I spent a lovely year sharing Sally and Emilys home, and life. Sally is a highly qualified, and experienced, nurse and between Sally and Rosie, who could always be found lying outside my bedroom door on any day I was really struggling (it was uncanny how she always knew), I blossomed while I was there. I started being able to make my own basic food (mostly the least chemically contaminated microwave food on a bag of rocket) on a daily basis. With the stress of bills and house maintenance lifted from my shoulders my health very very slowly improved. When I moved back into my family home of 22 years in March 2015 I thought I was capable of looking after myself and the house. Hmmm.

I had a nostalgic but happy year saying goodbye to the family home (helped by Jade, Jake and family friends) we all loved so much. It was a lot easier to say goodbye than I had imagined. Nothing stays the same. While I had been away a few of the neighbours had changed and things weren’t as peaceful as they had been. When we first moved into the house we  totally renovated it, the children were babies, and we loved to entertain with ‘bridge’ parties (the house has a river/mill race running past the back door and there is a house width bridge crossing it and joining the house and the garden) with friends and family that would run on into the early hours. Now I was getting payback for all those years when we were the noisy neighbours.

It was lovely to see the village regenerating. When we first moved in there was one other child. Within a year or two most houses had children. We had such a happy life in the village. The children all got on really well, there were a school and a bus route at the end of the lane and the neighbours were all lovely. Twenty years later all the children had grown up and moved out. Now, the older generation were starting to sell up and young families were moving back in.

If I had been well I would have loved being in the middle of all the hustle and bustle but part of ME, for me, is extreme sensitivity to noise (and light, and heat, and cold, and food, and meds blah blah blah) so normal everyday sounds made me feel really ill. Ill in a way that is very hard to describe but a big part is that it causes anxiety … something I had never felt before ME. Such a horrible feeling and when the noise goes on day in day out with no end in sight it was unbearable. To be fair the new neighbours were absolutely lovely and were apologetic, without me complaining (which I managed not to do to them although I would download onto my friends), and I reassured them (at least I hope I did) that it was all fine … they were doing nothing wrong at all but it really, really, wasn’t fine.

My friend Sally and her daughter Emily, who I stayed while my house was tenanted, were downsizing and, via the internet, I was helping Sally find the perfect new home for them. I decided that I would sell my home and buy some land, build a cabin to live in somewhere remote and peaceful and live happily ever after. I realised that I needed somewhere practical and manageable (small). I needed a cleaner in the family home (4 beds and 1.5 bathrooms on 3 storeys) and I really wanted somewhere I could look after on my own – a cabin seemed the only solution because I couldn’t afford a house in a quiet place with a pretty outlook. Or could I …

Sally was struggling to find anywhere she really liked. I was struggling to sell to someone with small children (I really wanted it to stay a family home and for another family to be as happy there as we had been). One afternoon my estate agent rang to say he had a young couple with him who had just come in to put their house on the market and he wondered if it would be ok to bring them over, now, to view my house. I said fine. Later, when the estate agent rang to say they loved it, had to hold off for a day or two because their house wasn’t even advertised yet, but wanted to make an offer, I asked him what they were selling. I realised it was exactly what Sally was looking for so I rang her. While I was on the phone the estate agent was calling her so she left our call and took theirs. They were ringing to tell her about the same house. We viewed it the next morning. She made an offer on theirs. They made an offer on mine. We all accepted our offers. Yippee! We were moving!

I then spent a couple of weeks happily not panicking about where I was going to go. I have learned that the Universe usually sorts these things out for you one way or another and if you dont plan, look, stress about it things have a way of working out better than you could have imagined. My friends and family weren’t quite so nonchalant about it and one afternoon I came off the phone from a lovely hours chat with my dad and found I had 3 missed calls on my mobile, a couple of text messages, a couple of messenger messages and an email (which I hadn’t seen), from Sally. I rang her thinking something awful must have happened. She had found me the perfect cottage. I reminded her that I couldn’t afford a house. She asked me to indulge her and come with her to see it and that if she had to put the extra money I needed on her credit cards I was having this house … she knew it was mine.

Of course, I fell in love with it and after some boring struggles which I won’t go into we all moved house on the same day – May 9th, 2016. Sally into my buyers house, my buyers into mine and me into the tiniest, most beautiful, perfectly formed, one bedroomed cottage you could ever wish to see.

Cottage