Tuesday, 29 November 2016

A Very Private Place - Sanctuary

11:17:00 Posted by Pamela Winning , , , , , 1 comment
I’m back from a welcome break. I dread this time of the year, miserable mornings and dark tea-times. Everything seems like a major effort. It’s like an illness and the older I get, the worse it feels. The best thing is to go away and talk myself into accepting winter. I spent a few days of rest and recuperation at my favourite location in Dumfries and Galloway. Close to Loch Ken and on the fringe of Galloway Forest, a concealed single track lane winds through the countryside leading to a cluster of timber-clad lodges. They are each set in their own space, surrounded by trees and shrubs and positioned so that none over-looks another. Next to the lodges, a couple of stone-built cottages face the courtyard of the old manor house where the lane ends. We stay in one of the lodges, quiet, hidden, a very private place.

We found it by accident. A few years ago we were searching online for weekend accommodation in the far north-west of England to meet up with family who were travelling down from Ayrshire. Our previous destination at the top of the Lake District was too expensive at this time and we wanted an affordable alternative. We didn’t intend to go into Scotland, but we found this place – well within budget, even with extra travelling costs – and decided to go ahead, with the understanding that ‘you get what you pay for’. With that in mind, we were not expecting much. We were certainly not expecting the high standards that we found in a warm, cosy, spotlessly clean, very well equipped wonderful lodge, in the middle of nowhere. Of course, we missed the turn off. It’s easily done.

That was the first of many visits. I love the isolation. The nearest shops are six miles away in Kirkcudbright, or seven miles the other way to Castle Douglas. There’s nowhere within walking distance for us, apart from, well, going for a walk which is usually my first occupation in the mornings, taking our spaniel out. No WiFi, no phone signal, no trappings of the fast moving electronic world. It’s refreshing to escape, listen to the sounds of nature, watch woodland animals and relax. 

We’ve got it off to a fine art, now. We pick up groceries and supplies on the way and upon arrival we are soon unpacked and settled in. This was our third visit this year. The woods and hedgerows were rich in autumn and winter colour of reds, rust, gold and green, edged in white with morning frost. Walking our dog early one morning, I was thrilled and surprised to see two deer very close to the lane. A little further up, our presence disturbed a pair of pheasants, the majestic male with his glorious blood-red plumage and golden speckles took flight, quickly followed by the brownish, chestnut speckled female. It’s a privilege to be so close to nature. I’d rather listen to owls at night than speeding cars and sirens. 

This hidden gem is my perfect sanctuary. I feel a lot better for my visit. 

This is a very private place,
A comforting, cosy retreat
Where we find peace in our own space
And rest until we feel complete. 

Close to the forest, near the loch
This is a very private place
Beyond the grazing Blackface flock,
A home from home, a perfect base. 

We snuggle up in warm embrace
And listen for the woodland sounds
This is a very private place
Where playful rabbits have no bounds. 

In the semi-dark of twilight
An owl, a fox, maybe a trace
Of deer or something to delight
This is a very private place.
Thanks for reading, Pam x



Steve Rowland said...

Sorry you get SAD (is what it sounds like). Good you've found an antidote in your sanctuary. A lovely piece of prose and I liked the well-constructed poem. Thanks for sharing.