Sunday, 27 November 2016


I'm feeling rather overwhelmed at the moment.  I have been looking at the whole, and it is just too much, way too much for me to deal with, even think about without getting stressed or depressed or freaked out or all of the above.  My expectations of my physical abilities are unrealistic, the time I have to do everything is limited, especially as the daylight hours are so short.  I have been trying to make things work that are just not workable.  As a consequence I feel stuck, both mentally and physically.  So although I can't just click my fingers and come up with solutions, what I can do is try to think of a way to make it all manageable and less overwhelming.

Bear with me here as I try to sort things out in my head by writing it down and breaking it down.  The areas that need to be sorted are

Home renovation
Vegetable garden
Social life.


We have been working on the basics, the drinking water is now safe, the boiler has been serviced, we have an electrician checking and sorting everything at the moment who will then issue a certificate. There are many faults and loose wires hanging out of uncovered sockets, not good when you have young grandchildren.   Most of the lights have been replaced with low energy fittings and bulbs and solar panels and battery will be fitted soon although we have to wait for the poles to the house to be upgraded. This will make us more self sufficient.  The stove has been serviced and will work more efficiently and we are looking into log burners and planting some willow for future fuel.

 I knew I would need to update the bathrooms, fill and paint walls and re carpet but it just hasn't felt like that will make it the house we want.  I have been going over and over it in my head and it just doesn't feel right.  A builder suggested getting in an architect, something we had not even considered.  He was a breath of fresh air, challenging us to throw out all of our preconceptions, climb out of the box and come at it in a totally different way.  The house just doesn't work, it is badly designed.  So instead of patching up and making do, we need to totally rethink the space.  The house came with planning permission and foundations for a two story extension so that was what we were trying to find the money to build.  He made us realise that by totally rearranging the space we already have we do not need to do this.  By moving walls and repurposing areas we will have the space we want.  I know....obvious really but sometimes you are just so stuck in your thinking you need someone else to point out the obvious.  He has advised us to take our time in deciding what we want from the house and how we actually use the space, all good advice. We have been so determined to 'get on with it' but as he said, that's when expensive mistakes happen and you wish you had done things differently.  We have to redo all the bathrooms, so that would be the ideal time to move walls and create more space for the bedrooms.  So we will now take our time to decide what we want.  I may paint some walls to make it feel fresh and clean in the mean time but we can live with the rest of it.  Phew, the pressure of trying to make something work that was never going to work is off.  There will be other pressures, finding the money to do this but at least I can now see a way forward.


This has been an absolute nightmare.  My dreams of a no dig garden have been scuppered by the previous owner using the veg patch to burn rubbish.  I have found glass, plastic, metal including bra wires!!, a battery and lots and lots of screws.  So I have been taking off the top layer of contaminated soil to be replaced with soil that I will be happy to grow our food in.  It is a very large vegetable garden, the same size as the whole of the garden in our last house so it has been overwhelming thinking of all the work that needs to be done to the totally overgrown mess.   I have decided I need to concentrate on one little thing at a time and block out the rest of it as it stresses me out.  So I have created one vegetable bed in a none contaminated part of the garden.  I laid cardboard and over the last few days have been wheelbarrowing compost and manure to cover it.  I will have a go at growing some garlic in a little part and leave the rest to settle ready for the spring.  I'm also going to get some compost into the poly to get a little area ready to plant some winter greens and lettuce.  Little areas, little steps and realistic expectations of my time and physical abilities is the way I can move forward without too much stress.


There are huge changes happening at work and I'm not very happy about the change in direction.  It will be a totally different way of working, instead of being out in the community I will be more office based and I'm not sure this will suit me.  The hours are also changing and will not fit in with home life in some ways.  Although I will not be getting home at 7 o'clock in the evening which is horrible in winter, it means I will have less time during the day for working on the garden etc.  I would love to get a dog and chickens but not sure how this will fit in with my new hours.  Decisions decisions......  I have been looking at giving a home to a retired greyhound but am worried about our cat and as they are sight dogs, that it would head off across the fields after a rabbit as we don't have an enclosed garden.  Any personal experiences from greyhound owners out there would be appreciated.


