I've been nagged by a few folks who have noticed that there has been very little in the way of updates about progress on our new life for a while. I guess that’s partly because after a couple of years a “new life” has simply become a “life” albeit a very different one to the one we were living before we moved up here.
As things are now taking off for me professionally I need to walk a fine line between giving a “warts & all” account of starting over and painting a saccharine vision of living in one of the most beautiful parts of England and earning a living doing what I love. There have been some tremendous highs and some extraordinary lows, so let’s start with the bad stuff first so we can end on a high.
One of the biggest challenges over the past couple of years has been building a network of friends and business contacts. During the first year in particular I felt incredibly isolated and lonely on occasion and during those periods I relied on my wonderful network of virtual friends to get me through. I also got off my backside and joined clubs, groups and social gatherings; basically anyone who would have me!
There were some false starts and some groups were definitely more welcoming than others, but I now have a lovely group of new friends up here which is growing all the time. What I learned from the experience is that most folks are just as worried about new encounters as you are and a smile goes a long way to breaking the ice. I also learned not to stress over the less welcoming groups, if I don’t happen to be someone’s cup of tea for whatever reason then so be it; smile and move on.
Financially things remain frugal but work is now picking up at such a rate that I can’t see it remaining that way for long now – there’s finally a light at the end of the tunnel and I’m pretty sure it’s not the headlights of an approaching train. Luckily I’m not someone with expensive tastes and a glass of wine and a good book are still my idea of a great night in, though a few more nights out would be rather nice.
The plans for work on the house are currently on hold on account of the fact the builder’s quote is double what the architect said it would be, but we still have some cash set aside so maybe we’ll do it a bit at a time and learn how to do some of it ourselves; getting my hands on a large lump hammer and knocking chunks out of a wall does hold a certain appeal…
On the positive side the writing work is now starting to come in nicely with several really interesting (and more importantly profitable) writing commissions in place over the next couple of months. We’re also in the exciting but very early stages of launching our own outdoors product, I don’t want to say too much just yet but obviously, as it’s me, we’re trying to do something a little bit different. The test runs have surpassed our expectations and the feedback from everyone involved is glowing. We are lucky enough to be receiving the most amazing support from a wide variety of professionals and hope to be in a position to launch something around mid October so, as they say, “watch this space”. (Seriously, watch this exact space; we’ll be making all our launch announcements on this blog.)
And that’s about it really, no major dramas, well there was the incident involving a pair of children’s undies finding their way down the toilet and blocking our drains to the extent that the basement walls began to ooze raw sewage, but other than that it’s been a pretty quiet week.