Getting settled

birds 052I haven’t been idle while the internet was down. I spent the first few days trying to make a hell-hole into a home before my first visitor arrived. The morning after the move I looked as if I’d gone ten rounds with a blackberry bush, my forearms were scratched to high heaven from carrying boxes and I was aching in places that shouldn’t be possible and cursing the local rooster  who had made his presence known at an ungodly hour. He hadn’t been part of the deal…

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By the second morning, I had gone ten rounds with the brambles…cutting them all back so I could get to the windows to clean them. Everything smelled of artificial fragrances and cleaning products with a mid-note of cardboard as I began unpacking boxes and a distinct base-note of cow.

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The eco-friendly footprint of my little flat is about half the size of the old place. A lot of stuff had to go and what could not be disposed of via Freecycle and charity shops ended up as a small mountain on the drive to be collected and recycled by a specialist company. Consequently, I brought comparatively  little, other than the books…and even they had to be whittled down and will require further whittling as I acquire bookcases.

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The walls here are not book-friendly… most of them are full of windows and doors, or enclose the steamy atmosphere of kitchen and bathroom. The hallway, a spacious area which would have been perfect for bookcases, is all doors. The living room is not large and, although it looks pretty with its newly painted furniture, will have to become both office space and library too.

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It will, no doubt, be a reasonable expression of my life, dominated by books and desk, strewn with dog toys and wearing my own paintings on its walls. Which is pretty much perfect.

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The current working arrangement is not, with my old sewing table pressed into service as a tiny desk, squashed into a corner until I can find one that fits. Ani approves though, as she is currently able to sit on the sofa within stroking distance while I work… and still watch the garden and the newly-inherited fish that my son just happened to leave behind…

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By the time my friend arrived, just a few days after the move and fully expecting to spend at least half his holiday helping me get settled, the place was somehow comfortable and looking half decent. As long as you don’t look under the bed or in the walk-in wardrobe that is still piled head-high with books, props and costumes.

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It was enough though that we could simply sit and watch the sky and throw tennis balls. We even managed a couple of days away before the workshop in Wales … in compensation for the second cancellation this year of our research trip to Ireland.


Meanwhile, I am also reconnected to a wilder world, as the garden of my little flat is visited by hedgehogs, bats, birds and a possible mole. I had hoped the moles had long since vacated the premises. My younger son who lived here before me, had tried every possible method to dispose of them, up to and including sitting over their holes dangling worms on fishing lines.

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Ani seems to think they are still in residence and roots at the holes in the grass. Maybe it is just a fieldmouse in there… which will be another new experience for the small dog, who is in her element here. I can actually sit on the sofa and throw tennis balls to the end of the garden or watch her frantic efforts to chase the crickets.

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There are rabbits, foxes, hares and pheasants in the field at the bottom of the garden. Ravens and jackdaws occupy every tree in their hundreds and their raucous cries seldom cease. There is a constant symphony of trilling, warbling and chirrups  while ever there is light in the sky.

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Dawn is sung into being each morning from a thousand throats and dusk brings the chorus of evensong and the calls of owls. Red kites soar overhead, swallows skim the treetops and… cows stick their heads over the fence to gaze at the perplexed doglet.


The most frequent visitor is a gentle creature. Her only official name seems to be ThreeFourFour, but her determination to become part of the family and her insatiable curiosity demanded that we call her by a name more fitting. With a whole field of hazards to go at, and with an abiding hope that the small dog will become accustomed to the presence of ThreeFourFour and her friends, I named her Pandora.


Quite what was likely to occur when Ani met Pandora and her kin was anybody’s guess. The fences and greenery were enough, for the first few days, to shield the denizens of the field from her sight. She sat on the grass for hours, nostrils flaring, trying to identify the strange scents and fleeting glimpses, but to no avail.


It would seem that Pandora was equally curious about her new neighbour an, already occupying higher ground as it were, took the initiative and stuck her head into the garden through the bushes.

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The small dog was a little bemused, with an odd look in her eyes… but after a startled bark to alert me to the intruder and a scramble behind the shed to see if she could scale the fence, she seemed content to watch from the safety of my side.

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Ani is far more content here. We live in a cul-de-sac, separated from the road that leaves the village by high hedgerows. No-one passes the windows, it is quiet and the garden doors are always open. She can run in and out all day yet still see me through the wide open windows… and our walk in the countryside starts just a minute away from our door.

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Mistwraiths dance in the fields and the sky is an ever-changing canvas in sunshine or rain. We watch the dawn from the sofa every morning and catch the reflected glory of sunset as it paints the east… or walk out to the fields to watch it flame in the west. We have watched the wide horizon filled with lightning as we cuddled on the sofa and watch the birds come into the garden all day and the canopy of stars  at night.

