I’d rather have an ‘Oops…’ than a ‘What if?…’…

River sunset

I took a few days out this week and disappeared to Wales and it was bliss. I stayed at a friend’s haven in the middle of nowhere alongside a babbling river with only the sounds of nature for company. I took this picture at sunset one evening, as the clouds turned to gold and the swallows filled the sky. It is rare to feel that kind of peace amidst our noisy days.

It was four months ago that I started off by sharing Joanne’s space and painting some old bits of furniture that I had collected. Now here we are in our own workshop, with windows looking out over the trees by the River Weaver, making plans and tackling all sorts of things. Little did Jim and I realise at the start that our respective businesses would dovetail as naturally as they do, along with our thinking and ideas. There have been some wonderful ‘Oops…’ moments along the way and much hard graft interspersed with laughter. Although everyone in my circle has been asked to stop me ever trying to make roman blinds again. I think that was a moment where my ‘nesting’ instinct, coupled with my eternal optimism, went a step too far when I insisted on making blinds for the workshop windows! It has taken four weeks and a few incarnations, and we now have blinds at each window that are rolled up by hand and tied with ribbons….marvelous! There was also a telling moment a few weeks ago when Jim called to say that he had found a vintage metal desk, so we made plans to bring it over to the yard and I started work on ‘Mickey’ as we very quickly nicknamed him. Less than twenty four hours later I was on the phone to Jim gasping for help. I think the conversation went along these lines:

Me: ‘I have no blood left in my arms and my whole body is vibrating.’
Jim: ‘What have you been doing?’
Me: ‘Have you ever used a metal sander?’
Jim: ‘No.’
Me: ‘Fancy trying one out?’

He arrived the next day as eternal optimism had blinded me (yet again) and I was looking at a project way beyond my capabilities and physical strength. We spent a few days working together and ‘Mickey’ is now match fit and ready for sale.

Mickey 6

I arrived back at the workshop from Wales this week and had a catch-up cuppa and natter with Ray, our special yard manager, while we shared pieces of my Dad’s 85th birthday cake. Ray, Jim and I are in complete accord on our gratitude for the caring connections that weave together on the yard.

Bless John and Chris (our old yard neighbours who restore cars) for sharing their space and expertise as we beavered away to restore ‘Mickey’. Mike and Gazza, who mend motorbikes on the yard, have put us in touch with a chap who does sand blasting. I have a feeling that this connection will be fruitful as Jim and I are faced with some very ‘poorly’ projects that need this kind of start to their restoration. Anthea, who runs a beauty salon on the front of the yard, often brings me across to her space so she can restore my hands to a pretty state and refuses to take a penny for her loving care. She has gifted me a box of disposable gloves and I cannot understand why! Jimmy, our friendly yard builder, who has put a lovely new sink and worktop into the workshop (see, nesting again!) and sorted a dodgy window out. He kindly bobbed down the road last week and mended Mum and Dad’s roof, because access was a devil and Mum did not need the heart failure of Dad even attempting to get the job done himself. Lee, who does car repairs and MOT’s, for rescuing me when I got locked in the other evening. Mum very quickly baked him a cake! Last, but by no means least, Ray, flowing care to us all on the yard, who pops in daily with suggestions, things he has made and diagrams of ideas. Things would never have evolved this well without his loving care and support. Also, ‘Mickey’ is currently tucked into Ray’s office on the yard, because we could not fit him in through our door.

There was a lighting problem in the loos on the yard and I emerged the other day to find Ray, John and Lee standing just outside the loo door. My face must have been a picture….John, never one to miss a bantering opportunity, said ‘We were listening to you Jane!’. I burst out laughing and suggested that they all surely had urgent work to attend to elsewhere….

Every business starts with an idea or two, but it is people that make it happen. ‘Oops..’ moments occur, laughter is never far away, banter is ever present, help is plentiful. Our yard has loving support and that is a blessing in which we all thrive.

River

Such a sweet planet we walk on, when we walk it with heart….. Jeff Brown

sisters
Exchange your righteousness for humanness,
your judgments for compassion,
your hopelessness for faith,
your armor for love.

Such a sweet planet we live on
when we walk it with heart.

‘Love it Forward’ by Jeff Brown

Both my sister and I have let go of differing situations in the last week and set-up a new home together. Whatever stormy seas brought us here, we have found a loving harbour in this place. Not living under the same roof since we were 14 and 16 (which is a few years ago now, ahem), we both feel the hand of divine timing in what has unfolded recently.

We have chosen a modern house near the hospital where Debs works, with room for our grown up children to stay and space for me to work in peace. Here we are a week later on a stormy Sunday, all safe and cosy, with Debs asleep after a night shift and me logged on for work with the support service.

Deb’s eldest son and his partner helped us move and there was a priceless moment as Rob came out of our new home to take the latest box from me at the van and this is how the conversation went…

Rob: ‘Mum is showing my baby photos in there!!!’

Complete puzzlement on his face….

Me: ‘Well you were a beautiful baby.’

His next facial expression was even more eloquent.

It has been a week of loving support, mass activity, normal work for both of us girls, lists, laughter, shopping forays, yet more lists, yummy food, Mum and Dad visiting, friends popping in, gifted flowers and plants, messages of support, appliances mis-behaving and being replaced, the blessings of a kind landlord, a decisive and speedy furniture purchasing trip around Ikea, more laughter, warm rugs going down in each room, efficient heating (thank you), assembling of flat pack furniture with very helpful ‘back seat driving’ assistance being given from the sofa (not), ‘oohs and ahs’ over new home accessories, bottles of bubble bath and perfume appearing on windowsills, many cups of tea and coffee, queries of ‘Does this look good here?’ and ‘Is that hanging straight?’ and even more laughter.

We have plans for the future and we feel excited about them. Right now though we are taking time out to simply ‘be’, to catch our breath and let this new life we have drawn together seep in. We each react differently to change and cups of tea and coffee, yummy food, loving support and a cosy home nestle us, while we hold each other safe as everything settles.

And a new chapter begins….