Rugged TreeI have overextended myself a bit in recent weeks. I had three big projects that are all due to come to a head at pretty much the same time.

My mistake was that for two of these projects I left the target date pretty much open. This seemed like a good idea at the time because then I could work on them as and when I had the chance. As with all things that aren’t extremely urgent I didn’t find as much time as I would have liked.

Time passed and as there was no deadline I had no urgency. This is not a good situation to be in.

I should have known better than this as I have experienced it over and over again when working for other people. Jobs are not important until someone starts to push for them. Then you start getting questioned about what you have been doing and why it isn’t ready yet…

Once you get to this stage then all of a sudden the job becomes very urgent if you want to keep the customer happy.

Lundy LambRecently I have been trying out a very restrictive diet to help Shirley test for possible food intolerances. It started off very hard as the choice of foods was extremely limited…

For two weeks we stuck to lamb or turkey with carrots, broccoli, parsnips, sweet potato, courgettes or cauliflower. Luckily fresh herbs were allowed so at least there was a bit of variation of flavour.

Rice was allowed in pretty much any form so Rice Krispies for breakfast with rice milk, rice cakes for lunch with a slice of turkey and so on. Sunflower oil and spreads allowed for some frying and with the addition of some rice flour even gave the option of some baking.

Along with this we were allowed only a few types of fruit, I stuck mainly to pineapple, peaches and bananas. Drinks were also restricted to camomile or redbush tea, no coffee or ordinary tea, water and fruit juice, but only from the fruits allowed so cranberry juice and the occasional pineapple juice.

Camping PodAfter my first glimpse of glamping the other week I realised how nice it is to be away from the computer & TV!

I wasn’t sure of what a camping pod would be like. The basic idea is that you take everything you normally take camping except the tent. Instead you are provided with a wooden pod, or the shed as my wife’s colleagues keep referring to it.

This is a fairly simple construction but it has lights and a heater as well as being well insulated. There is also a patio table and some chairs for the small decking area out front.

Shirley & I were lucky enough to get one of those experience gifts for Christmas and decided to use it for the night in the camping pod experience. We added a second night to make the most out of the stay on Dartmoor.

Yawning FoxOne of the things that I always aim to do is to be honest in my writings. I try not to exaggerate things to make myself sound better than I actually am and I make sure to portray my failings as well as my successes.

I think honesty is an important part of happiness. The more white lies that you have to employ to get you through the day, the more stress incurred, with the extra complication of trying to remember who you told what!

‘You can never get caught in a lie you never told.’

Now I am not suggesting that everyone should become saints overnight and never lie again. I just think that in general being up front about things as early as possible can make things easier for both sides.

OwlWhile on holiday last week I was trying to come up with some future posts for this blog. This got me to start thinking about the topics I cover. It is a bit of a vague area to say the least so I sat down and made a concious decision about the areas I should focus on.

This should help me come up with more focused content, which happens to be one of my goals for this year. Hopefully this should benefit my readership as well if the content is more consistent then it should be easier to make a decision whether or not to keep coming back. An added benefit is that this focus could help build a bit of a community…

Anyway first things first, what exactly am I going to focus my writing around? I do not want to go too specific as this is supposed to be somewhere to release my views and feelings about different things that affect me in the hope that I may help or inspire others along the way. On the other hand I cannot continue the way I am without some kind of restriction on what I write about.

Wookey HoleOne of the benefits of being your own boss is the extra freedom that you are rewarded with. If a friend calls me up, out of the blue, and asks what I am doing tomorrow the chances are I can rearrange my day to meet up if only for a short while.

When working the normal 9–5 I was even concerned about asking for time off to go to the doctors. I would never have dared to ask for a couple of hours off to visit a friend, who maybe only comes back this way once a year and is only in town for one afternoon, even if I could have easily made that time back up…

To make things even worse evenings used to feel so precious, as a time to unwind from a hard days work, that even if the friend offered to meet up that evening instead I would sometimes have to refuse. This feels like such a shame and I felt that slowly over the years I have lost contact with a few of my friends due to the lack of free time I had.

Wouldn’t it be so much better if your time was yours to control…

Water LilliesAnother Friday has arrived and I don’t have anything ready to post. There are a few drafts I have started but there are not ready for posting yet for one reason or another. This is starting to become a bit of a habit and some of my recent posts have felt a bit rushed because of this.

My plan is to jump back into writing the best content I can but I could do with some help. I need something to write about!

I have lots of little ideas in the back of my head but most of them are about my new lifestyle outside of the normal 9–5. As I have only been doing this for nearly three months I don’t feel I am ready to comment yet as I am still finding my feet. There are some other things that I want to write about but I need to do a little research first and I haven’t had time for anything like that yet.

Baby SwansYour path in life seems to be set down for you before you even start out. There are some simple choices you have to make along the way which affect the career you go into or where you end up living for example but for the majority of us the basic structure is pretty much set in stone:

  1. Go to school and then possibly on to university. You are told to make the most of your time at school as it is the most enjoyable part of your life.
  2. Obtain enough qualifications to start in the career of your choice. Depending on your chosen career path sometimes qualifications aren’t required.
  3. Start at some low level job. You might be able to jump ahead a few steps if you get good enough qualifications.
  4. Move up the career ladder. This will probably involve harder work and possibly longer hours but you will be rewarded with a little bit more money.
  5. Reach the highest level on the ladder you feel capable of. There will be a point where you have to decide whether or not the next step up may be too much, whether it be too stressfull, or simply not worth it for the extra money.
  6. Retire. Once you have been working for however many years you are supposed to retire and only then start enjoying life.

Is this truly the case? Looking back at the comments about school being the best time of your life suggests that there may not be so much enjoyment in the latter half of this list…

MumI thought it would be good to get together a few photos of my Mum, Cris, who unfortunately passed away 5 years ago, almost to the day. Sadly Mum didn’t like having her picture taken and so there are not that many photos of her, especially after my brother and I had grown up.

There are a few things I have been putting off subconsciously for a while now. However, I feel that looking back helps me deal with the grief. There were lots of boxes of Mum’s things in the garage and I have only recently started to go through them. In some of those boxes were some old photos which gave me the idea for this post. I am now able to look back with a smile on my face instead of tears in my eyes…

Mum meant the world to me. We were very close and we were always in contact even when I was on the other side of the world. Dealing with a loss like that is pretty tough and you come out the other side a slightly different person. I wrote a post a little while ago about some of the effects of grief and looking back I think this was when I realised that I was getting over the worst of it. I think that is why I am so determined to make the most of the time I have…

Taking PhotosI love photographs. I really enjoy taking photos, and I love looking through old photos that bring back so many memories. Now that probably isn’t very surprising since I mention my passion for photography a lot here on this blog.

Recently while looking at the mass of photos that need editing and the boxes of old photos and slides that I need to digitise I recently had pause for thought. Do I really need them all?

This got me thinking a bit more about what purpose these photos have. After a bit of thought I eventually arrived at the most important question. ‘Why do we keep photographs?’

This is a very interesting question and I have a feeling there may be more than one answer to it. Until I work out exactly what these photographs mean to me then things can get a bit confusing when it comes to editing. Which photos do I keep and which do I throw away? I end up being a bit indecisive and then spend time editing a lot of photos that are average at best. I feel this is a bit of a waste of time and I end up with a lot more photos than necessary and as an added insult the average quality of the photos is lower than it should be…