I’ve been writing this blog for over five years now and what better way to mark this milestone than to write a fresh, new spring post for 2019. Christmas now seems a distant memory but I hope 2019 has been good to you so far and I hope you are enjoying every single moment nature throws at you with those you love.
A couple of months ago, as lovely as it was to have a monthly wage coming in due to the extension of my supply teaching contract, I was beginning to think that I would never get a spare minute to myself again. I guess it takes a good three months to settle into a new job and get to know the ropes before it suddenly dawns on you that it’s not nearly as difficult as it was in the beginning. Something changed recently at work, and consequently, I feel so much more relaxed, my lessons are easier to plan and I seem to have so much more free time on my hands. It doesn’t mean the pupils are any easier to control, in fact I often ask myself whether I am cut out to teach English full time or not, but nevertheless, I’m in a good place.
The majority of jobs have their ups and downs. When all is going well, it’s a really great day, yet when things don’t go to plan, it’s the “worst day EVER!”. I would say that when the negative days start to outweigh the positive, it’s time to look for a new job or even career. Luckily, I’m not at that point…yet! I do actually enjoy teaching and if I play my cards right, I should be able to use my free time to get back in the garden and rekindle my passion with nature. I may just have found that balance I was looking for.
So, how do you re-address the balance of work and pleasure? Like so many people all over the world, I have to commute to work. It’s not even a bad commute…it’s a 45-minute car journey each way amidst beautiful, rolling hills and countryside views. I have recently managed to shuffle my timetable around so that I get one Monday out of two off work. This now means that once every two weeks I now have an extra day to get my hands dirty in the garden, do some illustrations for my children’s book and write this blog! It all comes down to perspectives. Before my contract started in October, I had so much free time on my hands but I didn’t appreciate it. Then I had even less time, accepting to work a full-time position, only to find myself with endless opportunities in a 3-day weekend which has now been given back to me.
It reminds me of one my daughter’s story books, written by The Gruffalo author, Julia Donaldson :
A Squash and A Squeeze is a story of an old woman who comes to appreciate the size of her house. The story begins with an old woman complaining that her house is much too small. She enlists the help of a wise old man, who tells her first to take the hen in, then to take the pig in, and on and on until her home is full of animals, with barely any room to move. She finally returns to the wise old man, and he tells her to let all of the animals out again. She does, and is surprised at how spacious her house now feels – it is no longer too small.
Summary taken from https://www.teachingchildrenphilosophy.org/BookModule/ASquashAndASqueeze
I found this quote by Thich Nhat Hanh which sums it up nicely.
So what exactly have we been getting up to ?
In November, Pete and I went to discover the historical town of Albi for the first time. It was nice to have a change of scenery and become city-dwellers for the night, but even better to return home to our tranquil haven afterwards!
In December, Father Christmas managed to find his way to rural Aveyron once again and the kids were spoilt rotten.
We did our second Christmas market, although we didn’t make a huge profit. Having said that, my local coasters seemed to go down well and I’ve since done some crafts to order.
And now for the best bits of 2019 so far…in the garden!
There’s never a dull moment in an ever-changing landscape. One day we were building snowmen and not a week later, basking in spring temperatures under my Mum’s new terrace canopy.
We decided to scrap the individual vegetable beds and use the area in-between to extend our growing area. Add to this two huge piles of composted cow manure and you have a winning combination.
Pete extended the asparagus bed, adding twenty new plants, and we also put fallen branches and the grass layer in between our veg beds to lengthen the hugelkultur, to which we keep adding berry bushes.
We have decided to make a flower feature of our ruin and chopped back the bay tree, to clear the area.
My dad built his own garden shed.
We planted bamboo around the perimeter of our land to provide some privacy in years to come.
And as for the polytunnel, it is looking great with winter carrots nearly ready, chard, radish, lettuce and spinach all doing well.
And inside, Pete has started work on Alexander’s bedroom. I’ll add some photos of his progress in a later blog when it nears completion. All in all, it’s been a productive few months for us here Chez Têteblanche. How has 2019 been for you so far? Before you answer, consider how your perception of things through your five senses (or six if you include consciousness) shapes your perspective of everyday life and consider looking at things from a different angle for a change. It may just change your life for the better.
Got your perspectives and perceptions in a twist? This article might clear it up for you : WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN PERCEPTION AND PERSPECTIVE?