Updated: Aug 11, 2021
We went on holiday last week, driving down South to a lovely village near Newcastle for a few days. It may seem strange going to a town for a holiday, but when you live with fields and ferries all year- round, pavements and a pub within walking distance is what you look for on holiday.
We had a lovely time, exploring the smart shops and admiring the postage stamp front gardens, so full of summer blooms they were bursting onto the pavements and bustling with bees and butterflies. We also found a picture-perfect, sandy beach, and I could have spent the whole week there in the sun with the sound of laughing children and the wash of waves. We are still finding beach sand in the car, and that to me is the sign of a good holiday.
Now that we are home, I am thinking about those small gardens, neatly contained but defying their boundaries with exuberance. Unfortunately, the only thing in our garden showing much exuberance is the grass, of which there now seems to be far too much. Do we really need a garden as big as a field?
Being somewhere new fills you up with inspiration and ideas, makes you see with new eyes and reminds you that there are different ways of doing things. I’d really like to get stuck into the garden and try to add at least a little restraint and definition to it, but the reality is that for the next month or two it’s going to be SOAP SOAP SOAP and me who is going to be defying my boundaries.
For the first time in many years when our schools open on the 16th I won’t be there to welcome in a new session with new children. I’ll be putting my own two new P1s on to the school bus, waving them off, and then disappearing into the soap shed, with only a (very) wee spring in my step, as they leave for school without me. I decided a few months ago, when the opportunity presented itself, to take the leap and become self-employed. Although the decision was easy, the follow through is proving to be more challenging; but then, anything worth doing is.
So after a long year of not doing many fairs or markets I’ve arranged to do three big events this year and the preparation starts now.
The first, in just a couple of weeks, is the 150th Argyllshire Gathering Oban Games on the 26 August, from 9:30.
The second is in September, when I will be hosting a popup shop in John Lewis, in Glasgow. I’ll be there for a week from 6 September, taking a little bit of island living to the big city.
At the beginning of December, we’ll be celebrating Christmas at Wildwoodz, near Tore, with three days of glorious Christmas crafts and delicious local delicacies.
These are my biggest events to date, and I hope I’m up for it. I can’t wait to being doing fairs again, chatting to people and growing the Shepherds Cottage community, and sharing a product that I’m proud of. I can’t wait to be making and selling soap like it’s my job.
Bursting out of your boundaries is hard, but like those beautiful gardens I hope I bloom while doing it.