"We must achieve the character and acquire the skills to live much poorer than we do. We must waste less. We must do more for ourselves and for each other. It is either that or continue merely to think and talk about changes that we are inviting catastrophe to make. The great obstacle is simply this: the conviction that we cannot change because we are dependant on what is wrong. But that is the addict's excuse, and we know that it will not do."
—Wendell Berry

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

and todays big job is

House stumps.

Our greatest Nemesis, the previous owner who thought he was a "handyman", has caused us a lot of work (not to mention a LOT of money). It seems that the more we look, the more we find. Shoddy cement, dangerous electrics, clueless panelling, over enthusiastic floor sanding, some very inventive plumbing and now fake house stumps.
Today I was grubbing about under the house replacing house stumps that had been bodged up to look like the real thing. I examined a bit of wobbly floor a few months back and had cause to crawl under the house. What should have been a simple bit of maintenance quickly turned into a fairly major repair. In some cases I found the bricks had been stacked in place to look like a real stump until I actually touched them and realised they were not actually supporting the house at all. So, much bad language, pouring new bell plugs and then a few weeks later placing the new stumps in and filling them with concrete.

 A lot of work indeed but I know it is now solid for the rest of my life- the ones I have so far replaced anyway. There are a couple of the old wooden stumps I don't like the look of and will replace sometime in the future.

Monday, 16 June 2014


Back after an extended break.
I owe you all an apology and an explanation so here goes.
I could blame the wet season making it almost impossible to do anything that does not involve mud. I could say I was too busy with my money grubbing job. I could name any number of reasons for not posting recently but that would just be making excuses. In reality I have been in a rut, my work life has been very hard lately and in hindsight I realise I have been suffering from depression. My wife pointed it out and it suddenly became very clear.
To give some background- I work in a high security prison. I am a custodial correctional officer and for seven years now I have been working on the "coal face" in high security. It is hard to explain just how soul destroying this job can be, nor just how much this will change you as a person. As the saying goes, "I have seen shit you wouldn't believe".
I have seen hatred, violence, desperation and depravity on a scale I once did not believe could exist. I have seen blood, lots of blood. I have seen people do things to themselves and others because they simply don't care anymore, or perhaps never did, with a complete lack of empathy in any form. I have seen so much more. I have been attacked and injured, threatened and at times scared for my life.
Well eventually a job like this will get to you no matter how tough you think you are. It did and I slowly sank down into a deep depression because I simply did not know how to deal with it all.
It was my beautiful wife who brought me to my senses. She always does and please believe me when I say that I could not live without her in my life.
In any case I am feeling much better. I have *finally* managed to get some holiday time from work and I am thoroughly enjoying myself. Work by which I mean real work, on something important, (not just labouring to make someone else wealthy) is good for both the body and soul. My muscles hurt, my back is twinging and I have dirt under my nails. I couldn't be happier!