2018: April in Cornwall

How are you all? Feels like it’s been a while. Things, they have been, as they say, a changin’ round these parts. Truth be told, it’s been hard to put metaphorical pen to paper. Whenever anyone asks me how I am, I say “tired”. Whenever anyone asks how things are, I reply “busy”. This is no good. It’s boring, predictable and not what we moved down here for.

Whilst my new year starts in January with my birthday, and September always brings a new term sort of feel, April to me will always be birth and new starts. Both my babies were born in April, and all around me, new life is unfolding. The buds are finally appearing on the trees, flowers are reappearing in the hedgerows, daisies in the meadows and grass, blossom in the lanes and lambs in the fields.

Back in January, I starting noting down and recommending some of the seasonal things that I’d been enjoying, so I thought I’d continue that… ideally, every month… 🙂

Becoming more aligned with natural cycles

I’ve become so much more aware of the lunar cycles since we moved here, in part because the tides are much more front of mind, and partly because the huge dark skies down here draw the attention to the phases of the moon much more clearly. For several months, my cycle was also totally tied to the lunar cycle which was quite fascinating.

The new moon in April is, I am told, a good time for fresh starts, new beginnings and planning. Whether or not this has any roots in reality, I am not sure, but I am taking it as a sign to try and get excited about new plans rather than ruminating on what went before.

Yoga

Actually, yoga is not new – I’ve been doing classes on and off for 20 years, but I’ve really got back into it down here. For 6 months I did the most amazing fireside slow flow yoga in the barn at Nancarrow Farm. The fireside classes started as the clocks went back last October and the last one coincided with the week of the Spring Equinox and the clocks going forward again.

I’ve now started a new class which when the weather allows is held on the beach. It is soul-nourishing to practice on the beach, the sand beneath our feet and opening the heart up to the entire sky, the sun gently warming our backs. Having seen the photo above left though, which was taken during our class this week, I realise I still have some way to go posture wise… I also need some new kit, as the mat that I am using I bought back at university and it really is on its last legs, likewise my leggings which are ancient ancient Sweaty Betty ones and could do with replacing too.

Yoga brings calm and stillness to my mind. These months in Cornwall have been a lot to process in many ways – in the six years that I have been grappling with my identity as a mother I am also grappling with the two other strands that make up my identity: success in my work life, and who I am in terms of age. I look at that photo above left and see an awkward girl in slightly wrong clothes, in slightly the wrong pose, a bit like a grasshopper, and that embodies where my mind is at. I don’t see a strong successful 36-year-old woman. I see someone who needs to wash her hair more and who doesn’t really excel at anything. Six years ago, I was a lawyer. Now I am a stay at home mother/ freelance writer and marketing person who spends most of her time looking for things, in perpetual chaos, stressed and always shouting no. Yoga (and surfing) are the only hours in my week where I can leave behind that and just be.

Polzeath Ladies Surf Club line up photo taken by Beth Druce

Surfing

Surfing is again something that I have a long and complicated relationship with. I grew up sailing and body boarding and long identified as someone who does watersports. Like many things, I was good but not exceptional and a combination of long hours at law school and a lack of confidence meant there was a good few years in my early 20s were my surfing was only once a year on holiday. Fast forward to body changes after two pregnancies and an industry which does its best to objectify women and both exclude newcomers whilst making money from selling beginner surfing lessons, and it’s hard work getting back into it. Still, fear aside, there is nothing like catching a wave, and since we’ve been down here, I’ve been re-learning my old enthusiasm, learning about surf history and the evolvement of the industry and trying to get out in the water every month through the winter. Last week I had my first session with the local ladies surf club and it was brilliant. Long mellow waves and I started to remember why I fell in love with it in the first place. Away from the pressures of working in the industry, of not knowing the right waves, names, or being able to drop everything to chase swell, I was up on every wave, body remembering the old skills. I’m looking forward to ditching the heavy winter suit and maybe finally progressing beyond the white water to the green waves out back. If you get a chance to try surfing this summer, I highly recommend it.

Floral faffing and home decorating

The kids bought me a floristry course which I did at the end of March – so much fun, and in particular, I loved creating little pieces out of the things other people were about to throw away. We’ve moved house now, more about that in the update post to come, and our weekend guests have started arriving again. I picked up some Cornish flowers from the greengrocers and created these darling little hand-tied posies (in this lovely recycled glass vase from Jo & Co). Pip is having a flower themed tea party for her birthday this weekend, so many more photos to come next week!

The banks and hedgerows are still full of daffodils and primroses with a few bluebells and scillas appearing too. Hawthorn is starting to flower, and pockets of Old Man’s Beard, in amongst the gorse whose yellow flowers have been the sole colour for the past few months. Pink flowers are starting to appear too now; pink primroses, deep purples ones too, and clumps of red campion (which is bright pink). There is less blossom down here in general outside of people’s gardens, but magnolia, camelia, and a few fruit trees have suddenly started to show flowers in the past couple of days.

Embracing Slow {life and the weather}

Following on from all the rather brain dump like thoughts above, I’m trying to embrace what life throws at me. I’m not there yet but I am trying to slow down and just enjoy. When a sunny lunchtime coincides with being outside a cafe, I’m trying to take time to eat lunch. To switch off my phone and take a few minutes to remember what drew us to living down here, rather than antagonising myself over all the things I can’t control. Likewise, we’ve had some days where the rain is sideways and the wind howls and the mist sits on the hillside and I’m trying to enjoy the cosiness that creates too.

And looking ahead for the last few days of April:

  • The first bluebells are in flower outside the house
  • The greenhouse needs clearing and then I need to get some flowers planted if I want any for the summer ahead.
  • The wild garlic is in flower now and needs picking!
  • Buster’s pre-school has duck eggs in an incubator which should be hatching any day now – I will put some on Instagram Stories if I can…

And, happy Spring! Let me know what seasonal things you’ve been up to.

Image credits: Yoga on the beach (c) Yoga Cornwall | Polzeath Ladies Surf Club (c) Beth Druce via PLSC | All other images my own.

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