Summer diaries: Staying in a cabin in the woods

I’m currently writing outside a wooden cabin, hoping to write at least half of this post before it starts raining again. There’s a nice cool breeze, and I’m wearing my partner’s jumper because I didn’t pack for this weather.

I’ve been staying in a cabin in Foxton, a small English town, for the past week and it’s been amazing. I hadn’t realised I’m so tired of living in a city until we got here. It’s all so quiet and calm and free. I can’t help but compare my life here vs my life in the city centre. In the mornings, I’ve been woken up by the sun coming in through the window instead of drunks shouting at each other at 4 am. I can actually hear the sound of rain against the roof instead of just seeing it fall, its sound numbed by loud cars. I can breathe clean and fresh air, not this constantly polluted air typical of big cities. This week has shown me how tired I am of being surrounded by noise and pollution, and I really miss the outdoors.

The experience

The weather in Foxton turned out to be very unpredictable. I, always an optimist, packed two cute summer dresses, a mini skirt, a pair of jeans, a light jacket and multiple short-sleeved tops, plus a swimsuit because the cabin has its own hot tub. Well, it rains every day, and we got a few hours of sun every morning accompanied by more cold and rain in the evenings. Needless to say, I’ve spent most of the time wearing jeans and a jacket.

wooden cabin

When I read The Little Book of Hygge , one of the recommended hyggelig activities was spending time in a cabin and being in nature. And I felt hygge when we got back to the cabin every day, after a long and cold walk, and we got to lay down on the sofa while listening to the rain. The only thing missing? Hot chocolate! The cabin had coffee and tea but no cocoa, which for me, is essential.

The places I visited

We quickly discovered that one of the selling points of this cabin, “quiet and cosy, disconnect and recharge surrounded by nature”, also meant “you’re completely isolated from civilisation, and if you don’t own a car, you’re screwed”. Because we don’t have a car, we didn’t have many places to visit, so we mostly stayed in the cabin walked around the area.

We walked around the canal and had lunch in one of the pubs, which, turns out, small-town pubs are not that vegetarian / vegan-friendly, so I mainly survived on chips and garlic bread.

We ran into a group of llamas next to the canal that had recently been sheared and didn’t look too happy about it.

The books I read

If you’ve been on my blog before, then you’ll know I can’t go anywhere without a book, and this time, I brought two: The Switch by Beth O’Leary and The Midnight Library by Matt Haig. I’ve spent most of my evenings reading outside, with a cup of tea and breathing in the cold, post-rain air, one of my favourite smells.

I started with The Switch, which follows a woman in her 20s living in London, and her 79-year-old grandmother, who lives in a small town in Yorkshire. Tired of their own lives, they decide to switch places for two months to have new experiences. Eileen, the grandma, tries online dating for the first time, and Leena tries disconnecting from her busy London life. During my stay in Foxton, I felt exactly like Leena, just slowing down, taking a break from work, and enjoying my time in a rural town.

The Midnight Library also focused on a woman who experiences many different lives, her what-ifs and what-could’ve-beens after she tries to kill herself and ends up in the Midnight Library. A library between life and death that has a book for every life you could’ve had. I finished this book when I got back to my tiny flat in the city, and it does feel like I’ve lived a different life for a week.

cabin reading

I’m finishing this post from the comfort of my sofa, and the views outside are as depressing as ever. There are no green landscapes, no trees or watching the occasional rabbit run by the cabin. Now it’s back to noisy cars and loud neighbours. This week was my first staycation, and I loved it. I don’t know if or when we’ll be able to escape the city again, but I look forward to it. At least I have hot chocolate now.

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