Monday, April 27, 2015

Another village life

As I mentioned in my last post, it has been a very tumultuous month, with many ups and downs, and much (too much!) emotion. But at least one thing is settled; my husband has found a job and we will be exchanging a Cumbrian life for a Cotswoldian (is that even a word?) one.

It feels very odd and unsettling to contemplate moving. We came here four years ago intending to stay for decades, hopefully until my husband's retirement. It felt wonderful, like sinking into a hot bubble bath, to know you didn't have to move. To consider the next few years and be able to build into people, places, institutions and ideas, knowing you would be there to see things through.

In what felt like a moment all that comfort and security was gone, which I suppose shows me how fleeting and temporal this life really is. That notion has been brought home to me by my father's illness as well. How is it that one moment you can feel as if life stretches before you in an endless golden line of days, and in the next it feels as if it has been all snatched and scattered?

Well, back to the good news, or goodish news. We are moving to the Cotswolds, near Oxford. I'm not exactly sure what village we'll be living in, as we are still looking for a house to rent. But I suspect it will look something like this:

And yet I shall miss our village's steeply winding street, the glorious view of the fells and sea, even the bitter wind! I shall miss everything here, because I came here expecting to stay and now have discovered I can't.

But life is funny that way. Our ways are not God's ways, and I trust that He knows what He is doing in this as in all things. But it still feels hard and disappointing now, even though I am grateful that we have somewhere to go. And so my Cumbrian life will become my Cotswold life. I don't think I shall change the name of my blog, but watch this space for the further adventures of a village life!

Monday, April 20, 2015

The comfort of a village life

It's been a long time since I've written, and that's because a lot has happened. A lot of not-so-good things. In mid-March the school where my husband works and children attend announced quite suddenly that it is closing in July due to dwindling pupil numbers. This came as a big shock to everyone, because from the outside the school looked like it was doing well. It certainly came as a shock to us!

What has happened over the following few weeks demonstrates the power of a village community. Over 700 people came to a meeting immediately following the announcement to find ways to keep the school was open. A 'Rescue Team' was formed and has been campaigning tirelessly to keep it open, and many, many people have volunteered to help. You can learn more about it here.

However, two days ago the Governors of the school announced they would not rescind the closure notice, and so the school is, in fact, closing. What this means for us is that we will lose our lovely village life, and move elsewhere--watch this space!

The other very hard thing that happened was last week my dear father was diagnosed with leukaemia, with a prognosis varying from a few months to a year or possibly more. This also came out of the blue, and was (and is) very hard to bear. My father is the most wonderful person, so funny and wise and loving. My children adore him. I flew out to be with him and my mother last week:

While I was away my village community rallied around to help my family, taking care of children, making meals, and writing us cards of care and support. I am so thankful for everyone here. They have proved stalwart friends in both good times and bad.

Meanwhile spring has burst upon us at last, and the sunshine and warm(ish) weather is a balm to my wounded soul. Plus I have lots of new books out, which is always exciting. My romance set in a small town in Vermont is out now:

You can buy it on any ebook platform. I also received ARCs of my novel for Penguin/NAL, Rainy Day Sisters, which I am very excited about. Coming to a bookshop near you in August!

Meanwhile I am enjoying the sunshine and treasuring the days, because I am realising how precious and fleeting time is.