Wednesday 25 August 2010


Firstly, may I thank Mrs C for a very thought-provoking post and the link to an equally thought-provoking post HERE. These posts have served to reaffirm what we have always believed, that for certain of us - perhaps for many of us, truth be told - the best choice is to step off the gravy train and take charge of your own life. Of course, it is not something which can be done overnight and may have to be long in the planning and execution, but it can be done.

My light-bulb moment was when I was stuck in a traffic jam trying to get home from my horribly tedious but necessary job temping in the offices of Barclays Bank in Poole over 25 years ago now. Note, I wrote trying to get HOME. Night after night I would join the line of traffic trying to get out of Poole town centre. I can clearly remember thinking, there has got to be something better than this, and that I was truly one of the rat race. I decided that enough was enough, though at the time, I had to keep persevering and grinding my teeth as you cannot change things overnight.

I had already met my future (2nd) husband and we lived at the margins of a pleasant Dorset village. However, it wasn't until our first daughter was born that the time came for change on a larger scale. We decided to grab life by the throat and sold our house and relocated to Wales. It was to have been Devon, but this was when house prices were literally rising week by week and we had to look elsewhere.

We have worked very hard to restore what was a semi-derelict former mansion house, using traditional building materials and keeping faith with the original features and character of the building. We had to learn new skills, and try and find legal ways of boosting a meagre income, whilst raising three children. We learned patience. We raised "make do and mend" to a whole new level. We restored not only the house, but often the furniture to go in it. Our mantra was "self-reliance."

Now our children are grown and just setting out on the ladder of life and they too, are faced with having to think outside of the box and look at alternative ways of earning a living other than the traditional working for a pittance in a boring job. Obviously, they are going to have to do that for a while - any job, just to try and pay off some of their University debts - but we have had some fascinating discussions in the past couple of days, and the concept of livelihood rather than wage-slave has already occurred to our eldest daughter and her boyfriend. It is now dawning on our two younger children and we have had an absolute brainwave for a future for our son . . .


  1. Glad my post helped! It really was such a lightbulb moment for me reading Nancy's original post. Still trying to puzzle over what I can do to make a living, but determined to stay clear of the rat race for as long as possible!


  2. And you hava tortoiseshell butterflies this morning too :-). thanks gals, for good posts.

  3. A thought on synchronicity ... my Cattishness blog ( is about jumping off cliffs for livelihoods too. There is something in the air ...

  4. I had an "Aha" moment similar to yours, I was sitting in a hugh traffic jam in Denver CO, usa, back in 1984, and thinking that there's got to be a better life than this. Working a hated job in the insurance business, and hating the office politics, my husband and I moved back to Nebraska after a few months and struggled and finally after 25 yrs, we've come to slow down.
    It is still a struggle, but I have cut and simplified the lifestyle, paid off bills and credit card debt, and make do. I sell at the farmer's market, my herbs and herbal mixes and I LOVE it. It can be done, but it does not come easy or quickly.
    Wonderful post as usual, I very much enjoy the thought provoking conversations that we all need to be talking about.

    Thank you again for your wonderful blog

  5. Thank you for that denimflyz. Sometimes I post and wonder, oh dear - have I just made a social faux pas? Are there people reading this who are on my wavelength or do they think I am a tad strange?!!!

    I would love to have the sort of income where we could travel the world, but I always knew my life wasn't going to be like that. Perhaps we will get some travelling done once we have downsized and before we are too old and doddery to enjoy the experience . . . Your lifestyle sounds excellent - I could really do with waving a magic wand to attract some money in my direction at the moment, so let's hope the odds and sods I am ebaying find new homes.

    Elen - off to check your blog.

    Mrs C - see what you've started?!!!

  6. I am so glad to see that you all seem to have your priorities right.