Alexander Averin

Friday, 16 January 2009

Just Five Questions

Where I'd like to be (and how I'd like to look!)

Dear Diary,
Don't clamour for an interview. Instead search for the inner view.
Sri Sathya Sai Baba
I was going to blog about de-cluttering today as I am on such a mission - the urge to simplify my life even more has come upon me and I am, yet again, clearing out every little thing that is not used or needed. This is both a physical and a spiritual exercise and the effects of ’getting rid’ are truly liberating. It’s a New Year thing and I guess I am not alone in my endeavours. But dear Willow has asked me five questions in the form of an interview so I shall do my best to answer these below in a form of a blog and in no particular order, bit of a ramble as usual.
These are the questions:
1. How did you find your charming blacksmith's cottage in rural Wales?
2. What do you enjoy most about being a librarian?
3. If you could choose just one writer to have dinner with, who would it be and why?
4. Other than your loved ones, what is your most treasured tangible possession?

5. Before blogging, what if any, was your main mode of personal expression.

How did I find my cottage in rural Wales?

I believe that there are so many things that we are led to in life, would you agree? Books are just one of these, I am always being drawn to certain books that hold a message for me, either on shelves in a bookshop or by word of mouth or in the media. The same thing happens with those people who I am sure are soul mates, folk that we may meet by chance but feel we ‘recognise’, even on a first meeting. They often go on to become great friends in this life. I believe we are led to whatever is meant for us and everything becomes part of the great Learning Experience that is our present Life on Earth. However, if you don’t believe in any of this, or in reincarnation then you will not agree with me.
I am digressing. I will come back to this subject another day.
I feel I was led to this wee cottage - Ty’r Gof could be its correct Welsh name. House of the blacksmith. Its true title however is a description of where it is, also in Welsh but for obvious reasons I will not give you that.
It is a long and rather a personal story, but suffice it to say I was definitely not looking for a house, not even planning to buy one but was walking down the high street of a local market town twelve years ago when my eyes were physically drawn, pulled really, to a photo of the cottage and its details, tucked away at the bottom of an estate agent’s window. Because it was in a local area that I knew well but I didn’t seem to recognise the cottage, I was rather curious and when I had finished my shopping this curiosity got the better of me and I went to ask for a copy of the agent’s details.
Its pull on me persisted and so, a few days later, on a bright autumn afternoon, I went to view it with my daughter and my new (first) granddaughter. It was a very ‘tidy’ place as they say here in Wales, with a rather neat riverside garden. The owners were moving for health reasons; a lovely elderly couple who had lived here for over forty years.
What did I love at first sight? Its riverside location (I’ll say that word only once but you get the picture) and also its ‘atmosphere’. My baby granddaughter fell straight asleep as soon as we put her baby seat down in the little snug and we were able to take a tour round. I am highly sensitive to the auras around people and places and this cottage has the most wonderful vibes; it is very comforting and relaxing, everyone says so.
The five acre field the other side of the river came with it and also the old blacksmith’s forge across the road. When we first escaped to Wales eighteen years ago M and I had bought a 7-acre smallholding high up in the hills, several miles away but this purchase had been a mistake, the vibes of that old farmhouse were not good (I did not go with my instincts in those days, more‘s the pity). We left there after a three years and in not pleasant circumstances as we both went our separate ways for a couple of years.
It is a long story but in the end M and I (together) bought this little blacksmith’s abode in its magical valley and a happy ending for our little family was only just beginning. Ty’r Gof drew me in magnetically, as things do. And now I love being at home so much that it is hard to get me from here.

My writer dinner guest?

It would have to be my hero Tony Benn. Better known as a politician but he is also a great writer. I do love his politics though, also his eloquence, his great knowledge of history and his wide experience of life. I love too his warm heart and the way he still strives for peace in the world, God bless him.

This is a must-read book.

The best thing about being a librarian?