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A resident sparrow sits at the corner of the roof and twitters at the small dog… she just grins up at it instead of the once-frantic barking. An odd-looking young pigeon crash-landed on the grass and sat for a while to recover on the fence… Ani just watched.

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Blackbirds, thrushes and a juvenile robin come right up to the threshold of the open door, showing no fear at all and we watch them come. Ani’s nose does not stop twitching as she scans the air and it is a delight to see her loving her new home and exploring new fields and woods. I think we are settling in nicely.

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About Sue Vincent

Sue Vincent is a Yorkshire-born writer and one of the Directors of The Silent Eye, a modern Mystery School. She writes alone and with Stuart France, exploring ancient myths, the mysterious landscape of Albion and the inner journey of the soul. Find out more at France and Vincent. She is owned by a small dog who also blogs. Follow her at and on Twitter @SCVincent. Find her books on Goodreads and follow her on Amazon worldwide to find out about new releases and offers. Email:
This entry was posted in Books, Dogs, Landscape, Life, Photography and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

71 Responses to Getting settled

  1. Ritu says:

    I believe you are in earth’s version of Heaven! What an inspiring, beautify setting!
    I love Pandora! And I can see why Ani is loving her new home!
    Enjoy your slice of heaven on earth Sue!!!


  2. Looks lovely, Sue. I wish you all the very best there. 🙂


  3. acflory says:

    It sounds as if you and Ani have come home. 🙂


  4. Cathy says:

    Happy new home 🙂


  5. What a lovely environment. It could be our surroundings, where we live now since a year 🙂 Good Luck Pawkisses for the New Home 🙂 ❤


  6. Wishing you contentment and peace in your new home. Downsizing can be a pain. We ended up with less than 1% of what we had in the house, and even then we couldn’t fit it all in! However, the boating life suits us all, and I wouldn’t change it! Enjoy the country and wildlife. 🙂


  7. jenanita01 says:

    All things considered, it sounds like heaven…


  8. Mary Smith says:

    What a lovely post. I’m so pleased to know you – and Ani – are settling in. Your new home sounds lovely.


  9. socialbridge says:

    Ani, delighted to here things are working out so well for you. Your friend, Stanny


  10. merrildsmith says:

    Wishing you all the best in your lovely new home. It seems very peaceful.


  11. It sounds lovely, Sue. 🙂 — Suzanne


  12. Home. Just lovely. Thanks for sharing a bit of it with us. 💕


  13. noelleg44 says:

    This is just what I was waiting to hear! You’ve found a small corner of Eden – with all the birds, the gentle black and white neighbor, and an arrangement that suits Ani so well, the space seems a minor problem. I’m sure over time you will find solutions to storing books and making a better office space. Home – you’ve done it!


  14. noelleg44 says:

    PS I have a neighbor who uses wooden ladders to store books.


  15. Mick Canning says:

    It looks lovely there, Sue


  16. may it ever be your own little piece of heaven


  17. It looks lovely and seems like, with all the work involved, worth the effort. Especially because the MOST important family member — Ani — is happy. That’s all that really counts, right?


  18. Judy Martin says:

    Oh, it looks absolutely beautiful there Sue.. I am sure you and Ani will be very happy there …..with your new friends!


  19. I will miss the goldfish pond, but it is a beautiful place to be. Lot’s of luck on getting things squared away for your comfort.


  20. obi says:

    This is share fine music and the orchestra is only just warming up,it feels sweet to feel the way you are settling in,and the way you share this, really warms the heart and makes for a longing.Its my real pleasure to see and read the way you are having things done. I feel the Sue touch to life.Congratulations to you and to Ani.Have a pleasant weekend you both.


  21. Beautiful and peaceful spot. It looks like Ani is pleased too. All those new sights and smells. Congrats for settling into your lovely new home.


  22. dgkaye says:

    Looks like a piece of heaven with those views and such company around.Those animals are all sure to keep Ani busy. But you may have to relocate that rooster! Good luck in your new home Sue. Get some rest. ❤


  23. Good to hear, Sue. Welcome to your new home. I hope both Ani and you are very happy there. Seems like you are both already settling in.


  24. Widdershins says:

    If there are any moles perhaps the nose of the small dog being imprudently stuffed down their front doors might induce them to also downsize, elsewhere. 🙂


  25. Helen Jones says:

    This is a wonderful place, Sue – sounds just about perfect. Love that Ani is enjoying it so much, and you already sound so much at peace, despite the recent move and internet wrangling. So pleased to hear that the move has gone well 🙂


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