It was my birthday this week. D treated me to a meal out and then we hit the pubs in York for a drink or two, for probably the first time since we arrived here. Reaching a new year of life is always a happy event, but this year it has left me a little thoughtful as well. This time last year, we had bought the house but hadn’t moved down from Aberdeen. We spent my birthday week here though, unpacking, sorting out utilities and generally starting to prepare for moving in. It was a strange week, as I recall. As we were driving down from Scotland, news of the Paris attacks had started to filter in and somehow, the world felt like it had shifted a little and not in a good way. The house didn’t feel like home at that point, the cats were still in Scotland and, if I had any doubts at all if we had done the right thing in relocating, it was that week, where nothing we did felt quite safe or normal.
A year on and the outside world doesn’t really feel any safer. The Brexit result, the US election and the rest of the world news that hits our TV and Internet screens daily confirm that for us. And yet, in just one short year, the world and life we have created for ourselves here feels safe and right and like we have never been anywhere else. We have achieved so much this year – all the veg we have grown and eaten, the territory the cats have made their own, the way we have decorated, built furniture and changed the house into our home together. We have truly become a little family unit and, every morning, as I look out of the bedroom window to greet the cows and admire the view, I say a quiet thank you. To D, for building this home and family with me; to the cats for the endless pleasure and entertainment they bring; to family, friends and colleagues who have supported our move and to those who are no longer with us and are missed every day, who gave us the emotional and financial security to lead our lives in the best way we can. And also, of course to you all, who have shared this journey with us through the blog. I hope we have made everyone proud.
We observed the 2 minute silence in the supermarket last Sunday and I spent it hoping that it wasn’t just a nation going through the motions of remembrance – that we will use it as was intended, to ensure that such a tragic waste of life will not happen again. It feels now, as it must have felt just over one hundred years ago, that the world is on the brink of great change, but we cannot change what is happening out there in the world. What we can do is make the most of the life that we have, appreciate every day and all the small beauties that it brings, something the cats are particularly good at reminding us. As I said after Brexit, they don’t care what is happening, as long as the Sheba keeps on coming!
I certainly made the most of my birthday celebration. We had tried to visit Café Concerto last year when we came down but, for some reason, it wasn’t open on my birthday for the evening. So I have waited a whole year for this! It was a favourite many years ago, when a friend lived in York and we used go whenever I came to visit, so this was a way of revisiting my youth as well as celebrating my (more mature) years. It still had exactly the same laid back feel that I remembered and the food was pretty good, too.
Who knows what will have happened by this time next year. Maybe I will be running a soft furnishings company. Maybe we will have a greenhouse and have grown even more veg. Maybe the cats will be happy to chill in the garden, rather than feeling the need to explore and hunt (somehow, I doubt that one). As long as we are here in Yorkshire, and together, that’s all that matters.