On 15th December 2016 I set off, car bulging with craft materials, for 31 days of blissful solitude in a treehouse near the Pembrokeshire sea.
Click here for the AirBnB link to the Treehouse, where you can see photos and my review.
I was returning to the ‘Land of My Fathers’ – Wales. My Mum was born in Pembrokeshire and she took us there for a week or two every August. When I was old enough, I used to go on my own, to stay with my beloved Grandfather and wonderfully homely step-Grandmother, whom I called Dabbity. They were both teachers and my brother and I used to go and stay with them as teenagers when we were studying for school exams. Although a five-and-a-half hour car journey away from where I live now, the Solva area feels like home. As soon as I cross the Severn Bridge, I get a huge buzz of excitement and sense of belonging.
Every other year I don’t ‘do’ Christmas and this was my year off – sometimes I batten down the hatches at home, but mostly I go off on an adventure, to a place where Christmas doesn’t exist – not always easy to find!
I set off early, so that I would arrive in daylight.
My first impressions of the treehouse were that is was much bigger than I had expected and very warm and cosy. It had radiators in every room and views of trees and fields from every window.
I got there in time to trek backwards and forwards from the car several times unpacking a huge amount of drawing material, sewing and crochet. As the light was fading I walked across the field from the decking and caught my first glimpse of the sea. (this photo was not taken on the first night, but here’s the view that greeted me)
My journal entry:
I stood and drank in the sights and sounds. I can see for miles up there. I could hear the sea. There was a star twinkling in the darkening pink and blue sky – Venus possibly, and a raven circled slowly towards me and over my head calling a mellow, two note ‘hello’. The lights on a vessel far out to sea twinkled on the horizon.
I was filled with a supreme sense of connection, peace and joy.
I felt at home and welcomed by the land.
The month stretches ahead and I know it will whizz by, but for now I am luxuriating in a great sense of space and time. It is hard to find the words to describe how wonderfully uplifting and nurturing it feels. It feels like heaven!
Setting up a jigsaw – a sensual experience.
I have brought with me a 2000 piece jigsaw (bought in a charity shop). Whilst sorting the pieces (one of my favourite bits) I was enjoying lifting up double handfuls of pieces and letting them fall through my fingers – the sound and sensation – delicious!
Then a walk as the drizzle was clearing along the path to the cliff, to be greeted once more by the friendly raven and nearer the sea I was met by an agitated chough.
Looping back I followed the lower path, through mossy, swampy woodland where fairies and elves are sure to hang out. Next comes the millpond which spills out into a narrow stream in full spate, wriggling its way to the sea.
Back for more jigsaw sorting at the kitchen table, pushed up against the west-facing window, looking out on the field, watching a magpie investigating mole hills and finding tasty morsels.
I am loving the silence.
It is fairly peaceful where I live, but there is very often the sound of neighbours, hammering or mowing. Here there is the wind, the sea and the birds.
My soul feels like it is quenching it’s thirst and enjoying great gulps of solitude in nature, drinking deep and filling its depleted reservoirs. I’m slightly fearful it will be too much of a wrench to return – but thankfully I don’t have to think about that for a long time yet.
Look at the view from my bedroom window …..
…. cradled in the arms of an ash tree and looking down through her branches to the woodland stream below.
The decking is bordered by trees – it feels like one is sitting right in the hedge, like a wren.
The view from the door, perched in an old apple tree, looks back at the house….
….. every morning, from the sitting-room window, I watched the sun rise over a farm across the valley
It is such a joy to be remembering those feelings of deep relaxation and to be sharing them with you ……….
To be continued