I have the most hectic schedule at the moment, as soon as I finish one job there are at least a dozen waiting to be started. Once I’ve got Richard organised and given him any hand he might need with the benches there are emails to be sent, materials to order and invoices to write. Then there’s the book keeping, vice making, filming, editing and I’m most of the way through building a new website. There’s all the usual stuff as well like walking the dog, house work and cooking tea; I’m never happy eating anything ready made and Richard eats a lot!
When we made the decision to take on the restoration project of our barns it’s easy to see why we had serious concerns that too little time would make things very stressful – after all we are going to be doing the bulk of the work ourselves.
Weirdly though since starting to potter on the barns we’ve never felt more relaxed. It’s always going to be slow progress but for every brick we move it feels like another step forward rather than a chore. And if I can find half an hour or a couple of hours between jobs then I can enjoy planting out a row of hedging or digging out a floor while thinking through the job I’ve got coming up. I’m only small, but it’s surprising how many barrow loads of muck you can move whilst pondering.This may well be the honeymoon period for us but I like to think that it’s also reaping the rewards of choosing to be self employed. Working for yourself is never, ever the easy choice and in fact I guarantee it will bring more work and more stress than the alternative but after many years of toiling it does give you something very wonderful – choice. It isn’t a choice to earn lots of money but perhaps something more important, a choice to how you spend your time. Having integrity and genuine enthusiasm for your work makes it possible to get through any difficult spells and when things are all in order it’s time to take some control and start moulding your working life in to your lifestyle.It’s all too easy to feel constrained to a routine and for me being relaxed in an afternoon planting out in the sun feels like cheating – like something you do when you’re enjoying retirement. Taking on the challenge of these barns though has put in to focus what we work hard for. It’s about choosing what’s important to us; most people wouldn’t envy the amount of bricks I’ve had to move these past weeks and we will never afford holidays, nights out or fancy cars but we decided for us those things aren’t important. Our wealth will come from our experiences; the journey of spending time learning together, achieving small goals and the freedom to sit out on a February afternoon and sip lemonade because the sun decided to shine.We are only tip toeing through our first steps of this project and without any services or even a full solid building we are a long way from being able to move in. Every day though it feels more like home and we have decided that this is our project for life and where many experiences – both good and bad will be made.
I know that many people are eager to see some of the work we’ve been up to and I don’t want to big this up because it really isn’t a whole lot of progress but I am bringing together some footage that we’ve been taking as we go along. I won’t promise you when it will be ready but it’s there on the job list.
The day is Sunday, at least it is as I write this. The sun is also really shining. It’s also my first day off in quite some time. I’m sat with my notebook on a bit of beach that may as well be Mars. I come here quite regularly to write, think, sing? And in the...