For all the above reasons I find myself working all the time and having no time for fun.  This has to change but how I'm not sure.  I started typing this a 5.30 this morning, trying to cram as much into my day as possible.  After a melt down yesterday I met up with a friend for a walk on the beach, listening to the waves crashing on the shore as dusk descended was just what I needed to feel better (well that and the hot chocolate and brownie from Swanpool cafe).  I need to build these times into my timetable.  Crafting  and cooking also lift my spirit so need to be included somewhere.   I was very excited to find red cabbage in my seasonal veg box so my first batch of braised red cabbage was made.  It's the little things that bring me joy.

Anyway, that's my life at the moment.   Don't get me wrong I am very grateful for all I have, I just have to manage my time so I can actually enjoy it. It is dark and cold but there is still beauty to be found.   I will keep  you updated on our progress on the house and garden, but don't expect it any time soon.

Chickpea xx


  1. I like your little snowman :) You have made good progress with your veg plot, well done for managing to clear a space.

    1. Thank you faith, I am pleased with the patch I have done, I planted some garlic in there this morning, hopefully it will grow.

  2. I wish you peace while you try to get out from under your feelings of being overwhelmed. It's not a nice place to be.
    Be kind to yourself-x-

    1. Thank you Sheila, no it's not a nice place, can't even switch my mind off at night but I just need to take one step at a time rather than look at the whole thing.

  3. take great care of yourself, lovely Chickpea. i'm very familiar with the crush of's a horrid place to be. lots of deep breaths and cups of tea, are in order, i should think :) and asking for help whenever possible...that's one i'm only just learning but it's made such a huge difference. i'll be thinking of you. xoxoxo

    1. Thank you mel, no I'm not good at asking for help, too independent for my own good!

  4. Your house obviously needs a lot more work than ours did :(
    I feel totally overwhelmed by the garden, but particularly the plot and what to do with it! I'm working on doing nothing with it at the moment and waiting to see how it fairs over the winter months. Then I'll pick off areas as I can.
    It sounds like your work/home/garden combo is too much. Try to take a step back and look after yourself xx

    1. Thankfully it's a good solid house outside as it is not that old, it's all the internal stuff that has been totally neglected and botched.....and yes work home and garden combo is a nightmare at the moment. :(

  5. Try not to worry. As long as you are warm and cosy at the moment, the rest will get done eventually.

  6. I don't comment much but I do read and follow your news. Here is my idea.
    If you really do not need the winter veggie I would drop the veg garden for now.
    Concentrate on the on the other work you need to do. I am not sure working outside in the cold is such a good idea for you right now. If your are stressed and tired it is easy to get sick.
    As for the garden in spring see if you can hire a "Bobcat " you can dig up your yard fast and get rid of the contaminated earth and it will be easier to fill in the good earth. just an idea.
    I was overwhelmed one year with a divorce, finding money for the 3 in university, finding a place to live and just finding money in general. It was touch and go for 3 years I broke my big problems down into smaller problems. Worked on the bigger problems and put aside the ones I could get to later.

    But it does get better.
    Stay warm and take care of yourself.
    cheers, parsnip

  7. Have times when I feel overwhelmed with everything that has to be done and now with shorter days its even more difficult to keep on top of things, we have taken a local lad on to help with cutting back and clearing to take the pressure of Martin at the week ends, although I am possessive over my garden areas and dont want any one else to do it, the house we need to do work on but its livable and there is no rush to do it, I hope things ease for you come the spring.

  8. any chance of building raised beds, with fresh soil, against the icky contamination?
    One by one, as and when.

  9. May be you should consider having a helper or two, I can recommend Helpx, you can select who you think might be a good fit as references are shown. Apart from food helpers come free, we have had some excellent ones over the years.

