Monthly Archives: May 2014

Snowed In Vs Moved Out


Well, I know now. know a little more how much a simple thing like a snowfall can mean to a person.’ – Sylvia Plath

As expected, we’ve been given our marching orders – vacate date is tomorrow. The weather seems to feel pretty much as I do about the situation – no sooner did we start to pack on Sunday evening then the rain storms that had showered us all week, to the accompaniment of Armageddon thunder, turned to snow.

We woke in a winter wonderland. There was no question of making it down the mountain to civilisation, with or without our possessions – remember when I illustrated where I live?

Screen Shot 2013-11-15 at 8.52.31 AM

On the one hand, we were supposed to be moving our household and couldn’t find the car. On the other hand, I wouldn’t have wanted to be anywhere else to witness the coming of Winter – and I got to snowboard in my actual garden.

The snow has made everything a hundred times harder. We weren’t able to move anything. We boxed up as best we could in the biting cold, aware of the dwindling logs for the fire. We would have been lost without a friend with a heavy-duty 4×4 enacting a rescue mission, enabling Partner-in-crime to escape and return with wood and wine (the two essentials for surviving an avalanche, no question).

Yes, the snow has made everything a hundred times harder. But just look…


This is the reason I’m out here. I’m happy to do all the extra work required to be able to wake up stranded, buried in snow and surrounded by beauty. Apart from anything else, it also sounds pretty cool to say you’re snowed in, and my wifi is still connected.

During the day, I was contacted by two potential clients, who booked me in for dates that fit in mysteriously perfect accord with my other deadlines. One had contacted me repeatedly over the last couple of weeks due to a recommendation and booked me despite my lack of prior response (*shakes fist at over-zealous spam filter*).

I’ve not wanted to move out of my lovely home and I’ve thrown the usual number of teddies out the pram when it’s come to packing. But it’s almost as if Nature and the gods of Freelancing have struck up as one, saying, ‘Hey, more things go right than wrong. Look around. Enjoy the moment. You’re perfectly placed right here, right now.’

Last night, we burnt the wood and mulled the wine, clearing out the top part of the house in the process. This morning, we made it down the hill at 7am, past a car in a ditch, which we didn’t join, but which could have been us if we’d risked the journey to work the day before. I made the drive to Arrowtown through fields of icing sugar backed by majestically powdered mountains, as the sun came up and cast the whole panorama pink.

There’s a lot to do today. The snowy scenery makes it easy to pause and just appreciate where I am and all the good. Fun as yesterday was, at least today we can move around and move out. Packing is pesky and cleaning is painful, but at least we’re moving out on time. And we were granted a moment, frozen in all senses of the word, to stand still and be filled with wonder.

Have you ever found signs to lift you out of sad situations? Are you awed by nature? Been snowed in? Do you agree wood & wine are the way forward?


The Winds Of Change

Screen Shot 2014-05-13 at 8.56.47 AM“Nothing is so painful to the human mind as a great and sudden change.”

― Mary ShelleyFrankenstein

I’m waiting, these days, to hear whether I’ll be moving within the week. In the last fortnight, the two friends we’ve lived with since discovering this dreamy, alpine retreat have returned to France. We’re back to the UK for a visit in August and hoping to escape rent bills on top of travel expenses, so it’s time to go. Meanwhile, this lovely place has been put up for sale. Leaving early wouldn’t really be an issue if it weren’t for the fact we signed a fixed term lease, locking us into payments until the house is sold or the tenants replaced, but life’s a learning curve. And if we’d planned for the unanticipated, we would never have ended up living here at all, so I don’t regret it.

The cottage rattles emptily at the moment. It’s also, now the season’s changing, colder than any house has a right to be. But I’ll be so sad to leave it. Leaving conjures feelings the antithesis to those that flavoured the post I wrote when I was about to move here – Home Sweet Home. But I am still excited about the future, still hopeful, just in a more subdued way. I’ve achieved so much of what I set out to do while living here – I’ve built up the business over the last six months, I’ve launched a website, engaged with wonderful writers, edited valuable work. And I’ve written the-book-to-be. Admittedly, every waking hour that’s not spent working is being spent rewriting the damn thing, but I’m still on track to publish this year. So all the big bits of life are where I wanted them.

So why the melancholy? Although I like to be on the move, I don’t like moving. It takes so much time, so much effort, there’s so much mess, and I *hate* packing. Thankfully, a wonderful friend is taking us in, but we’re losing a place of our own and I don’t know when we’ll have another. I’ll miss my window seat study. I thought we’d be here longer, be more settled. I thought many things. I thought this was my perfect pad, a utopian dwelling where everything would go right and nothing wrong. Instead, many things have gone the least helpful of ways.

Queenstown is a funny and unique place. It’s a high-octane, beautiful bubble full of comings and goings. Everyone’s on an adventure. That makes it an exciting place to congregate, and those who hang about feel a real sense of achievement just for being here above a couple of days. After a week, they call themselves ‘local.’ But there’s a saying here, ‘No one stays.’

Do you embrace change? I try to. Sometimes, I crave it. A change can be as good as a rest. It’s a fresh start, a new beginning. It’s freedom. Other times, it’s unwelcome. It’s exhausting.

You can’t always hold onto the people and places you want to. The main thing is to recognise and cherish the value they’ve brought to your life, rather than bemoaning their loss. The winds of change mess up all sorts of things, but they can’t sweep away the memories you choose to keep. Choose to keep the good ones.

Screen Shot 2014-05-04 at 5.42.36 PM