The Joy of Being A Novice

by | Jul 25, 2013 | 9 comments

Having a keen interest can often come with an ambition to turn it to a livelihood and take it professional. After all what better way to spend your days than doing what you love and being paid for it. I’m not just talking about woodwork here, it could be cooking, painting or maybe a sport. And I’m not going to knock taking that approach, it can be very rewarding but I’ve no doubt that the most fun can be had when it’s all done for yourself, with no one to answer to.

Gardening and cooking  are my things  and when I use the term novice I really do mean it. But the joy of being a novice is that it’s not the results that count but the process of getting there. The rewards of that process can vary; perhaps it’s the relaxation of taking time out or the accomplishment of learning something new. I’m probably rather odd but I love knowing that the challenge of making our garden beautiful is enormous. Given my lack of time and the fact that it’s been an un kept wildness  for many years, I can’t see how I’ll ever transform it in to the magnificent spectacle of colour I’ve imagined. But I can picture exactly how it could be and that encourages me to keep learning and pottering and enjoying it.

We’re pretty odd in the way that we desire things. The more we can’t have something the more we want it. And this goes hand in hand with our lack of time to indulge in our hobbies, it means we’re always eager and excited for it. No matter how fun something is, if we know we’ve got to do it then somehow it’s not quite as desirable as it could be.

I’d sum up the difference of being professional to being to being a novice as follows:

A professional tends only to remembers the mistakes, because they’re the cause of their sleepless nights. A novice on the other hand expects the mistakes, but can celebrate every achievement and result.

I’ve already gotten over loosing many seedlings to frost and all of my strawberries to the birds (and the dog!) but I’m delighted on an evening when I can go out and dig up some fresh spuds to get straight in to the pot.

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About Helen Fisher

About Helen Fisher

Helen seeks to explore ways to live with greater joy & sustainability for both ourselves & the planet. Concepts which have led to the launch of her second business We Are Carbon. As the producer of our videos, Helen brings a unique perspective & injects life to our education ensuring it is both a pleasure to watch & easy to follow & learn from. Learn More About Helen & The English Woodworker.


  1. Barry

    Ah! the joys of Lincolnshire soil!

    • Helen

      Ha! Almost good enough to eat!

  2. Ken

    As long as you have something to achieve, you have something to go for. What do we do when and if we have nothing.

    If the spuds are in the pot, what time is dinner. 😉

    • Helen

      Thanks Ken, a great point.
      Sorry, the spuds are all gone!

  3. mike murray

    I knew it! we are a kindred spirits I’m sure. I enjoy similar interests and thoughts, gardening for sure being one. Somehow I just knew you and Richard are my kind of folks. Your website and similar passions make me smile, a lot! Bless you both. MIke

    • Helen

      Thanks Mike for your lovely words. Simple comes to mind; not simple folk, but able to appreciate simple things!

  4. Mark Jenkins

    Helen, thank you for straightening out a lot of confusing emotions and feelings I’ve had and stating them so simply and eloquently. Your a breath of fresh air.

    • Helen

      Thanks Mark, I’m really pleased it made sense and meant something to you, it’s good to know… sometimes I wander if I’m talking gibberish!

  5. Vidar Fagerjord Harboe

    “The twenty-second day of September in the year 1400 by Shire reckoning. Bag End, Bagshot Row, Hobbiton, West Farthing, The Shire, Middle Earth. The Third Age of this world. “There and back again, A Hobbit’s tale, by Bilbo Baggins”. Now, where to begin? Ah, yes. “Concerning Hobbits”. Hobbits have been living and farming in the four Farthings of the Shire for many hundreds of years. Quite content to ignore and be ignored by the world of the Big Folk. Middle Earth being, after all, full of strange creatures beyond count. Hobbits must seem of little importance, being neither renowned as great warriors, nor counted amongst the very wise. … In fact, it has been remarked by some that Hobbits’ only real passion is for food. A rather unfair observation as we have also developed a keen interest in the brewing of ales and the smoking of pipeweed. But where our hearts truly lie is in peace and quiet and good tilled earth. For all Hobbits share a love of all things that grow. And yes, no doubt to others, our ways seem quaint. But today of all days, it is brought home to me it is no bad thing to celebrate a simple life.”
    J.R.R. Tolkien

    I love that quote! It really put things in perspective for us. Especially today, experiencing a pandemic.


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