The kitchen in my cottage in Scotland was being replaced and I’d made a decision to leave the builders, the plumbers, the electricians and the cabinet-makers to dismantle, demolish and construct to their hearts content. As they moved in early on a Monday morning, I moved out.
I’d worked with the kitchen designer, made all the decisions, and now it was letting go time. I was letting go of all those nagging little worries that come at the end of a project and can really give you sleepless nights.
I’d made an outline plan. Catching up with friends and family, plus the odd night of B & B, were all possibilities in a ‘Follow Grandma round the UK’ trip. I planned to allow for the unexpected opportunities so nothing was ‘set in stone’ and, just like in my foreign travels, I was ready for whatever adventures turned up.
What ‘turned up’ was a delight: a ring side seat at the circus; afternoon tea on top of the Derbyshire Dales; conversation with a violin maker (Michael Phoenix) in Liverpool’s Bluecoat Gallery; exploring the City docks; Jackson Pollock at the Tate Gallery; ethereal and spellbinding music (Arvo Part) sung by a small choir in the Richter exhibition in Manchester’s Whitworth Gallery; discovering a Lancashire perfumiere who creates her own stunning room fragrances -and that was just the first week.
Every day of the trip was different and had a distinctive rhythm. It was a delightful and absorbing ‘Round Britain’ trip.
I had imagined that as I meandered around I’d have plenty of time to write Blogs. But ‘letting go life’ was so full of surprises that the writing had to wait and here we are in a new year and I’m still editing my notes.
One thing I discovered was that when you’re completely absorbed by a circus, a violin maker, music in an art gallery or a beautiful landscape your worries and problems fade.
I really ‘let go’ of my worries about the kitchen and trusted that back at home my builder (Paul Martin) was cracking the whip and everything was being organised and assembled. A couple of neighbours sent reports (unsolicited) with big thumbs up signals attached and I breathed a sigh of relief.
A minor ‘hiccup’ came when the final painting and decorating appeared on a knife-edge – the booked painter suddenly wasn’t available. I was 250 miles away and there was nothing I could do. I decided to carry on trusting that all would be well and concentrated on enjoying my last day in the Lake District.
That night I had a nightmare (perhaps not so unexpected). I dreamed of a kitchen that was half -wallpapered in 1960s Lincrusta – think paper that has pieces of bark in it and once it’s on the walls it doesn’t come off easily. It’s what my daughter calls “rice pudding wallpaper”. My mother, who died five years ago, suddenly made a guest appearance in my nightmare saying there was a cabinet missing and at this moment my phone ‘pinged’ and I woke up with a start. It was a message from my Lancashire friend Cath sending me a photo of a poster saying, “Everything’s going to be all right “. I laughed out loud.
The road ahead included a final evening with my oldest school friend in Ambleside and she and her partner introduced me to Racing Demon (a new card game for me). On the final Saturday morning I drove through amazing mountains and lakes before hooking up with a friend for a visit to IKEA in Edinburgh. I’d had oodles of fabulous culture on this trip so a little Swedish retail therapy for the kitchen balanced it out.
I still didn’t know how the kitchen painting was progressing but again the fun and shopping with Rose helped me to ‘let go’ of the worry about ‘Will the kitchen be finished?’.
Later on the Saturday night I parked up outside my cottage in Arbroath, breathed in gently, opened the front door and met my new kitchen. It was love at first sight.