Wednesday, October 31, 2007

OK Enough of that.

Comment moderation is off again. What a pain.

I thought I'd drop a quick note in here to let people know I'm still alive (all two of my faithful readers who are still coming back to check, that is.) It's really not that I'm deliberately negelcting y'all. Really.

I just left a comment at Steve's place saying that being out of the 'sphere is making me very sympathetic to the Borg (always have tended to root for the bad guys anyway) who kept getting kidnapped by those nancy-boy Federation people and cut off from the Collective. Now I know what it's like!

People have been so nice about my triumphant return to the 'sphere and have sent lots of emails saying welcome back that I thought y'all deserved a bit of explanation. Everything is really going swimmingly here. I've got the keys to a cottage in the lovely little rural Cheshire village I've landed in. It needs a bit of work, but it really is a dream come true. It's tiny of course: four rooms in total and no central heating, but I'm all for that. The height of the door frames makes me think it was probably built by hobbits. I have banged my head on it exactly five times now, each time harder than the last. We tested the fireplace in the main room and it draws a coal fire very nicely and the extremely kind landlady has donated an electric kettle and will be brining round a pile of firewood. There's another fireplace in the bedroom but it needs to be restored before I can use it.

The kitchen is an add-on at the back, probably put in sometime after WWII, and it needs to be completely redone. No gas, but I've a plan to buy a propane barbeque and use it as an outdoor gas range for big cooking projects that I don't want to pay the electricity for (like oxtail soup that requires five hours of simmering and jams). Already done a batch of crab apple jelly and another of rosehip syrup. Went out and collected the last of the rosehips day before yesterday and there's more to come. (Was menaced by a bull! Very exciting story that; can't wait to tell you.)

It's one of a row of cottages built shortly after the Enclosures to house the families of farm labourers mostly men with families who had been forced out of their small land holdings during that first proto-Communist government land-grab...more on that later. I really can't do it or the village justice in words. I've taken lots of pics and as soon as I can I'll be posting them to make you all wild with jealousy.

But here's the rub. I've been staying with the until-recently-long-lost relatives here and they, although wonderful in every way, are not internet people. They have real lives instead (weird, I know, but hey, each to his own right?) and so only have a dial-up connection that (...wait for it, are you sitting down?) you have to pay for BY THE MINUTE!


So, you may imagine that I'm very strictly rationing my internet time and limiting it to paid work-related things. I open the pages I find that relate to the thing I'm writing and then shut the connection down while I'm reading and putting the story together. It's driving me mad.

But do not despair. I've been collecting photos and have had many adventures that I'm longing to share. In fact, a big purpose of the "New Devout Life" blog is to write about life in England in every aspect. So, get ready. Because it is a wonderful wonderful place. Utterly amazing. Full of incomprehensible legal rubbish, but wonderfully resiliant and fun people. So far I've been completely bowled over by the kindness and generosity of the people here. Country people rule! lemme tell ya.

OK, that's enough for now.

I got BT to put a phone line into the cottage next week and broadband will follow shortly so not much longer now.

Watch this space.

(No, I didn't get to the EU rally in London. But that's OK.)



Anonymous said...


Have been waiting soooo long.......thanks for tossing us a bone!


Anonymous said...

Welcome Back, Hilary!

But please do tell us about the bull. Bulls juxtaposed with rosehips is quite a startling mental image.

It reminds that spring is dangerous: the bullrush is out, the cowlips about and the hedges are shooting.

Is there a TLM in Cheshire? Have you met the Cat?

Anonymous said...

Looking forward to seeing the pics. Glad that it's going well, and glad too that someone has some enthusiasm for England as it continues to have the life squeezed out of it by Westminster.

Anonymous said...

I'm already jealous just from the verbal description of your new place!

Jeremy said...

It's a delight to hear from you!

Steve said...

Good to have you back, and yes, yes, we're all jealous.

One suggestion on the internet issue: when I was in Austria we had a similar problem, so we all composed our e-mails (didn't have a blog at the time) and then they were uploaded when we went online.

It's the easiest workaround for posting, though it doesn't do much for reading and commenting.

Anonymous said...

I will be really interested to hear what you have to say about the Enclosures. I had always understood from my, limited, reading that the Enclosures were against the will of the people and not in their best interest but my son, the university student, here in Australia told me that from his reading they were a great idea and everyone benefitted. Could you recommend a book which objectively discusses the effect of the Enclosures?


Anonymous said...

Why Cheshire out of all the English counties?


M. Alexander said...

Oh you're back and your little cottage sounds delightful in all its distressing details! And it sounds a lot like our 1870s farmhouse. And I've never loved being anywhere as much as I've loved being here.

I cannot wait to hear every detail of cottage life in the English countryside.

Until then I will remain terribly, terribly jealous. Oh and for victorian housekeeping tips- let me recommend Brocante Home Chronicles. ( Politically we have absolutely nothing in common but on housekeeping she is exquisite.