Tuesday, 9 November 2010


view from our bedroom window

This  picture has nothing to do with the promulgated subject of this post; those that I have taken associated with the topic are too boring and you might switch off - you might anyway but I'll take a chance on that. Normally, at the time when I took this photo, I would have been at my desk, writing; but I am 'between years' and re-organising myself, at the same time as (supposedly) downsizing. Whilst I was in the throes of so doing, right outside our window flowed The Hunt (our house is so old and low-set in relation to the present road that the huntsmen can look right in to our upstairs windows). 

Baying of the hounds, the followers behind in decrepit cars, muddy land-rovers and even quad bikes with trailers in which rode chaps in ancient tweeds and caps the like of which my grandfather would wear, pretending to be a gentleman farmer, which he wasn't, though he was a gentleman. And all those sprightly men and women, young and old, spic-and-span upon their horses; the women with netted hair below their hard-hats. They congregated outside the pub (The Norman Knight) milling around, dogs barking. I decide to record this moment, for any second they will be up and away. Only vantage point is our bedroom window; I lean out precariously regardless of my feet already slipping on the polished wooden floor. If I fall, I'll break my neck for sure, landing on the flagstones below. Hence, the photo has a) camera shake, b) a telegraph pole that appears at a rakish angle and c) the mist and rain of a typical November day. I close the window against the rain, and continue with downsizing. Later, as dusk falls, the huntsmen return, clattering up the hill to where they have no doubt left their horse-boxes. One young man (is he 'master of foxhounds'?) rides back and forth alongside the village green, hallooing. Have the hounds gone missing? One elderly gent rides past, out-of-breath and red in the face, his horse a slather of sweat.

Such an English scene, never mind what the Hunt had convened for; I could write plenty on that, but end the evening with the sound in my ears of another English tradition: the ringing of church bells - for Tuesday is practice night. It takes my mind back a few years to the Millennium when Raymond and I went along with others from the village to see the final two of eight bells cast (at a bell-foundry in Loughborough), and subsequently transported here and hung in the bell-tower. That was in my pre-digital-camera days, but somewhere I have negatives and prints of the whole process; when - in my downsizing - I find them, I'll post them on this blog. Of course, if I was wearing my journalist hat, I'd have ferreted them from wherever they are stashed, along with my photos of the Church, and even, perhaps, those of our village Millennium celebrations when we turned a farmer's barn into a feast house for a medieval gathering. Ten years ago; it seems but yesterday.

But that's another story, as is 'downsizing'; and the bells are lulling my senses as I turn back the years. I'll leave you with the photo that begins my saga of de-cluttering this old 16th century farmhouse. It's surprising the unfulfilled dreams you uncover when you reach below the surface. Just the two of us now, rattling around in so many rooms, so many nooks and crannies; and all filled with memories that have to be disposed of - or at least the visible evidence of so much of our life here.

beginning downsizing (I'm rather ashamed of this)


  1. tremendously interesting post Ann - I loved reading it. You are doing a good thing in your downsizing project - just a little bit at a time gets you there. xxx

  2. Ha! I love your desk! I bet you know where everything is, too. I was wondering if the wee fox went and had a cup of tea in town leading all the hounds and huntsmen to follow...

  3. Wow, the hunt looks amazing - and doing it in all that wet! Glad you didn't plant yourself headfirst in the pavers!

  4. I just sat in awe at your pictures of the Hunt..I did not realise they actually still happened..even though many diaspprove from what i have read it looks like it would and could be 100 years ago.What an amazing villiage you live in,just wonderful.Don't be ashamed of your corner it holds a wealth of knowledge and truth be known we are all sitting in a corner simialr writing on our laptops.I really enjoyd this blog and found myself daydreaming and actually being there. thanks for sharing so much.Carole

  5. What a wonderful view from your window - we only see COWS!! As for your last photo, that looks awfully familiar to me - and any other busy person with an enquiring mind and lots to do! Does that mean you will be moving from your lovely home then? As you know, we are downsizing - if ANYONE EVER comes to view/buy this place!

  6. I'm glad you showed your desk, it makes me feel better about the fact that my whole house is in a similar state of affairs :D

  7. Stunning and magical photos of the hunt, I am mesmerizied by them.
    I am de-cluttering also. Your desk looks just fine, don't worry, your a working journalist and blogger, if the cyber-world doesn't like it, oh well.
    Enjoy your de-cluttering adventures.

  8. Ah yes, the beginning of the de-cluttering: always more inspiring than the middle when you reach the stage you can't see the floor or a near-future time when you will ever again - good luck!

  9. My desk is right now rather unnaturally clear as it shares the guest room space and we have had guests. Looks are deceiving, however, as I merely shifted the notebooks, photos, important papers and snippets to other spots--any place they could be cached.
    Anyone who has helped in the gloomy process of dispersing "stuff" after the death of older family members vows never to leave such a legacy of clutter--but I am not ready to part with my books, fabric, genealogy notes.
    Autumn is perhaps a fitting time for a bit of space renovating making it more inviting for the long winter time of turning to indoor crafts.
    I can't quite imagine the house being that much lower than the roadway--will have to ponder that.

  10. Fascinating post, Ann. I felt as if I was right there. Your final picture looks quite familiar... I like to say it's evidence of a creative soul.

  11. Loved reading of the hunt gathering.
    And your desk *speaks* to me. I can relate.
    "a creative mess is better then tidy idleness*

    happy day!

  12. I enjoyed learning something new as you described the hunt. The problem with de-cluttering is where to put the things you de-clutter. I tend to just shift from one place to another, but find many things I have been looking for!

  13. There is something about this piece of writing that strikes a chord with me, as I battle in vane to de-clutter our house or empty nest as it has now become. I think that you should also remember the positive things you have achieved, I am sure there are many.

  14. I enjoyed this post, Ann...so vividly described that I could see the riders gathering...and hear the pealing of the bells. I too, am trying to downsize but it's difficult. I think my books own me, not the other way around!

    Thank you for the anniversary congratulations...kind of you to stop by...:)


  15. I am still in the process of decluttering. An incredibly difficult task for a bower bird like myself. I have found that buying an extra hard drive, and using my scanner helped with the things that I found too difficult to part with. I have scanned all my old photos, and special memories and can now transport them anywhere. It was is a time consuming job though.

    Good luck with yours.


  16. Oh, I love scanners. I never knew it until Christmas when the new gifted printer came with a scanner. Takes forever but to save old fading photographs, papers, etc. wow.

  17. I hate the idea of hunting.. but yet I love the tradition the Englishness of it.....I love your desk thats just normal xxxxx
    Lynn xxx