New Job

So. I said I would write about my new job, and so I will…

To be honest, I can’t really say too much about it. You know how it is – in the world of blogging there’s a fine line between being open, honest and personal, and being really personal. It’s a creative content writing job, so I’ll be working in e-commerce, internet marketing and the like. It’s an area I’ve always been interested in, and my freelance work has certainly been going in that direction in the past 18 months. So when I was offered the job, I felt quite strongly that it was a positive move in the right direction.

The company I’m going to work for are much, much more local than Northampton. My commute into work should take me around 25 minutes – so petrol costs will be lower. Great for me, great for the environment. Travelling to and from Northampton (a 60-mile round trip) even just 4 days a week didn’t sit well with me at all. I haven’t met all my new colleagues yet but the vibe I get is good; relaxed, informal but energetic and professional. I think it’s a good balance.

I’m also going down to a three-day week, working in the office Mondays to Wednesdays, which means I’ll be able to allot more time to freelance work when I’m not working there. What I hope it will mean is that I’ll be able to commit to going after the kind of freelance work I dream of – writing articles, features, columns, maybe some involvement in tv , tv production or digital production. I don’t know if the way I write or what I do is particularly creative, intelligent or thought-provoking, but I just know that generally, it makes me happy. And it makes me even happier when I get positive feedback about it, or change perceptions and encourage people.

What I’ve realised over the past two or three years is that I REALLY want to get people into their gardens, encouraging, supporting and living alongside wildlife, growing their own food, help people tune into nature a bit more and just really respect what we have, and realise what we could lose. I want people to turn their back on intensive food production and find ways to fit a bit of the good life into our rushed, gadget-filled, busy modern lives. Because I know that there is space to do it. And I know that for me, and many others, it’s all part of a healthy lifestyle. That’s partly why I blog. To try and raise awareness, find that happy medium between what we now describe as ‘modern living’ and full-blown self-sufficiency, to learn from other people, and to pass on what I’m learning and experiencing.

I don’t know if I’ll always feel like this. But right now I think that my new job, which I will start on the 1st March, is a great way to support myself whilst I try and make my mark on the world. I’m not a huge fan of working in offices but I’m feeling positive about this move. When I was a teenager I swore blind that I would never be a ‘desk jockey’. I’d never be one of those people that lived for the weekends. And for a while, I was. But then on the flip-side, freelancing full-time is by no means stress-free or stable. So the stability from this creative job, and being part of a creative team, is a positive change for me. It’s a good middle ground. I’m hoping it’s going to work out well. Time will tell.

My new job is also good news for my Smallest Smallholding. I’m going to be able to dedicate more time to it. Which means I’m going to be able to learn new techniques, grow more food, encourage more wildlife, and write more about it. I’m excited by that prospect. So let’s see how this year unfolds. Are you ready?

Weight: 11stones 2lbs (whoop)

An explosion of August-ness

I have to say, summer is not my favourite time of year. Yes, there’s colour and sunshine and spectacular thunderstorms, but somehow it’s all a bit green and mad. I think, what it comes down to, is that in summer, I feel grumpy that I can’t be outside when I want to (for now, work, and I’m rubbish in the heat), and, more to the point, it’s at this time of year that I feel everything has completely overtaken me and I just can’t keep up.

The Smallest Smallholding in August is a riot. Bindweed, thistles, rampant brambles (which are currently producing big fat juicy crops of berries, so they’re not ALL bad), grass, grass and more grass are all growing, exploding or tangling around my years. Weeds have taken over the borders, the veg plots are doing well but looking nothing short of chaotic, and I just tend to close my eyes and pretend it’s not happening.

Of course I love the busy-ness of the bees hard at work, ladybirds beetling around, the haphazard blurs as butterflies follow an erratic flight path from buddleia to buddleia. Blackbirds hopping across the fence, hidden finches tinkling in the trees and rotund woodpigeons ambling around the lawn.

But the simple fact is that at this time of year, I feel like I can’t cope with this much space. Not with work. Actually,  not even when I was freelancing. I haven’t found a way to make it work when I’m so pressed for time, and with less inclination than I’ve had in the past.

To be honest, it just makes me feel more and more like I’m slipping away from my quest for the Good Life. I find myself thinking, ‘if I really wanted it, I’d be working harder’. Of course, I love the idea of it, but in practice, am I made for it? Can I really do it? I don’t know.

I’ve decided to hand over the responsibility of the allotment to Mum. I just don’t have the time to be down there, and feeling responsible for it all the time (even though it was always our allotment) has left me feeling like I’ve got this medium-sized albatross hanging around my neck. It was different when I took it on; I was freelancing, the recession wasn’t really here so work was fairly abundant and I didn’t know that little over a year later I’d be back in full-time work.

I just wonder how I’ll feel in a few months’ time when the evenings draw in, and I wake in the dark and make my homeward-bound journey in the dark too. I wonder how much I’ll be craving sitting outside with the countless fat bumble bees, butterflies, wishing I was weeding away. I’ll have forgotten about pesky wasps, annoying flies and headaches from being too hot, being woken up at stupid o’clock because that’s just when sunrise is, and the relentless screaming of overexcited children during the summer holidays.

What I’m really looking forward to is Autumn. I think Autumn is my favourite season; when you get that very, very slight chill on the air, but the sun is still fairly warm and golden in the evenings. My favourite curcubits and root vegetables come into season in Autumn, it’s when I can revel in glorious soups and stews, stodgy crumbles and custard. Then there’s the frosty mornings, the riot of colour as the leaves turn, collecting firewood in anticipation of evenings spent infront of a crackling fire. The feeling that the rush and business of summer is over, and that it’s time to sit back and relax a little, and join the birds and mice in foraging, and stuffing your face in preparation for winter.