Packing and Unpacking

Twice this week I’ve swum in a place called “Still Pool” on the River Dart. A baptism for this first blog entry! It’s very close to my soon to be new home in Staverton. The Dart river flows through the village, 100 yards from the house. Dartington Hall and Riverford are both within walking distance and Totnes  3 miles away – accessible by        bike    steam train       foot      and … car. 
Still Pool

After a year or so in transition, it is starting to feel like the real beginning of life in Devon. And as I’ve been preparing to move – emptying cupboards (again), packing boxes (again), taking things to the tip (again), I decided this particular beginning, which is packed with  ideas, deserves a new blog. 
August seems to be an auspicious month  - every move for the past twenty years has been in my birth month. From Alresford to Godsfield, from the bungalow to the newly built house and from there twenty years later to Devon.  And twenty years seems to be another familiar cycle – I left publishing in 2004 after twenty years.

And I remembered last week that it’s twenty years since I first started talking about creating a retreat space…which although not always uppermost, has been consistently nudging me on. 

A couple of weeks ago, after a phone call to confirm the removal date I suddenly felt teary, a little voice inside saying “So we’re not going back to Godsfield then?” I surprised myself. And even early this morning out walking in the field at the rental house I felt a twinge of sadness. This has been a place of transition – even the landscape and the gardens here have a familiar flavour. But where I’m going, the landscape is quite new, and exciting. 

Down river from Still Pool

The transition has been important – allowing the change to be fully “unpacked”: giving me space and time to process the sadness of leaving close friends and familiar ground, and to explore a new part of the country. I was lucky to have what you might call a “soft landing” in Devon, old friends already having beaten the path, new connections quickly made. Now, looking through the lens from the other side, I have a sense of  “I did it, and I have no regrets” 

Opening up a box of tricks one cold January day, I found a painting of a dream I’d had in 2004 (on a long retreat to mark the start of this post-publishing era). At the time I thought   “Devon – no way”. But the synchronicity of finding the image right in the thick of this transition time was not lost on me. The dreamer had even got the distances right (in the dream a man told me he was going to walk to Devon overnight, and that it was 120miles; I told him it would take longer than that!) At a time of feeling “not quite here yet”  it gave a sense of confirmation, of being on the right track.


Devon dream 2004 (creative interpretation!)

I could have been looking for a permanent home for a long time – it’s a beautiful area and I’m notoriously slow at decision making. And I surprised myself yet again by deciding quickly and not changing my mind once (well maybe once!). I’ll write more about the new home in my next blog. For now I just want to register the awareness of being at the end of a long period of change and transition that began back in 2004, and at the beginning of something quite new, even down to the landscape! The advent (waiting) time is over for now, the adventure, the new venture begins. 

  Finding myself swimming in the Dart during this rare hot July week is not a bad start.
Just to prove it! 

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3 comments on “Packing and Unpacking
  1. Fab blog Debbie well done!

  2. Good to hear from you Debbie x

  3. David Brock says:

    Looks like a place to call home, Deb! Congratulations and blessings of peace and sanctuary in your more permanent abode. Take care. DRB

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