I started as a library assistant and had seven years experience of working in different departments of the library service until health reasons caused me to seek part-time work and this job as a branch librarian came up close to my home. The timing was perfect, yet again. I think I do have the best job in the world, for me it is anyway. As an ex-nurse I enjoy caring for people and books are my passion. I also love working with children (I worked in a primary school as a welfare assistant when my children were young). The little community library is attached to a primary school so my job involves a lot of liaison with the children. So this job was made for me in heaven and I am in my element working with books all day. They say nothing is perfect, but this job is pretty damn near. All libraries are under threat, especially small ones, so we do feel constantly vulnerable - we had one big scare a few years ago but the community put up a big fight and won the day. I think in the present economic climate, libraries are even more vital to society, do you agree?
How did I express myself before blogging began?

Was there life before blogging? I can’t imagine life without it now; it brings me so much pleasure, both in the writing of mine and the reading of others. It is addictive though and I spend far too much time on the computer but the Blogosphere is another place I feel truly at home in and I have made so many wonderful new friends, all over the globe. It all began when a journal I kept for a creative writing course was continued as a blog and it just kept going. I have always written, ever since I was a child when I filled loads of exercise books with stories. I try and write poetry which is my first love. I wish I could paint or draw but I am utterly useless at doing anything with my hands.
How we express ourselves could be a great subject for a blog in itself and a very relevant one for writers and artists. It’s what art is all about. It’s about a lot more than therapy this blogging lark, do you agree?
Last but not least, what material object do I value?

I am totally unmaterialistic and only photos spring to mind, a bit of a cliché really as everyone says this. But I treasure photos and documents relating to my mother. She and I were living in dire poverty and were forcibly separated when I was fourteen months old. I was adopted and she died when I was six. (I found that out when I was in my thirties).
They say an Irish mother is a blessing from heaven and although I have written in this blog and others about the many blessings in my life, my mother, who is with me in spirit), my children and my grandchildren are the greatest.
And with that final answer I must really get back to my de-cluttering,
Bye for now,
PS If you would like me to interview you, please leave a comment somewhere for me and I will get back to you. You will have to blog your answers and be prepared to ask other folk in turn.
Go on, it’s fun!


Leenie said...

Fine interview. Fun to learn more about a blog friend. LOVE the picture at the beginning! More info on it please.

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

Thanks for sharing more of your interesting story, Cait. The story of your Mother was most moving and I can only imagine how those experiences framed your life. I would be reluctant to be "interviewed" I think, but they are so much fun to read.

willow said...

Cait, thank you so very much! This was so enjoyable. I feel like I know you a bit more now. I especially like how you found your cottage and was drawn to it immediately!

Frances said...

Beautiful Cait,

It was interesting to learn a bit more about you from some of the answers you gave to the excellent questions.


ChrisH said...

That was lovely to read, fascinating to learn about how you discovered your home, but I duck out of being interviewed!

I want to thank for the recommendation of Susan Fletcher's 'Oystercatchers' which was so beautifully written. It's one of those books that I'm sorry I've finished and will probably read again soon.

Fennie said...

I think I duck out of being interviewed too - at least if I have to blog my answers - much too uninteresting, though should anyone really be interested I'll respond via a pm. But you are absolutely right Cait about houses having an aura and making you feel comfortable or not.
I fall in love with houses very easily but they are few and far between and usually out of my reach.

elizabethm said...

This was fascinating Cait, I loved learning more about you and was interested to find how you found your house. I wouldn't mind being interviewed if the interviewer was you!

Faith said...

Always interesting to read Cait - I don't want to be interviewed though. I too am decluttering - not very successfully - why do I cling to my clutter?

Withy Brook said...

I am always intending to de-clutter but never seem to get very far! Think I would have difficulty in finding the answers to an interview. Everyone else seems to manage so much better!

CAMILLA said...

Dear Cait,

Thank you for sharing this wonderful post with us and to let us know the reason why that Cottage was so special for you, I dream of river at the bottom of a garden Cait.

I am generally a hoarder, but I have managed to de-clutter recently if only it be in a small way.

CAMILLA said...

Dear Cait,

I forgot to mention, I adore that painting of girl with pony-tail at the water's edge, your words Cait at the beginning....where I would like to be.... yes, yes.! we are so alike.!