Monday, 8 January 2018

Rural life hacks

So here we are. A week into the New Year, time of resolutions and making changes and starting afresh and all that. Personally, with two small kids, a ruck of animals and vegetables to look after not to mention a job and a major project in the offing I can’t be bothered with all that bollocks anymore. No. Quite frankly now I’ve hit forty I’m more concerned about making life easier for myself rather than imposing any more constraints that make it even harder. Which is why I have come up with these five rural life hacks. All intended to streamline our lives and make us happier and just a little less knackered in 2018.

1.        The Phantom Pig Diet
We really do miss our pigs dearly. Not in any kind of sentimental, emotional type of a way. No, more in the ‘Jasysus – do we really produce this much food waste every day?!’ kind of a way. Since we ate Chanel and Gucci and no longer have our porcine waste disposal units we’ve become acutely aware of what we now have to throw away. And the bloody dog is no use. Despite being half Labrador, he is the pickiest canine known to Man. He will very delicately nose his way around any rogue pieces of pasta or potatoes in his bowl to nibble his dog kibble, leaving anything else to one side. Which is why we have now given up cooking for ourselves and instead wait and watch the kids eat, salivating like a pair of famished wolves, before pouncing and gobbling up all their leftovers. It’s a win-win-win: save time and effort, reduce waste, lose weight (especially when they don’t leave anything at all).

2.       Sunshine therapy
Who needs a membership to the local health spa or a holiday to some winter sun destination when you have a polytunnel?! When the sun comes out you can bask in there to your heart’s content, safe in the knowledge that with the doors shut, and a few choice digging tools made available, the kids are going nowhere so you can relaaaax. Hell, sometimes it gets so warm in there you can even take your woolly hat off! Vit D for free. Nice.

Who needs a sauna?
 3.       Fire cleansing
Nothing like a massive burn up to start the year. All the leftover boxes and wrapping paper and broken deckchairs and old toys and feed bags and…... the list goes on. You just hurl it all on and watch it all go up in smoke in a matter of minutes. No lugging stuff to the tip, or faffing about with eBay or onerous trips to the Post Office. I can’t tell you how cathartic and cleansing it feels. And just for good measure I throw a token bit of sage on at the end. To ward off the bad spirits and all that…

4.       Tree recycling
It may be a sign of how bloody freezing our house is but the two real Christmas trees we had this year barely shed a needle despite being up for over a month. Tim, the wise old woodman who gave them to us as a gesture for spending so much money with him this year on wood for the bell tent platforms (eeek), assures us that we can get at least two years’ worth out of these trees. Despite having been cut and not in soil or anything, apparently if you stick them back in the ground they will last. Cue a new reverse Christmas tradition. Taking the trees back to the woods and wishing them a nice year until we bring them back into the house. And hopefully saving myself a whole heap of hassle come next December.

The new reverse-Christmas ritual
5.       Friendships
It is so important to nurture your friendships and spend time with those nearest and dearest to you. Which is why we are enthusiastically inviting everyone we know to come and spend a ‘relaxing break’ in North Wales where they have the 'wonderful opportunity to make their mark on our great project'. In other words, they are handed a drill, some decking screws and a large saw and are roped into helping set up our bell tent platforms in a sort of ‘slave labour in return for food and a lot of drink’ arrangement. It’s working a treat, as it means we still have some semblance of a social life whilst not feeling overly stressed and guilty about not working every hour God sends on getting ready for our grand launch of The Forge in the spring.  

What are friends for?
So there you have it. My secret to a happy, healthy and productive 2018. Here’s hoping!

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