Monday, February 11, 2013

'There Is No Such Word As Can't'

I'm happy to consider myself to be someone who doesn't just sit down in the road when I come to an obstacle in life.   I like to think that I live life on, (at least some of), my terms.  But I am clearly a novice in self-determination and tenacity when compared to a little English lady named May Savidge, latterly of Hertfordshire and Norfolk in England.

May's story, 'Moving house: How a little old lady spent 23 years single-handedly dismantling her cottage brick by brick and rebuilding it 100 miles away'  is quite amazing.  It's the tale of one lone woman, (and her dog), who battled developers, authorities, increasing age and personal hardship to save the 15th century home she had already spent six years restoring.

"My mother brought us up on the maxim that there is no such word as 'can't',"  May said.

Long haul: May carried the timbers herself to the lorries that would move her house
... Which kind of underlines the importance of what we teach our children, doesn't it?

I think you'll like it if you have the time to read the whole article.  It's a tale of tragic love and loss, a long-held secret, snippets of history, the kindness of strangers, inspiring stoicism .. it even includes a visit to the Queen.

I especially like the brief letter May wrote to the man who jilted her after 17 years.  After finding faith and having fallen in love with his cousin, he had written to her, (quoting from the article):

 'I have, thanks to God, seen my dear cousin Iris in a new and wonderful light...  I know this will hurt you as I know only too well how you feel towards me. I pray to the Lord that you, too, may experience this most wonderful love...  I should like nothing better than for you to regard us as a new sister and brother. I would like to bring Iris to see you when you feel like it, I know you, too, will love her - everybody does!'

Clearly cut to the quick, May wrote back: 'It surprises me that anyone so dear and lovable as your Cousin Iris should have thought it right to come between us, after 17 years. My heart is not made of stone. You often spoke of our marriage. Is it surprising that I thought you really cared? I hope you will be more faithful to Iris than you have been to me. Goodbye.'

Well said May!  

What I think I'll remember most from the story of May is her passion.  She did what any of us might be able to do.  If we felt strongly enough.  Cared enough.  Had enough spunk.  It made me wonder about the things in my life that I care that strongly about.  I hope we all have things we care that strongly about.


And now, just because I came across this a few days ago too, and it fits right in to the theme of how incredible some people are, I present, for your viewing pleasure and amazement, the following clip from Fb.  (Click on the picture if you like amazing sports and adventure seeking clips ...  I don't always but some of these are pretty incredible...)

People are Amazing!


  1. Love her story! Kind of want to buy the book now... :)


  2. wow! It is truly an inspiring story!

  3. Haha, I love how she shut down that guy :)
    And what a cool story! Inspiring. You're like that mother :)