Hello and welcome to The Compost Bin. I'm Compostwoman and I live with my family in rural Herefordshire. We have nearly four acres of garden and woodland, all managed organically, which we share with Chickens, Cats, Guinea Pigs and assorted wildlife. We also grow a lot of our own food, run courses in all sorts of things and make a lot of compost!

I work as an environmental educator, lecturer, writer and Forest School leader at Moors Wood . I am a Master Composter and have spent the last 11 years as a volunteer Community Compost adviser with Garden Organic and my local Council. I offer talks and run workshops and events where we talk about compost, veg growing, chicken keeping, cooking, preserving and sustainable living. We also make crafts and have fun.

We try to live a more self sufficient lifestyle here, as best we can, while still having a comfortable life and lots of fun. To learn more about us click on the About Compostwoman tab and remember to click on the photos to make them full size!


Monday, 13 January 2014

A crafty solution to my rural isolation

(Sorry about the formatting issues- I am having problems with Blogger)

I really do not like this time of year. The wet weather is curtailing yet more outside work and I am struggling to keep motivated and cheerful, here. Yet more rain! How much more can actually fall from the sky? (Don't answer)

Part of my problem is that, although I am happy with just my own company, I am also a sociable person and I love talking to people and getting out and about. I often do need an "excuse" of volunteer work, though, to make myself leave behind work here in the garden or polytunnel.

I have lots of chances to get out and about in Spring, Summer and Autumn - working or volunteering as a Master Composter/Master Gardener or LFHW Ambassador. In the Winter months, however, there is little of that to do so I get less and less sociable. Much though I love where we live, it is an isolated place and I do not see my neighbours or wider community in the winter. Many days can go by where I only speak to my family and I often go many days without leaving Compost Mansions or speaking to anyone else.  I then have a tendency to hibernate and do as little as I can get away with, which makes me feel miserable. Add in the bad weather, a few bouts of ill health and a spot of SAD and I find I get more and more lonely and withdrawn. It is a downward spiral and one which makes me unhappy.

I think this is what is meant by rural isolation? I recognise this is not a great way to feel. To stave it off I have been checking out local craft sessions/clubs in an effort to make myself more sociable and talk to more people during the winter months.  I don't have much time in the summer months for crafting and usually by the time I have finished outside for the day I am too tired to do anything, so again, an hour or two a week where I am committed to going out will be welcome then as well

 And yes, there ARE things I can join :) So far I have joined my local WI (once a month for a couple of hours in the evening, with nice people I know from my local area) and I have also found several "drop in" sessions of the craft and natter sort. One group meets once a month in the early evening in a Ledbury pub and is for knitting and crochet. To my delight several Ledbury based friends are already members, so I will be going to that.

There is also an active Quilting group who also meet once a month (different night!) in Ledbury. And I have found that the café and craft gallery just up the road from me does a weekly afternoon drop in "knit and natter" for a small fee - cake and a drink available. A café in Ledbury now does a similar thing, on another day in the morning.

So, I am going to make time to go out at least twice a month (more if I can) to do some crafting. And I will try to keep it up every month. I can combine the Ledbury session with shopping, and speak to more people. AND in the process of looking; I have found more nice crafty shops in Ledbury and other local small towns. I am feeling better, already :)

But it did make me wonder just how many other people there are who feel isolated and lonely all the time, but can't do anything about it.

14 comments:

  1. I can well understand that feeling. I too am happy in my own company but enjoy speaking to others. Not so much to do around us though and what few local village things there are, are extremely clicky. Would hate that so don't bother (includes the local WI as well)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is hard in a rural area, isn't it? Imaging if one had no transport available, or were too infirm to get out :(

      I have issues with a few local things - as you say a bit "cliquey" so I don't go. But I am hoping these few sessions will get me out and about just enough for my sanity :)

      Delete
  2. Have quit the quilt group I was in for about 30 years as a new group has taken over and it was "cliquey", as well as demanding constantly that you sew for various charities...currently re assessing and regrouping with new groups. I find I have been a bit depressed with a few deaths of close friends/family, and like you, making a conscious effort to get out and about more..

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am sorry you have lost friends/family and have felt depressed - I think it is a hard time of year, especially with death or illness in the family.

      Delete
  3. I can relate to what you have been feeling. I like company but need 'down' time alone to recharge my batteries, more so as I get older. Finding the balance is hard, especially in a rural situation. I have been forcing myself to get out and do things, often by myself, for the last few years just to get out of the rut of being a hermit:) Good luck and thank goodness for blogging and blogging friends:)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes I find blogging is especially helpful - as is Facebook to chat to friends I don't get to see very often :)

      Delete
  4. There are lots of clique's in my village, some I fit in with, others I don't. No one ever invites anyone to join a group here, you have to take the initiative and poke your nose in yourself. Not everyone can do that. We are a mixture of friendly normal people like myself, and some high earning professionals, who have their own little circles. The ladies in my craft group are nice.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes it is up to each of us to make the effort :) But for many people that is the very hard bit - that walk into a room full of people who are not known.

      I canbe very very busy and motivated, but I can also be a bit lazy and just go into hibernation mode I think! Which is what I am trying to change, now.

      Delete
  5. We always enjoy a stop in Ledbury when we go through that direction.
    Getting out there and socialising is daunting!

    ReplyDelete
  6. I understand your feelings and can sympathize with you. In my opinion, melancholy sets in when we lose the sunshine in the northern latitudes. Where I live in New York State, the windchill has been -5 F and keeping us all indoors. But I work outside my home and socialize with other people. When I stayed at home with my 3 children in this rural town, sometimes without a car, I was very unhappy.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, I am sure I suffer from SAD as I am fine in the summer.

      Delete
  7. Besides distance, my problem is crowds. One or two people is nice, more is uncomfortable and unpleasant.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree! I don't like lots of crowds - one reason I dislike London so much

      Delete

Hello! Thank you for reading my blog and for commenting. I try to reply as quickly as I can and I really appreciate your interest in my life and doings here in The Compost Bin.

UA-40361266-1