04/10/2017: Death and rebirth

In the year and a half since our last update, much and little has happened.

The news is that the Most Serene Republic of Landskeria is vacant. It still exists, but it is no longer our home. This poses both logistical and administrative problems; but opportunities too. We’ve done this on purpose, you see. The area of land which we declared independent from the UK in 2015 is still there, and we still own it. But in the short term we’re planning on renting it out as a holiday let. So it will technically be a vacant state. And we will be a stateless nation. Or, a nation in self-imposed exile; that might be more accurate. But this isn’t a temporary exile like when we had the herringbone parquet put in last year and stayed with my mum and Keith in Hebron. The place we’ve moved to I hope to remain in, and for my sons (by which I mean daughters) and sons’ sons (by which I mean daughters’ children and/or pets) to enjoy long after I am gone. Of course they probably won’t because it’s not in the nature of children to do what you expect them to do or to want what you want them to want.

But a new republic will be born here where we now reside, on the outskirts of the historic and sublime landscape of Mynachlogddu in North Pembrokeshire, yn Y Fro Gymraeg. It will be a Landskerian Republic, because we are as we were (and will be) Landskerians. But I have a feeling it won’t be serene.

I don’t know what it will be yet. Or whether it will be a new state or an exclave. I have a feeling the new country will become the primary Landskerian state and our Most Serene Republic might have to be demoted to the equivalent status of a dodgy tax haven or an oil rig. Like Bermuda or Kaliningrad.

That is the news. I didn’t blog for a long time because I wanted to finish writing a novel. And I did manage that. (Among other time-consuming things.) There was a year. We were in Florida seeing V’s family. We came home and winter set in, mild and wet as it has been in recent years. V’s father was diagnosed with lung cancer toward the end of winter, and died only a few months afterwards. There was a funeral. The rest of us continued to age, and this was (as it always is) most remarkably apparent in the children. Evidence of all that happened in the interim, to us and to the rest of the world, exists; so I won’t detail it inexpertly here. At some point in spring we found Cwm Isaf, and although I didn’t really think we would, we ended up moving here. I booked a van the weekend V took the kids to scatter her father’s ashes in Norfolk.

We moved in here at the end of summer. I’m optimistic about how we can spend our time here. There is enough to keep us going for as long as we have. That’s a good situation. We have some of Calvin’s ashes to scatter here. I think I’d happily have mine scattered here. And I never thought that about anywhere, except Penmon, before. This is different. No sea view. No mountains. At least not for about a mile. It’s a small, wet-woodland valley alongside a thundering river. Terrible internet, but (amazingly) that doesn’t bother me that much yet. (Although I know it will when I work.) The garden is full of old buildings. There’s even a derelict woollen factory, which we tend to (kind of inaccurately) call “the mill”. I picture it as an art factory and a walkers’ hostel. V pictures it as a holiday home, or maybe our home one day. Her suggestions make more sense, but I like mine better.

I never imagined such a place existed, much less that we would live in it. I’m glad we found it.

Among the undergrowth so far I’ve found a miniature waterwheel, a rake, a hoe, a fork, a cow-shed, a huge iron pot, the chassis of an ancient automobile, a Dutch poetry book, some dismantled fireplaces, and numerous other curiosities. I’ve seen nuthatches, robins and treecreepers aplenty, as well as red kites and crows overhead. I’ve heard ravens and owls. I’ve seen numerous pipistrelles and something bigger that might be a noctule. All kinds of funny water-and-wood-loving insects. And some bullhead fish in the Wern. No otters or salmon yet, but I’ve not really sat still long enough to have a chance. Lots of Japanese knotweed of course. And Himalayan balsam. I’m looking forward to next spring when the giant periwinkles will come out in force. I beat a wood mouse to death with a walking stick the other day. I didn’t enjoy it. I don’t think I’ll do it again. I thought it was a rat, and it had been in the house for days, eating the children’s toys and our potatoes, and shitting everywhere. I thought it would move. And then I thought why did I even try to hit it if I thought it would move. I don’t know. And would it have enjoyed being caught in a trap more?

As well as clearing the carpark to its “natural” extent and beginning on scraping the drive clean, I’ve begun to attempt to protect the older, rarer trees (which friends have helped me identify) from the virulent sycamores (which even I can identify). And to work on the drainage, and letting the light in to the sunny side of the house through the thick low scrub-growth. Everywhere in the 2.5 acres is evidence of other humans’ previous failed schemes. We must tread softly. (Not least because the brambles have claimed most of the land for themselves.)

I’ll stop there. Now on to painting, decorating, sanding, filling, tree-felling, wall-building, light-fitting, ditch-digging, bramble-hacking, leat-dredging, and all that stuff. But sleeping first. The affairs of state will have to wait. They’re used to that.

The weather is respiratory. The environment is overwhelming. The economy is tense.

Your friend,

A Velky

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