Rain is falling gently, making our world quiet and peaceful. I have an unexpected day off and am basking in the utter novelty of a day to myself. Bear and I had a leisurely breakfast, I watched Miss Marple and Poirot, and sipped tea on the veranda then hot chocolate in bed as I basked in the richness of stillness.
It’s been an intense week of hard physical labour in addition to my regular work. After several months of chiropractic work and physical therapy, my body is finally able to handle the demands of getting our farm back on track. I’ve loved every second of strengthening my muscles again as I hauled wood, piled trash, carted rocks, shifted furniture and equipment, dug some holes and filled in others, swept, shoveled, and raked. I could barely move at the end of each day, but it was good pain, the pain of a job well done and a body doing what it is meant to do. By next morning I was ready – albeit creakily – to go again. It’s a lovely, amazing thing to have strength and endurance again, and I’m cherishing it.
After so much work it was sheer bliss to clean off the dirt, straw, poop, and sawdust of the farm and get dolled up and head to the Empire Theatre in Toowoomba to watch the Moscow Ballet perform “Swan Lake.” It was exquisitely beautiful and inspiring, and especially fun shared with Oma and her grandson, Alex, who are always jolly company and great conversationalists. I returned home with visions of sumptuous costumes and soul-stirring music to send me off to sleep.
Next morning it was back to work as we bustled about getting ready for the arrival of our English friends – Gary, Lorraine, and Leah.
I had told Bear I needed a place on our farm where I could sit and only see beauty – no tasks to work on or projects to complete – just peaceful respite. I needed a pretty place. It would never enter Bear’s head to need a pretty place, but he’s a luv and helped me anyway.
We set up a campfire area with logs and stumps for sitting and one of our old medieval fire pits for cooking. We pulled in tables and chairs too because, I don’t care how spry you are, a fallen log is only comfortable for so long, and then you want something with a bit of squish to sink into and a solid back to lean against. We set up a bin to collect and hold firewood and then it was ready. It is a truly happy place for both of us where we can rest and look out on unencumbered views of trees and fields and goats grazing on a nearby hill.
I decorated simply with cheery tablecloths and a cluster of marigolds given to me by Shadrach, a lovely Congolese man I interviewed last week. They make me so happy.
Our friends arrived and we had such a jolly and peaceful day, the sort of day that leaves you totally tuckered out but with a big smile on your face.
We walked around the farm, saying hello to dogs, geese, pigs, bees, chooks, turkeys, and goats, before making a beeline for some shade and cold drinks. We visited long over lunch – slow-roasted beef on soft, buttered bread rolls and potato salad with capers, red onion, and paprika – all of us letting the cares and stresses of the last few months melt away as we laughed and told stories and decided that next time we were going to pitch tents and make a weekend of it.
When we found out they were keen to learn archery, Bear and I hauled out our stash of medieval bows, arrows, and a thoroughly modern target for some training and practice.
It was so much fun, marked with much hilarity as initial attempts sent arrows flopping and dipping wildly. Bear is a great teacher though, and soon arrows were thwack-ing into the target one right after the other, followed by whoops and hollers from the peanut gallery.
The afternoon flew by and before we knew it the sun was setting and it was time for dinner.
I built a fire and let it burn wildly for a bit until there was a good bed of coals. Then we set a grate above the hot little beauties and put sausages on to cook.
I thought I’d give the coals a little nudge with a few bits of kindling when WHOOSH a billow of flame instantly charred one side of the sausages. Thankfully Gary came to the rescue and managed to salvage my burnt offerings and turn them into something edible and downright tasty.
We filled our plates, toasted each other with red wine and cold beer, and sat around the fire visiting and eating and watching the sun sink lower and lower.
At last it disappeared and a luminous moon appeared, casting a pale, magical glow over the farm. As the stars came out we hugged each other good-bye with promises to get together again soon.
It was a good day. xo