  10. Bless you, you will be fine and able to sort things out, I am sure of it.
    Take care and try not to stress, it will all work out in the end. x

  11. Glad you've managed to make a decision on the house; all will come right in the end. Your walk on the beach sounds idyllic. Here's to many more moments like that in 2017. xx

  12. For now keep imagining how it will look when it's finished as you tackle each job on a small scale and one morning you will wake up and house and garden will be done. In the meantime look after your health.

  13. I feel your pain, Chickpea, being a bit overwhelmed myself at the moment.
    We've been living in our current house for three and a half years and it is only now that we've replaced some of the windows (they 'all' should have been fitted way back in October). I'm at the stage that I just want the sitting/dining room finished and the rest can wait till after the new year.

    I suggest you make your main living spaces cosy for now and make plans for a total refurb after the festivities have passed.
    The same for the garden really. Start with small projects and wait till the new year to do this. When days are lengthening (albeit slowly) again. You'll be more focused then.
    May I also suggest Raised beds (like Diana Studer said) and a helper or two like Anne Wilson suggested.
    We've been hosting volunteers from all over the world for more than 15 years on and off. is a good place to get the help you need for all kind of projects, meeting lovely and interesting people in the process.
    Do the little things that make you happy/content for now and do take time out for that walk on the beach from time to time. It clears the cobwebs. xxx...x

  14. I think the small steps approach is a good one - if you do one or two small steps each day, in a year's time, you will have taken between 365 - 730 steps towards where you want to be, and that will add up to a lot. Have you also thought about growing things in containers? Also, if you're into flower remedies, Elm is a good one for taking for when you're feeling overwhelmed - its my most "go to" remedy and I find it really does help x

  15. I hope that with taking little steps slowly forward the way will become clear for you and that all will be well.

  16. I hope that by writings things down it has helped a little. The feeling of being overwhelmed with tasks is not a nice one. Small steps and things will all come together in the end. Just look at how much you've managed to achieve already. X

  17. Sorry I have only just read this post. I am sorry that you are feeling overwhelmed. I think it is the season for it. I also had a bit of a wobble a few weeks ago. To be truthful I have had quite a few wobbles this year. You have taken a massive step towards your dream of living more self sufficient. Moving house is a HUGE thing. Its good to make lists. Heck make a new list put it on the wall and add in all the things you have already done just so you can strike them off!!!

    As everyone else has said, small steps. I love lists and plans, I work towards completing maybe only one a week.

    if you arent planting the whole area, could I suggest you cover the remaining area. Else you will end up like we have here, where we cleared a huge area, life got in the way and we made not only the best cat toilet on the planet, it was clear ground for the weeds. I have picked over it so many times and then done something else to only have to clear it again. Doh!!!

    as I said on another blog the other day, be kind to yourself. Your putting a lot of pressure on yourself.

    Beaming you love and good thoughts through the internet ether. Sol xxx

  18. You asked about re homed greyhounds, personally I think you would be better with a small dog. Greyhounds are big, get cold in winter and do take time.

  19. Sorry to hear your having a wobble. Taking little steps is a good plan and I think reconfiguring the house space may make a huge difference to moving the meantime make at least 1 space just for you ! The social thing is still challenging me too but I'm trying to do at least 1 thing I enjoy each day no matter how small! Here's wishing you a good Christmas and a fan new year!

  20. I hope Christmas has been good to you and that New Year and the lengthening days will revive your
    soul and your delight in your new home.
    Don't be overwhelmed. Look where you are compared with this time last year.
    Try to enjoy being in your home with the amazing views, the rest can develop over time.
    Would love to hear how you are.

  21. Just came across your post about the no dig veg bed ! Hey ! I am so proud of you ! It is looking really good . Dont give up on this ..the worms are doing this for you is going to be a fantastic veg bed by spring .I will be back to see how it's coming along .cheerio fer now ,hugs Daisy Debs :) x

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