Reply To: Den monthly competition September 2018

Karen Telling

I am the last one to leave the cottage that we had lived in for thirty years. Our little cottage, tucked away down the farm drive with its apple, pear, plum and cherry trees. My daughter grew up there. A succession of animals had come into our lives and given us their love and kept us company; an assortment of shapes and sizes of collies, jack russell terriers, cats and horses.
Still alive and well is Charlie cat who is safely secured in her cat basket on the front seat of the car. My husband has the other two surviving collies in the back of the land rover and has already left.
I’ve cleaned the kitchen floor and taken one last walk around the house. I cry. A lot. I’m so glad there is no-one around on the farm to see me. So many memories flashing through my mind as I head down the drive for the last time. I didn’t think it would be this hard.
We were tenant farmers and I always kept a little part of me back from loving the farm and the cottage because I knew, one day, we would have to leave. And that day had come.
I cry on and off, all the way to the M3 but despite the rain, I start to look forward to our new life.
I catch up with my husband at a service station on the A303 and we drink coffee and sit in silence with our own thoughts.
Once through Taunton I am nearly home. Turning off the A358 I head up the hill towards Exmoor. The road twists and turns, passing pretty cottages and farms before I finally catch a first glimpse of the coast through the trees. Round the next corner and the Exmoor coast and the Bristol Channel is spread out in front of me. The sun glints off the water and Wales lies in the far distance. The view is stunning and takes my breath away. The road continues to climb very steeply in places. Charlie cat is getting restless. Nearly there, I say to her.
A few miles further on, passing the gnarled, windswept beech hedges that are so characterful of Exmoor, I arrive. Tucked away in a little hamlet of three houses, is our new home; just a few minutes walk from the Moor and a herd of Exmoor ponies. A new beginning.