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, writer and Forest School leader at Moors Wood . I am a Master Composter and spent 10 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
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 Add in the bad weather, a few bouts of ill health and a spot of SAD and I find I get more and more lonely and withdrawn.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.