November at BrocanteHome


Hellllooooo, It’s time for me to get back to my lovely blog after spending the past few months deep in the midst of setting up my lovely community and Homeschool, and though it has been wonderful to have finally made some progress (despite 2020!), when I’m not blogging I feel a little flippertyjibbit and beside myself…

And so here I am again, nearing the end of the cycle of improvements for BrocanteHome that I set out at the beginning of the year, with most of my ducks lined up soldier straight and so very grateful to all of those who have stood by patiently as I have plotted and muddled and despaired through three versions of the community until I found a way to create a space we all love and I can make our own. At last!

You will have noticed a lot of changes. One day links across the site will have pointed one way and the next, poof! – vanished into thin air! One day the blog would have been there in its fifteen year entirety, and the next just a few posts as if I had only invented BrocanteHome last week. Once the calendar looked one way and all the links went to the places they should and currently its all upside down and I’m having to piece it together all over again because the app I once used to create it no longer works here. Darn it! But please rest assured that I am almost at the end of the this topsy-turvy cycle of change!

Of course it has been the most awfully odd year in so many other ways too. We all know that all too well. Businesses online and off have suffered tremendously and most of us have had to pivot or pick up the pieces in one way or another, but though it has been hard, 2020 has taught me that in life, as in Brocantehome, I am, you are, we are resilient and creative and that it is always, always up to us, to do what needs to be done, even when it feels hard. Even when the odds seem stacked against us. Even when it means unpicking so very much of what we know to re-invent a life in the image of circumstances we would never, ever have chosen.

For this has been my biggest takeaway this year: we have to keep on keeping on. It is up to everyone of us to take the precautionary measures we see as necessary throughout what is likely to be our very own Winter of Discontent. We have to act for OURSELVES in order to PROTECT OTHERS. For our own wellbeing, with or without government instruction. We have to look at the future we have NOW and shape it into something as much to our liking as this vastly different world can accommodate and now, more than ever before we have to be willing to be flexible, to be hopeful, and to be kind, in the pursuit of our dreams.

A few months ago I thought Covid 19 was destined to make life a kinder place in which to be. But I don’t think it is panning out that way is it? Indeed in the past six months I don’t believe I have ever witnessed more self-serving, selfish, destructive behaviour in my entire lifetime than I have in this current, ugly political landscape. Lives destroyed, lives lost. Ugliness we could not have predicted before this ruthless pandemic came into our lives. Division and despair.

And on a petty personal scale I am experiencing tiny acts of selfish meanness, as though we have all forgotten how to be considerate. A mother who stamps her feet because we choose to protect our children instead of exposing them to possible Covid by mixing them in one household. Another woman online who is now blatantly copying my work and passing it off as her own, after being a customer of mine for many, many years: not copying in the spirit of admiration or inspiration but with a much more cynical attitude than I would have once imagined her capable of . The outrageous behaviour of one of Ste’s work colleagues that has slowly but surely unpicked him. All of it cruel, selfish and unnecessary.

But then perhaps fear breeds discontent and discontent inspires these tiny, but needling cruelties? I am trying, as always, to understand. And in the meantime I am doing all I can here to re-adjust life according to our shared vision of what it has to be moving forward: never letting our outrage at selfish misdemeanour dictate who we are, not confronting, nor arguing, but focusing on the here and now, within these four walls and within the limitations of Covid Tiers, compromised incomes and the claustrophobia I know so many of us are experiencing daily.

For this is what I know: we cannot mend that which will not be fixed. We cannot calm screeching banshees, rampant viruses or greedy copycats. Or even insist governments behave responsibly. Some things simply aren’t in our power and so we must come back to ourselves instead. Always back to ourselves. Re-centering our despair and bringing drifting, outraged eyes back to that which soothes our soul: our own homes, our own work, our own wellbeing. Extending kindness where it is required (and heavens it is so very required now), but otherwise taking societal responsibility by doing exactly what is right and necessary for our own, within the limited aspect of that society which we can affect, and choosing the greater whole over the privileged needs of what went before.

