That’s where I left it last time. Friends and family to the rescue, going through my stuff, my life, making me choose whether to keep this or throw that or send to charity.
Bags and bags of clothes went off to the hospice shop, boxes of stuff were piled into people carriers and carted off to the tip – I know the local tips very well now I can assure you. You can’t just chuck stuff away any more. Every box needs to disgorge its contents into different recycling points dotted along, car batteries here, timber there, gas bottles somewhere else, shoes, metal, lap tops, toasters, they all have to be sorted into the right places.
Into the loft we went, discovering yet more ex-‘s boxes of precious and less precious belongings, all forgotten and left behind for me. Along with more of my own ‘stuff’. Lofts are easy places to lose stuff you can’t quite let go of aren’t they! And garages. Oh dear lord how much crap have I got in the garage?! A LOT! God it was hard going through all this stuff. And still there’s too much left to go through. “How many bikes do you need?” I’ve been asked many times lately since I have ‘a few’. “Well…. They’re my hobby, I built them all up from components when I wasn’t busy, they helped keep me sane*…” Said I.
*’Sane’is a little over-stated. I certainly haven’t remained sane, but who knows how much worse I’d have been without my bikes to ride and care for.
And then there’s the climbing wall in the cabin. Yep, a proper, custom-made, commercial grade ‘bouldering cave’ that my ex- had spotted for sale 300 miles away, which I duly collected and rebuilt in the cabin that was supposed to be my bike workshop, which then became the garage, leaving the cherished 1973 VW camper van out in the cold. The climbing wall would have to go, after dismantling it of course, no easy task being made of a bolted framework of 2″ box steel and plywood 4m x 3m x 2.4m. (That’s it in the photo).
We had a lot of stuff. I still had most of it.
And then there’s the two spare sets of wheels with Autumn and Winter tyres. Etc etc etc…
A whole lotta stuff! So we sifted and shifted and sorted and tidied and dumped and so on. And then something happened. Just when I was making real progress (between falling apart regularly into tearful meltdowns), just when help was coming from all angles which I was so grateful and ashamed of needing, things suddenly became a little complicated. Carelessly lifting one of those spare wheels and tyres I slipped a bloody disc in my back.
At least I’ve got plenty of books to read. Did I tell you about the books..?
Well, here I am three weeks later and I’m glad to say that much couch-lounging, a couple of thousand pages of book reading and some gentle pottering have led to a rapid recovery, much faster than the six to eight weeks that I’d been told.
Now the worst has passed I’m feeling guilty about my enforced rest where nearly all activity had ceased, and I’ve now got to regain the momentum that I’d battled to muster previously, with much help from aforementioned friends and family. Reading was a great diversion from worry, but then it became escapism and avoidance, and, while I must refrain from heavy lifting, there’s no reason not to return to the mammoth task at hand, to prepare my extrication from this stronghold of emotional and social isolation. For all the peace and quiet this place offers, a great retreat from the daily bustle of life, it’s sufficiently tucked away in a small village that it’s very easy to feel one has dropped out of society when one doesn’t have work to add perspective. Yet I still don’t want to leave! But, sooner or later, leave I must. Financially it just isn’t sustainable with things as they currently stand.