Nowt as Queer as Folk…

It’s been a busy August, what with our honeymoon, Folk Week and of course peak season at the shop in Sidmouth.

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We also prepped and ran an art tent at the Off-Grid festival this year. It was straight after we got back off honeymoon and I was still quite wobbly after my fall. I told the organisers how ‘special’ I was feeling, and they were so flipping lovely they made it easy for us. Beautiful souls running a beautiful event (although the food was disappointing and I tend to take that quite personally).

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We made things out of recycled material from the Scrapstore and twigs and branches from Pi Acres and it was fun. No nerves, just fun. I want to do more of that at Pi Acres.

Getting to the land has been almost impossible, so I was delighted to find us a beautiful thatched cottage to rent in Riddlecombe, just down the road from Pi Acres (from an ad on the Dolton Post Office noticeboard not online as I would have expected!). I spoke to the owner and she seemed happy with the idea of us moving in at the start of October. It would only have been a winter let, but I was more than happy to be told that we would not have to leave until the end of June, as the folks that own it as their personal holiday home wanted it back just for summer – “we only really need it for July, August and September” said poshy posh Lavinia from Chipping Norton. The viewing was arranged through an agent as they were so far away, but there were emails between myself and Lavinia. To say I was excited is somewhat of an understatement; I’d planned writing my next novel from there. Then the agents handling the letting said we could only have it until end of March. I was disappointed of course as May and June are my favourite months and the gardens at The Dell were stunning; I imagined being there when the bluebells came. The gardens even had a thatched folly, and it was such a lovely place, right on the doorstep of the most exquisite forest that I wanted it even if it was literally just for winter. It would have been perfect for us, as we are now waiting for Autumn to strip the bushes and trees and let us see where we can create a pathway to the top of the mound at Pi Acres. We wanted to be nearby to plant and prune and really get on making our plans a reality.

Thankfully, we own our place in Exeter, because if we had given our notice to leave where we were, we would have had nowhere to go, as the owners ‘changed their mind’. I sent Lavinia an email asking what had happened, as up until changing her mind, we had been in touch directly. No reply. No explanation to the letting agents

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Whaaaaat?

It reminds me of the Fishers who ran up £3k of legal bills ‘buying’ my business, only to drop out after eight months with just a couple of lines from their solicitor. Again, I’d been in direct communication with them; spent hours emailing, discussing terms and yet they didn’t have the decency to apologise or explain anything to me. I was particularly annoyed as they claimed to be Christians. What is wrong with people? I’m the sort of person who over shares it is true, but I didn’t need any deeply personal essays on why I was being let down; just some kind of acknowledgement that it would be disappointing for me and for that, they are sorry. Am I being unreasonable? Old fashioned? Too principled?

I sent a rather long email to the new buyer (and the agent) offering to buy my business explaining why I can’t accept an offer at the moment. I probably over-shared, but I think it’s important to be transparent about such things. I’m still at that crossroads of indecision; I have the dreaded court hearing on Monday and I’m pooping my pants – not that I will lose, as I believe I have righteousness on my side, but that I will fall apart under pressure in court. I’m super emotional at the moment and actually cried over the prospect of vegan chocolate cheesecake a few minutes ago, so how am I going to fare in court? I’m having anxiety attacks increasingly frequently and almost reached the end of my tether with my upstairs neighbours last night.

The guy in the room above my bedroom is back home with his Mum after his life has clearly fallen apart, so I’ve tried really hard to be sympathetic to his pacing on the floorboards, the wailing and crying but I think what makes me cross is his mother Step-Heavy (Stephanie). She ripped up all the carpets in her flat two years ago with a view to replacing them, but still hasn’t. footstepsThis is despite me telling her I have PTSD (I’m super jumpy with sudden noises; not just because I’m Autistic but because I briefly lived next door to an alcoholic insomniac psychopath who regularly beat up his mother and smashed up her home – I had to give evidence against him in court to put him back in prison) and because I’ve even offered to pay for the damn carpets I’m so fed up with never getting a full night’s sleep, or even being able to grab an afternoon nap. It’s intolerable and I’ve told her many many times and begged and pleaded she sort it out. I’ve offered rugs, bought her cushioned slippers, begged her to not start clomping until reasonable hours and of course now offered to PAY for it. Her response? “I’ll think about it” (with no apologies either).

I’m also annoyed that she told me she was thinking maybe her son could have her bedroom while he stayed and she sleep in the room above us, but no, she’d rather have a broken man hear EVERYTHING us newlyweds get up to, and have us hear him open can after can and cry. It got so that every time we laughed loudly, or sang or, well, you know, we were somehow torturing him. Why would a caring mother do that to her anguished son? But, thinking about it, she had zero empathy when I told her a couple of years ago that I was on beta blockers for stress related arrhythmia and her lack of carpets was making me ill, so why would she have empathy now? I feel sorry for her son, but it didn’t stop me getting so upset last night I shouted up through the ceiling at 2am that he needed to go to bed so I could sleep.

I don’t get people. We’ve had a bit of drama at the land as well, with John helping us move a tree out of the stream, only to have a neighbour get very upset about the resulting silt in the water potentially ruining mayfly larvae. And I only just noticed I have messages on this blog – I never saw them until now. Most are beautifully positive and supportive, but there’s always going to be someone unhappy at the sight of any change. There’s also been some rumblings of rumours that we are travellers – after seeing the horsebox lorry I suppose, so I’ve written an open letter in the Dolton Diary, just to put people’s mind to rest. I also wrote an article for the diary about nature this time of year as Andrew is too unwell to write his usual articles, but there’s no room for it as there’s a piece about the flower show. Maria who runs the diary said she could put it in next month, but it’s about things in bloom now and wouldn’t work for next month. I’m happy to write another for next month as I thoroughly loved writing it. I was the weird kid at school who liked homework though! Anyway, as I don’t want to waste a good article, I will publish it here imminently. And then I need to ground myself ready for Monday. Perhaps we will make it to Pi Acres on Sunday as I have always found it grounding? Or maybe I will just hide here, as Harry and his mother upstairs have now gone away for a few days and it’s made home a haven once more.

Author: Shelley

I once asked my ex father in law why he didn't like me. His answer? 'You're one of those arty farty types'.

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