|I think this picture represents "new beginnings". It was taken|
at the farm across the road where we live. We buy
quite a lot of our food there. In such small ways, it might
never be completely too late to Just Do It!
The inspiration for the TITLE of my 2006 book - and so this Blog - came from a series of TV programmes about 5 years ago which followed a family which had made their own escape from an urban rat race (in Sheffield I recall) to establish themselves amongst the olive groves on the steeply sloping side of a river valley in Tuscany. Idyllic! But of course everything was a major struggle. Partly the Good Life but a good deal more of the Hard Life. How to grow olives? How to harvest them and extract the oil and sell it? How about learning the language, shops, the legal system, housing, schools? How to convert a derelict barn into letting accommodation and finding paying visitors? How to overcome any fears about the Italian maternity services (inevitably they became a necessity after a year or so). But the good life was enjoyed although the very hard winters came as a surprise.
That kind of lifestyle portrayed is one which I would have loved to encompass for my own and I suspect this is true for many. Whatever the hardships, it was clear that the couple would never leave their new life. Even if they ran out of money and had to give it all up, they said they would live in a tent down there by the river rather than return to Sheffield. When they were asked to offer their advice to anyone else contemplating their own “escape”, they said, “Do what you want to do - Just do it!” Hence my title.
But of course most of us begin to think such thoughts when it is far too late for a major upheaval in our lives. Is that so? What if there could be a way? Perhaps by making small changes we could get part of the way. Or we could overcome our inevitable fears and go the whole hog. Many do.
It was a subject I’d thought a lot about. Also, my life’s experience had been one of getting many things wrong (nothing new there then) although I had hopefully learned a great deal in the process. If I were to combine a lot of these thoughts and experiences into a small book - it might be of interest to some folk. It is quite a hard-hitting book. No beating about the bush - it says it as it is.
Of course, my regret is that I didn’t know about these things until much too late in my life to make a big difference - though I have caught up a bit. I’d love to think that my book - or this Blog - might inspire some younger folk especially. Just a few small changes involving small degrees of ‘self-sufficiency’ and ‘taking responsibility’ as early in their lives as possible could make such a massive difference. I don’t deny there are difficulties but in some cases I would prefer to call them challenges to overcome.
And so, this Blog will begin - from next time - with the first chapter of the book, followed by the rest, post by post until complete. But it will be much more than that. The chapters themselves will be updated and expanded. Also there will be additional thoughts and comments on any relevant topic and much more. Especially it would be great if others joined in with comments.
Finally, this Blog will be wide-ranging but I suspect it will regularly cover a few themes of common interest. These are sure to include “downsizing”, with its associated theme of “frugal living”. A website, run by Richard of 'Down the Lane' fame since 2001, has given me a lot of pleasure over the years. It might not be what you're looking for but it is fascinating and you could be there for hours. Have a look: http://www.downthelane.net/index.php.
I hope you have found my first hesitant steps at blogging hve whetted your appetite and that you will think it worth looking out for the proper first instalment next time - in a week or so. Then, as we get into the subject I want us to embark on a fascinating journey together.