At home we are more focused than ever on making the best of what is: improving what we have and discarding what we don’t need. Learning new skills and gently shifting all routines and rituals to accommodate a life spent mainly here at the moment. Merging my life at home more completely with my life here: sharing my daily housekeeping round in the to-do lists I post every afternoon in The Common Room. Teaching Finn (who is studying Creative Media) how to use the various apps for all the moving parts of BrocanteHome, reading for the Brocante Bookclub, and letting Ste take over all the admin so I can wholly concentrate on living well and sharing the how of it, with you.

Life is very, very different to how it was this time last year. I haven’t seen my dad for months and despite our daily phone-calls I miss him terribly. But in some ways it has been astonishing: repairing Ste’s mental health with the routines he has long resisted, so that despite spending so very much of each and every day together we have finally found peace together; forcing me to unpick the tangle the site had become in the trauma of the years that have gone before; and showing Finn that he will have a life of his own making if he can harness his incredible ability to write in the way he is showing so much promise for, now that he has the time a mind like his needs to string his beautiful thoughts together.

And now it is November. We miss Stevie now he isn’t here as often he was, I am still waddling about on my sore knee and I feel like I’m the size of a house, but BrocanteHome is almost where I want it to be. I am picking up the little rituals I once had here on the site (see the pretties in the sidebar are back, oh yay!) and the first bundle at Homeschool was a huge success. I am happy. A deep-rooted, very human kind of happiness that is made of gratitude and an understanding that the very notion of life and love is a privilege and if next year brings more of what 2020 has, we will continue to face it with fortitide.

I do hope you will be here for the ride.

Join the Conversation

  1. I will be here for the ride, because even when it has been bumpy, it has been a great ride and now is a wonderful ride. I love the new set ups and the members. I too have seen more unpleasantness during this year out in the world, selfishness, and could care less attitudes about others, but we cannot change them, however we can all model the kind of people we wish they would be. I know people are frustrated and frightened, but kindness is so important at times like this, especially toward our elderly and vulnerable who must be feeling it much worse than some of us. I was dismayed to read that someone is ripping off your work and making it her own, I hope she is no longer a member here and can filch no further things? It is shocking how often this goes on, and I really hope people recognize her for what she is. However, as you say, we have to rise above, and be the people we want others to be, and the people we want our children to be, and take care of our nests and our loved ones – Brocante is the place for that, nowhere else. Alison, the hard work, frustrations and all the muddles you have found yourself in while trying to create a home for us, has all been worthwhile, you can take that to the bank.

  2. Marceline Miller says:

    So happy for a blog post!! Yay!

  3. I’m so happy that you are finding your way back to your Brocante Home roots. I’ve been a fan since the early days and even the occasional chaos couldn’t chase me away. It really stinks that someone would try to copy your work but I believe that most of the time, people like that will out themselves eventually. I often share links to your site because I want everyone to share in the beauty of BH but I can’t imagine stealing someone else’s work. Yet it happens a lot. I hear other bloggers deal with the same thing.

    Sadly, we will be saying goodbye to our beloved dog, Shiloh, tomorrow but soon I will be updating my Brocante Home binder and begin working through it all in earnest. I’m here for the long haul. ❤️

  4. Count me in Dearest Alison!!💐

  5. Alison, I am amazed at what you have created during this crazy year and I hope you have taken the time to sit back, take a look at it all, and give yourself a pat on the back. I have been watching as you pushed through so many blocks (and probably many more anxious moments than I knew about) to make BH even more wonderful than it was before. Someone may copy your layout, your topics, and your color schemes, but they can’t replicate the heart you put into everything you do. They can’t replicate your gorgeous writing. I’m looking forward to all you have planned for 2021 and beyond.

  6. 2020. It’s certainly made me take stock and reevaluate our priorities. I have been so fortunate that the people I care about are safe and well and not looking at a very bleak 2021. I’m so pleased you are blogging again. I love a good Old School blog post. Hopefully your content thief will see the error of her ways and clean up her act. Happy Halloween as well to you and anyone on BH who are celebrating it,

  7. Melanie Freeman says:

    I am pretty new to this lovely group but what I find here feels magical to me.
    Please keep it up.
    It is a balm to these gaping wounds.

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