‘My spe­cial place helps me come to terms with heartache’

Prima (UK) - - Women Like You -

Ju­lia Mitchell, 41, from Wilm­slow, Cheshire, never knew how much the serene wa­ters of the lake would help her.

When­ever I visit my par­ents’ farm, I fol­low the same rou­tine. I walk across the farm­land, up into the beau­ti­ful rolling hills and val­leys of the Lan­cashire Pen­nines, un­til I come to my favourite spot. I sit on the ground with my back against the oak tree that over­looks the beau­ti­ful lake. This is the only place where I can truly switch off and re­lax my mind.

I first fell in love with the lake when I was seven years old and my fam­ily moved into my grand­par­ents’ farm. Though my two younger sis­ters didn’t share my pas­sion, I im­me­di­ately em­braced farm life and spent hours roam­ing the vast acres of arable land. It was like hav­ing a huge, safe gar­den.

The lake, known to our fam­ily as The Lodge, is roughly the size of three

full-size swim­ming pools and is dot­ted with trees. At first, my par­ents would take us there as chil­dren to play and have a pad­dle, but grad­u­ally my sis­ters lost in­ter­est and it was only me vis­it­ing – it was like my own pri­vate lake.

I watched ducks pad­dling and herons wad­ing as sheep grazed and bleated in the fields be­yond. As a teenager, I’d gather up my revision books first thing in the morn­ing, pack my­self a lunch and stay there study­ing for my ex­ams all day. Some­times I’d take my lit­tle Sony Walk­man and lis­ten to the Rolling Stones as I walked the banks. I re­mem­ber a par­tic­u­larly bad teenage break-up with a boyfriend when I sat sob­bing be­neath my tree, but my pri­vate sanc­tu­ary of­fered the com­fort I craved – and

I felt much bet­ter as I headed home.

In­evitably, when I headed off to univer­sity, got a job and mar­ried, vis­its home weren’t so fre­quent and my trips to the lake fiz­zled out. But, eight years ago, I moved nearer to my par­ents and I re­dis­cov­ered my lake. Times there are pre­cious, es­pe­cially as I’m run­ning my own PR busi­ness now. I’m con­stantly con­nected to work, so a chance to es­cape is some­thing I re­ally need in my life. I’d stay there all af­ter­noon like I used to if I could, but these days I have to make do with an hour or two while my par­ents look af­ter my daugh­ter Au­drey, who’s six. On those oc­ca­sions, I’ll leave my phone with them and wan­der down for a quick re­boot.

I’m go­ing through a di­vorce at the mo­ment and it’s still very raw, but vis­it­ing my spe­cial place is help­ing me

come to terms with the trauma.

I al­ways leave feel­ing re­stored.

Au­drey loves vis­it­ing ‘Mummy’s Lodge’ too, and it’s heart­en­ing to see how she’s fol­low­ing in my foot­steps and learn­ing to love be­ing away from tech­nol­ogy and en­joy the nat­u­ral sur­round­ings.

Mo­ment to re­flect

I think all women should have a spe­cial space where they can re­flect and have a mo­ment’s pause from the rigours of daily life. These days our lives are so busy with work and fam­ily. We’re con­stantly rush­ing around, run­ning the home, cook­ing meals and scrolling through so­cial me­dia – we’ve for­got­ten how to be by our­selves and lis­ten to our own thoughts.

I dread the day when my par­ents re­tire and sell the farm, even though I know it’s in­evitable at some point. Un­til then, I’ll savour ev­ery mo­ment there. It’s my lit­tle slice of heaven.

‘A chance to es­cape is some­thing I need in my life’

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