There should be a Universal Dissenter’s flag that declares, “This world isn’t my fault!” Of course, Monica and I retreat to Mondavia when human-kind disappoints us with a step backwards. On our mythical island, none of this nonsense is allowed, by strict decree, punishable by the pillory (of which we have quite a few, in case of tourists). I read that it’s the fault of those who arm-wrestled Peter Drucker (“a company exists to create a customer”) out of his throne to install the share-holder as king.

Apparently, the weather has been bad here. The neighbours have both had plumbers to fix leaks and floods but, snuggled in the kitchen or parlour here, it’s hard to detect the weather. When neighbour Dave asked for the loan of £20 to pay his plumber, I foolishly asked, “Has it been raining?”.

We’re having a day off, today, having tidied the house and sheds enough to receive the next load of mess, due in a few days. After that is delivered then life will be sweet because, for the first time ever, there’ll be no external deadlines (apart from the Big, Certain One) driving us to work. We’ve made a first pass at prioritising our projects: the barn conversion, DIY, gets a Guernsey; as do the planting and energy-generation projects. Of the big projects, buying the Mayo Hostel requires further financial modelling before we proceed, to see when energy-generation, pensions etc will provide what income. So guest accommodation will be in our own, converted barn which needs a name).

Smaller ideas, like the bread oven, workshop tool population, forge, a veggie-patch, greenhouse, fixing up the laundry and pantry etc will happen in their own time, in the cracks between the biggies.

A new project has arisen, that suits my druthers. Walking the land with cousin Chris and the wildlife inspector, we found a flat area of about fifty square yards high up above the road, looking South along the valley. It’ll be left out of the tree planting, set aside as a sheltered glade where different wild stuff can compete and where we can set up a hide(away). All that’s required is a little drainage ditch and it’ll be good to go. Maybe a cable-car to deliver the beer.

The first planting—three hazel falls and an oak/birch patch—is due to occur on the last two weekends of February. All the grant applications are in and we’re waiting the statutory 21 days for objections. We’ve organised Kevin and his friends to provide drumming entertainment during the lunch-break, I’ll be baking and the fire-pit will keep everyone warm unless it’s pouring down. I’m sure the volunteers will appreciate our efforts.

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