I Was Swallowed By A Hippo

Castle life, Aga strife, slummy mummy, average wife

One Year On

on May 30, 2014


Tomorrow (or three weeks ago by the time I get around to hitting ‘publish’) is/was our one year anniversary of moving in to the castle. It has passed in the blink of an eye as life tends to do so I am feeling very pleased with myself for keeping up this blog, all be it sporadically, so I can see how far we’ve come. The achievements have been many. My husband has successfully installed a bio-mass boiler, refurbished two castle apartments, planted an orchard in the walled garden, installed a wood-burning hot tub and sauna for our guests and held down a full-time consultancy job. I have learned to fold fitted sheets and pick up dog poo without gagging. Big pats on backs all round.

It has taken a year, but I am in a good place with the Aga at the moment – as long as I steer clear of toast and roasted aubergines. I have mastered anything that requires slow cooking, bread and scones. My burns are healing nicely and the scars serve as a helpful reminder to don heat protection gear when retrieving cremated items. I’m definitely getting the hang of it.

I have been warmly welcomed into the snug bosom of the village and have made some fabulous friends who I loved dearly immediately and who keep me sane. The nursery run quickly became a highlight as it offers the opportunity for normal conversation in amongst surreal toddler chit-chat and pretending to be professional on the phone to prospective customers. Occasionally it all gets a bit muddled and I find myself screaming down the phone at a random, “no you can’t have another bloody Jaffa cake” whilst calmly informing two year old India that she can of course hire towels for the small cost of £1 each and dogs are more than welcome. One day she will turn around and shriek, “A POUND??? FOR A FUCKING TOWEL??? Get my twatting Jaffa cake.” I’ll only have myself to blame.

Not much to moan about really.

Not much to moan about really.

I’m very relieved, but not surprised, that the children have embraced rural life so positively. It was the perfect age to uproot them from suburban life, being eighteen months and three and a half. Certainly the little one won’t remember anything from civilisation and the older one has never once demanded to go to a soft play centre or questioned the diminutive numbers in nursery and play group. Standards of grooming plummeted fairly quickly with hair-brushing becoming a non-occurrence and bath-time an occasional event if and when I can be bothered. I clean out the hens more often, if I’m honest. They have a pretty wonderful life really (the kids, but actually, also the hens, come to think of it…). They have dogs and grandparents on tap, their own beach a short (and yet, still whiny) walk away, acres of space to run about in and a steady stream of visiting friends and relatives to play with, as well as their own little local gang. It’s not far off being perfect.

With a year under our belts we are starting to plan new goals for the future and top of the list is expanding our wee family. Fortunately not with a baby, although sometimes in moment of exhaustion-induced madness I think, well I’m getting fuck-all sleep anyway I may as well be up with a newborn. These thoughts are swiftly followed by a self-inflicted slap and what we are actually hoping for is a chocolate Labrador puppy. The girls have even named it and more shockingly, I love their choice. I thought I’d made a huge mistake letting them pick a name, assuming the so far, non-existent pooch would have Peppa Pig for a namesake or something ridiculous like Margaret,  but they came up with the adorable moniker, Crumble which is perfect for a boy or girl and goes very well with his or her New York canine cousin, Pudding. We can’t wait to meet the furry little chap and hopefully won’t have to wait too long. I found pregnancy excruciatingly dull (right up until the drama at 33 weeks and an early appearance from my firstborn) so I’m banking on the puppy process taking a lot less than nine months.

Here’s to the next 12 months and the pitter-patter of tiny paws!



4 responses to “One Year On

  1. Gill says:

    Love it! Rural bliss indeed. I rarely wash my children either – it rains enough here that the visible dirt gets washed away without too much effort on my part.

  2. Caroline says:

    A year! Congratulations. You make it all sound fabulous, well jel.

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