I continued to live in our lovely flat. Ron came and went, so there was a lot of alone time. I like alone time. I didn’t get married until I was in my 40s and there is a lot to be said for a single life. Mainly a lot of alone time. As I mentioned earlier, when you work in such a high stress business you have to figure out how you are going to manage that. People manage it in all sorts of ways. Drink, drugs, sex often become out of control as they can help to numb all the stress. Especially if on location, where the openly accepted attitude is that whatever happens there does not count.
It became clear as I got older, that those methods were dead end solutions. After a long search, discovered Sanctuary and threw myself into all things to do with my home. Cooking, gardening, baking bread, and of course my art work. I chose to live in a small, beautiful town outside of LA, where no film people lived. And tried to live an 18th century life. I did everything from scratch. It was marvelous, like a living meditation.
So, there I am so many years later, starting over, living the life of a young single graphic designer, alternating between mind numbing stress and complete boredom. Working my ass off all day long, coming home, eating a bowl of corn flakes and going to bed. If Ron was there, I would drag along with him to some restaurant and fall asleep over mediocre food. Not me.
I decided that there would just have to be more to my life than work and sleep. I needed to move to the country. Ron thought I was nuts, I suspect, as he likes routine, simplicity and above all predictability. For me predictability is one step from the grave. But together we are balance. He enjoys the adventure of life with me, and I appreciate the grounding he provides. At some point I will write about our relationship when I figure out how to make something intimate, public, but suffice it to say that we adore each other. We indulge each other in all things, both of us taking great care to make sure the other is okay.
So I announced that I needed something more. I always say to him “I’ve been thinking”, and he says “uh oh”. I said that if I was going to live on another continent from our family and our pets, I needed to create a real and full life. I needed a home and a dog/companion. I just cannot tell you how much he did not want a dog. He said that this was his pet free zone. I pointed out that this was my everything free zone, and he gave in.
(I will write more about the puppy in another post.)
I started looking for a house., spending my evenings perusing online listings. But it was a laborious endeavor as I had no idea where any of the listings actually were. So I went to our locations manager ( the crew member who finds all the shooting sites), and asked if he knew of anything. He did, and told me about a 700 year old house near a place we shot. I remembered the house, it had been the original germ of my idea.
Arrangements were made to see the house and the next thing I knew, I was climbing all over this crazy house, perhaps better described as a museum. It was ridiculously large, with 6 bedrooms sprawling in a mad hodgepodge. Rooms clearly added on over the millenniums, stairs everywhere, a major task to get from one place to another.
But I fell in love. It is an actual fortified house. Many of the windows on the lower level are made to shoot arrows out of. The original bedrooms are built into a tower with a circular staircase so that the resident had the advantage during a sword fight. There are secret passageways. Mirrors and walls that pop open revealing tunnels from one part of the house to another. The house was a Jacobite stronghold used to plan the uprising of 1745. Appropriate, considering I am doing the costumes on a show about the Jacobite uprising of 1745. Even more appropriately a show about a modern woman who travels back to 18th century Scotland and builds a new life. At the time, the similarity did not strike me. That has grown more obvious as I actually live this new life.
There was no central heating, every room had a wall heater or a fireplace, it was out in the county, in Scotland. Not exactly the south of France, with constant rain and cold, and it was a 20 minute drive from anything!!
But it was completely furnished, filled with antiques and art. An incredible crimson dining room, pantries stacked high with gorgeous china and silver ware. Parlors and music rooms, deeply set windows with shutters to lock out the cold, looking over acres of countryside. Not a modern anything to be found anywhere.
Ron gave me only two requirements. It had to have a shower and internet. It had neither.
I took it. I thought at the time it might be an enormous mistake. Would I be able to manage this monstrosity? What about loneliness, isolation? The owner actually asked me, “won’t you be scared here by yourself??”. GULP, YES !!!!! The list of challenges seemed insurmountable. Maybe I was finally going to bite off more than I could chew in life.
I took it.
Remember when you were a kid and the first time you actually went off the high dive? You stood in line, waiting your turn to go up the ladder. Once you were on it, there was no turning back. You COULD NOT be that kid who turned and climbed back down, humiliated in front of all the other kids. You walked out to the end of the plank (yes it was a plank), and stood there looking down at the pool, feeling like Jimmy Stewart in Vertigo. You knew that you were going to die, what madness could have driven you to do something so stupid.
But you jumped anyway, because no one had made you climb that ladder, you had made that choice yourself and there was no turning back now.
So you jumped. So I jumped.