It's definitely a time of change for you, but I'm sure it won't take long until you get used to it all.

  21. Hello Gill, so very sorry about your lovely Bessie, what a dreadful shock it must have been for you.I am sure you are so glad you have Logan.
    I think it's rather lovely that your daughter still wants to live with you while at Uni. You won't be lonely. You will get stuck in to some wonderful craft/garden/home projects, and the time will fly in. It's lovely to have you back, you have been missed. Thank you for all your kind and encouraging words. You are a lovely lady! Much love, Linda x


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Gill x