Back in May I wrote this post. We had been in the valley a month and it was my intention to write another update after we had been here for six months. That was two months ago and I'm only just getting around to it. So here it is, Wales. Eight months in.
- The biggest change to me is the valley itself. Back in May the valley was a palette of greens, often set against the brightest blue skies. The wildlife was everywhere (including the house) and I was knee deep in brambles. Fast forward to December and the valley hills are now a palette of earthy browns and yellows set against grey skies. It's darker, wetter and colder, but still beautiful.
- We no longer have wildlife living in the house with us and thanks to a new wood burner there will be no jackdaws filling the chimney up with twigs next spring.
- The brambles have also been tamed. It took a lot of work that one and I lost count of the amount of hours I spent in the orchard pulling up bramble and nettle roots. In case you were wondering, nettles are easy and quite satisfying to pull up. Brambles are the actual devil. The orchard now homes Alessi's slide, trampoline and mud kitchen. We don't spend nearly enough time out there at the moment due to the rain and cold which feels like a huge waste somehow.
- Which links nicely to the mud. It's everywhere. Every time there's a storm or a spell of hard rain/wind, the windows get covered and I have to wash them again. Not because I'm precious about windows, but because they genuinely get that bad!
- The roads in the valley become interesting to drive after these periods of heavy rain. Water and debris from the trees cover the roads frequently now. My car hates it and develops an annoying squeak in wet weather. Speaking of my little Starlet, she's now almost permanently covered in a layer of mud. Poor girl.
- The bathroom has become Baltic once again.
- During the summer the grapevines in the orchard's greenhouse went mental. I was too busy battling brambles to tackle them then, but last month I finally got around to pruning them. It was like Day of the Triffids in there, but less orange. They are now pruned and the chickens are safely tucked away in there, protected from the worst the winter weather can bring.
All in all, it feels like the time of discovery has past. I don't even feel like this is our 'new' life anymore, it's simply our life now. And that feels good. It also feels like the right time to move on from the valley. The great Welsh experiment was a success and we now know that we made the right decision to move here and want to put down roots of our own. While I love this house and the valley, I need a home to call my own and earth to dig up and plant as I wish. Hopefully we can find something next year, but if not, I can certainly think of worse places to rent while we wait.