Sunday, December 21, 2008

A winter holiday, III

They spent little time in the funny village though, favouring days spent in the woods; huddled in their tiny but well insulated garden shed; building fires in the stove; reading by torchlight and snuggling by moonlight. On the rare occasion that the rain stopped they walked in the trees which whispered of fairy dwellings and night-time sprites; they strolled by moonlight and squealed when they stepped in mud that came up to their ankles; they gathered wood which they later dried by the stove and turned into fire the next day; they talked to Boris, the handsome chap who lived next door but who growled at them when they came too close to the garden boundaries. For there were many little houses in the woods, in varying states of decay. There were shiny ones with double glazing and fancy solar panels; there were ones that looked like the only thing holding them up was the mould around the edges yet smoke spiralling from the chimneys betrayed the fact that someone, someone hardy, was living in them; and then there were ones like Mim and Larch's.

Ones in-between. Ones that had solar panels but batteries that didn't really work, leaving them with little to no electricity worth speaking of but a plentiful supply of candles instead; ones that had stoves that heated the water, giving them hot showers at certain times of the day but that without the stove on in the winter were not much warmer than being outside. Ones that were slightly ramshackle but had beautiful wood panelled interiors that inspired 'ooh, it's just like a fairy tale!' gasps from their awestruck guests. Houses that had little sheds in their gardens, big enough for a very large mattress, a homemade stove and a hutch to house two rabbits. Houses in short, that were a breath of fresh air for city dwellers who longed to be country dwellers, desk slaves who longed to be outside, compulsive screen addicts who were desperate to switch off but who didn't know how. Heaven for those who lived in a 100 year old stone house, with draughty windows, loud neighbours and heating that they couldn't afford to switch on and that didn't work even when they did. Those whose nearest patch of nature was a park that albeit beautiful and once deeply loved, the girl had barely been able to set foot in since that May night when horrendous crime took place there, a crime that left the girl shaking each time she thought of the park, let alone walked by it.

Oh yes, the girl and her husband needed this woodland retreat and the lack of electricity, the kettle that took an hour to boil on the stove and the candles that lit up the darkness only enough so as to not walk straight into the stove but not enough to be able to see the rabbits who were snuffling and thumping in the corner. They needed it to salve their weary souls and to remind them of what it was they wanted from their life together...


  1. I feel an epiphany coming on...?

  2. Your writing and images are so beautifully soothing. I'm looking forward to what it is that you and your new husband learnt from your trip...

  3. Oh Cara, this is so gorgeous

  4. gorgeous photo.. love the simplicity of it. I find it very calming and peaceful :)


play nice.