It is said that you cannot start the next chapter of your life if you keep re-reading the last one. With this in mind it is finally time for me to let go of the little place that I have called home for the past chapter of my life. It is neither time nor cost effective for me to be living between two properties and this transient state of flux is not conducive to an inner peace or healthy wellbeing.
February has been spent cleaning out clutter and cupboards. My vast array of books containing stories to stir the imagination, knowledge to enlighten and ideas to inspire, have been aired and packed into boxes.
As the last remnants of my possessions are gathered together to make the trip to La Petite Maison, where the next chapter of my life begins for real, I look around the rooms now forlorn without their adornment. Although by no means palatial, they were rooms where family and friends gathered and that have witnessed love, sadness, laughter and tears; romance and more tears when the romance ended.
Where once a little black and white cat lived and curled up in her favourite spot on the big sofa and her gentle giant of a son lay on the rug in front of the fire. But even the ghosts of the cats seem to have deserted this now bare alien space.
where I would sit bathed in sunlight listening to the blackbird singing as I sewed the very curtains that now grace the windows of La Petite Maison.
The faded patches on the walls the only sign of the pictures that once hung there.
My light filled little bathroom with the Tuscan marble tiles and terracotta jars filled with dried hydrangeas,
empty now of the items that made it personal - a bar of my handmade soap on the wash-hand basin the only clue that I was there.
is bland and purely functional.
No smells of freshly baked cake or homemade soups, and no indication left of the hours spent stirring pots of soap mixture to make my handmade soaps,
(like a Hedgewitch concocting herbal potions in her cauldron).
The view from the window is the same as it always has been - with the mature trees at the end of the garden, that I would watch change with the rhythm of the seasons.
Leaves turning red and gold in autumn, falling to the ground below
to leave the skeletal branches coated with an icing of sparkly winter frost
and silhouetted against a blue black sky in the light of a full moon.
Then the first joyous signs of spring as buds form; bursting into leaf at the arrival of summer. Although they have grown in all the years I have been there, there are fewer trees now than when I arrived - the cycle of life and death claiming several as they have succumbed in defeat to the powerful winds that tore them apart. I grieved over their loss and mourned the now empty space where once they stood proud and majestic. I will miss those trees!
As I stand there looking I feel as though part of my soul has been lost. This little place was my sanctuary where I could pull up the drawbridge and retreat away from the world.
I make my way down to the garden.
The rose arch is bare, but there are tiny green buds on the woody stems of the honeysuckle.
In my mind's eye I can see the honeysuckle entwined amongst the roses swathing the arch.
Rosa Mdm Gregoire Staechelin was the first rose that I ever planted and remains a firm favourite.
It is fitting that I leave the garden as it still sleeps, but I have the happy knowledge that a part of almost every plant from this garden, (apart from the horribly invasive bamboo, which if left unchecked will in a few years have consumed a large part of the garden) is already waiting to form a new garden - Le Jardin de La Petite Maison.
The emotions, energies and personal touches of what made this dwelling my home, will be transplanted too just like the plants and although I will always retain fond memories of this little place, I will view my home now as La Petite Maison - no longer a building site, but a fresh location to stamp my character and call my abode. Where batches of soap will be concocted upon the new kitchen range and the smell of baking and herbs will fill the air and where I hope that friends and family will gather once more.
A new chapter has begun.