After years of planning and preparing, after sleepless nights and hours spent wondering What if?, it’s all change for me and my husband, M. At long last, we are selling up and moving to our plot of family land, which is located in a former tin-mining village.
Those of you familiar with my young adult adventure “The Time Crystals” (due to be published by Books To Treasure next year) will already notice a certain life-fiction parallel here. In the book, my main character, twelve-year-old Clara Callenick, lives in a caravan on family land which—you’ve guessed it—was formerly a tin mine. At the start of the book, her life is turned upside-down when she learns that her beloved home is being sold to a ruthless local businessman, father of two school bullies who are making her life a misery. Things get even more complicated when, beneath the mine, she discovers a time portal!
Clara felt so choked with sorrow, for a moment she couldn’t speak.
“Oh, it’s just that every time I come here now, I keep wondering if it’ll be the last time. I can’t bear the thought of leaving. There’s nowhere else I want to go.”
Hayley linked arms with her. “Don’t be like that. You’ve got to stay positive. We’ll beat them.”
Clara wished she could believe that.
(excerpt from “The Time Crystals”)
Well, that’s where the story takes off in a very different direction from my own life, but it’s true to say that the starting point for Clara’s adventure was inspired by my real-life childhood background.
My sister and I lived with Mum and Dad in a caravan atop a once flourishing mine, surrounded by overgrown shafts and old mine workings. We played in the ruin of the engine house and clambered over the water wheel which once powered the stamps, breaking up the ore. Looking back, we enjoyed an idyllic, free existence, rare by today’s standards, exploring the woods and downs which now thrive on this once bare land.
Sadly, when I was six, our parents divorced and my sister and I embarked on a very different life. Several years have passed since that time, and I have lived in many places around the world. A part of me, however, has always longed to return to my childhood village. Now, thanks in large part to my family, we are at last in a position to start turning that dream into reality.
The plans are in place, the necessary permissions have been obtained, various tests and investigations have been carried out … in short, a pretty penny has been spent! But the decision has been made. We are selling up. Over the next few weeks, we intend to move into temporary accommodation and get our modest single-storey wooden house built.
It will be a life-changing event for me, in many different ways. Firstly, it will be a home-coming I’ve often dreamed about, since several members of my family never left the area and will be close by. Also, our plot is near to the little wood I’ve loved all my life, and I’ll have the chance to improve its biodiversity (it’s currently overrun with very few species). For some time now I’ve been busy taking cuttings from my current garden, which contains many species of herbs and shrubs popular with bees and other wildlife. The house is designed to be environment-friendly, and even includes bat boxes, which are cleverly positioned by the roof space.
As our plans develop, I would love to share our progress with you. There will be many headaches along the way, I’m sure! But for the moment, excitement reigns. Our current mission: to think of a name for our little wooden house.
Moving a little oak tree to a new home