The last 6 weeks have been my worst nightmare on the domestic front – having major work done in the house whilst I am still living in it, something I vowed never to do again after a 2 year renovation project 15 years ago, the discomfort of which has clearly vanished from my memory. In fairness, it wasn’t meant to take this long or be this messy but that’s part and parcel of renovating and rejuvinating an ancient property – you really don’t know what you are going to find until you start that will throw a spanner in the works resulting in extra time and mess, or what happy discoveries you might make which will have the same result. I got both.
The final leg of the house project was upgrading the bathroom (circa ‘The Arc’) and improving the nasty light-less, character-less upstairs corridor which was installed by the previous occupants to create separate entrances for the bedrooms, previously walk-throughs….the house is 16th century, after all.
Plumbing proved tricky when it came to replacing the shower in the bathroom which also meant ‘the great outdoors’ was the only toilet during the day, whatever the weather and it was brutal for most of the time. Some days too, I couldn’t shower or bath, so a strip-wash at the kitchen sink had to suffice and given I work outside much of the time with the horses and the land, that was far from satisfactory.
The walls and ceilings in the work zone had extremely distasteful and old textured wallpaper stuck onto what looked like thick cardboard which was very difficult to remove and challenging to plaster. Anything that wasn’t plastered had to be filled and sanded over and over again and new lighting was installed via the loft which turned out to be faulty. Removing boxing to widen the corridor revealed some interesting woodwork which wasn’t to the taste of my predecessors but which I wanted to keep. However, various layers of paint had to be removed, old woodworm sanded off, wall edges re-built and much more…..a process I didn’t fully understand in advance. So I had no idea what I was letting myself in for. Still, bringing a dreary area of the house to life will be satisfying in the end.
Cleaning up every day was time consuming (the Henry was moaning, as was I) and having to put boots on to go from my bedroom to the loo at night was no joke whilst half asleep, especially as it involved a trip through ‘Siberia’ with all windows open to minimise the smell of glue, sealer, paint and plaster. Try as I might to keep my living area downstairs and the upstairs bedrooms as ‘clean zones’, inevitably dust spread and bits of plaster also fell out of the ceiling along the great wooden beams while grouting jumped out from the walls, the result of relentless banging upstairs; the main builder was working part time and often around in the evenings and on weekends too and I looked like a Martian sporting white freckles on my face and hands, as I tackled the first leg of the painting…all very testing!
My home space has always been my retreat from the madness of the world outside and my sanctuary to rejuvinate and it felt violated. I work outside every day so getting down and dirty is not a problem but I do like the dirt to stay outside. Plus the constant noise and disruption, lack of bathroom facilities, not being able to have a relaxing shower and pootle around in the bathroom last thing at night, or being able to get to anything I needed from upstairs during the day…really knocked me off my perch and I didn’t see it coming. As a result, I got tense, stressed and was spinning around in perpetual motion trying to get all usual things done as well as painting, problem solving and dealing with the mess. There was no-where to just stop and let it all go for a moment. You may remember my podcast entitled “How to regain your balance and equilibrium when life gets out of control“… well, I have to admit I was found wanting!
Like everyone else, I am a work in progress and my podcasts reflect what I am working on in my life. On the flip side, however, losing the plot on this occasion has sharpened my ability to notice the tell-tale signs and know what to do to get my balance back PDQ.
I know at some level, it should be possible to live in a state of ‘zen’ whatever is happening around me but most of us are not evolved enough (yet!) to do this. So at a practical level, I realised just how important it is to have a personal space, wherever it may be (in the home or elsewhere) which is ‘sacred’, ie. balanced and welcoming, where you can think, feel and connect to your higher, wiser self. Obviously, you also have to know when to take a moment to hang out there. Living on my own with few outside distractions (distraction is another good strategy) means personal space is vital.
I am pleased to report that I am back ‘on my vibe’ now… I have remembered what it feels like to be peaceful, calm, centred and know that there are solutions to all things and the next time (yes, there is always a next time) , I will notice when I am falling quicker and fix it.
Pics: Perfectly balanced nature. Balance is reflected everywhere in the natural world if only we look.
Videos & podcasts: Videos can be found in the Vlog section of this site and on Youtube. Podcasts can be found here and in the iTunes store (search ‘Fiona Price practical spirituality for everyday living’). Podcasts relevant to this blog include: Narrating your life; How to regain your balance and equilibrium when life gets out of control; Training your instinct.
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