“Can you tell us a little about the area where you live?” I was asked by somebody based on the Northwest coast of the United States recently.
So I did, and as I described this place, I was reminded how impossibly lucky I am to live where I do.
“Probably luck had little to do with you ending up there,” a friend remarked, and yes – she’s absolutely right.
From my perspective of belief, it’s the result of a heady combination of manifestation, agonising choices, hard work and the benevolence of an abundant Universe.
I’ve spent many years in, let’s say, less beautiful places. I had, back in those days, security and comfort. They came at a price. I dare say that’s true of all of us. The job paid well, but as politicians forced my profession down routes I didn’t want to follow, I became rebellious, dissatisfied and disillusioned. My marriage had its good points, many of them, but here too, there were compromises I wasn’t happy with and the general feeling was far from good. I told myself I was needed there – by my kids, by those I taught and mentored. It was only when I found that someone else in my life needed me a whole lot more that the tipping point was reached.
My two youngest were off at university. My oldest had her own home and life. As for the school kids, well there would always be more, wherever I was.
Mum was frightened. She and her encroaching dementia lived alone. She was usually lucid and bright but there were the confusing times; the times when the ‘other lady’ – the sad, terrified person she tried to comfort, but who wouldn’t talk back or accept any help – would stare at her from the mirror at the top of the stairs. She could not accept that this person was a facet of herself. The ‘other lady’ made toast for breakfast seven or eight times a day, but left other food rotting in the fridge. The ‘other lady’ went for bus rides at two in the morning, to destinations she couldn’t remember and was gone for hours at a time.
That was the tipping point. I burned my bridges, turned my back on all my comfort and security and moved in with Mum and her other lady. It was not an easy choice to make. It was not an easy life to live.
The time came when Mum had all but morphed into her other self. I wasn’t able to manage the 24/7 care she needed alone and the next choice came. No point in going back or staying where I was. It was time to move on again.
“You’re in freefall!” someone commented at that time. “Where you land is entirely up to you. What a gift.”
It didn’t feel that way to me, but looking back, I can see that she was completely right. I followed my heart, came to the place I loved the most and risked all to own LIME Cottage.
So this is where I am:
The view from the back of my cottage is to the beautiful Polden Hills. Usually, as I look out on misty autumn mornings, there is a second, ghostly, grey-purple ridge of hills rising behind them, built of clouds.
The beautiful near-perfect hemisphere of Chalice Hill rises just behind the cottages across the road from me at the front.
Turn left, and it’s a ten minute walk past the ruins of the abbey to the centre of this quirky, bustling little town, filled with exciting indie shops and larger-than-life characters.
Turn right and within a minute or two you come to a steep, tiny lane, where the waters of Glastonbury’s two famous sacred springs rise. The white spring to the right and the red spring – supposedly stained that colour by the blood of Christ from the Holy Grail buried beneath it – in the beautiful Chalice Well Gardens to the left.
These two watercourses once ran openly along my road, feeding the abbey and town with fresh water. Now their waters are piped below the pavement and our drinking water comes from elsewhere, but we’re free to collect bottles of the original supply from the pipes in the lane.
Above all this towers the famous Glastonbury Tor, capped by the tower of St Michael. This brilliant video will show you just how fortunate I am to be here, even if it isn’t down to luck: