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All But The Hardiest - Sunday 25/07/10

After a lazy morning, went to Emma's mums for Sunday lunch. Stuffed myself and promptly curled up on the sofa for a snooze. Didn't last long...ended up watching Oliver Twist with Fran. Feeling pretty crap after catching one of those deadly strains of cold. The type that would fell all but the hardiest of individuals. Lucky I'm such a hero!
I maintain its Emma's fault. I'm a hot sleeper that wears the minimum in bed and normally starts the night with the bedding half on and half off. Now SHE insists I sleep to her right and because of the end of the bed she's chosen, for our heads this means i must sleep by the window.1)  This is most incredibly inconvenient. It means i have to clamber over her in the morning as i am normally the first up and 2) it means the cold air from the window is funnelled onto me through out the night. Due to my state of undress, this has resulted in a fatal cold.
Things are gunna change around here...!


Couldn't Bag A Pigeon - Saturday 24/07/10

My new Edgar brothers MOD 60  .177 Air rifle vs my old Beeman
Got my new rifle! Wow is it a beast. Spent the day zeroing and letting it all settle in. Parked in Asda car park in Gloucester, so whilst i went to pick it up, Em and Fran went for a mooch and resupply. Joined them inside and went for a coffee and a cake.
We've been cramming in the modern conveniences recently such as McDonalds, KFC, and loads of TV and computer! 8:30pm went out with the air rifle to see if i couldn't bag a pigeon in the church yard over the road. Turns out i couldn't. Wasn't disappointed though. I love wandering the fields as quietly as possible. In hunter mode, your eyes are everywhere, so for once, you notice all thats around you. You hear the different bird calls, notice the bats darting over your head. Am very eager to do more of that and am very excited to think of all the countryside that will be at my disposal in this new life of ours.


It Started With The Washing Up... Friday 23/07/10

Made the decision to try and spend the day in a constructive fashion. So it started with the washing up and ended with a trip to Attwoolls...
Bought £160 of mostly useful and essential stuff i.e new 110ah leisure battery, wellies, compass, rain suit for Fran. Plus some eccentric things like an Aussie leather bush hat - sexy!
The latter part of the day was filled with a visit from my buddy Luke and piss arsing about with my air rifle which lead to discovering the culprit behind its recent inaccuracy - a wobbly barrel. Unfortunately being a cheapy £50 job a fair few years ago. The offending part was sealed and unable to be adjusted. Guess what i'm doing tomorrow...


Packing In The TV - Thursday 22/07/10

Had a pretty relaxed day, bar the afternoon.
Morning was spent in blissful distraction finding little unimportant things to do in order to avoid the washing up.
Took Emma along with Fran to her friend Jaynes in South Cerney. Watched ALOT of TV...Packing it in while i still can!
On the way back i dropped off Em and Fran in town to nip back and collect the money for the Land Rover. After handing pretty much all of it over to Emma for my share of the Monterey, I paid the rest into my heavily overdrawn account.
Luckily we ate cheaply that night having been invited for a meal down at my parents neighbours.
Whilst down there Fran, and subsequently Anne, Em and David ended up playing all sorts of instruments ranging from the recorder, piccolo, clarinet, tenor and some rather wonderful stringed instrument whose name escapes me.
Looks rather like a foot.....

All in all a good day.

M Jones

Shedding Of Worthless Junk - Wednesday 21/07/10

Am pretty annoyed with myself for not being more disciplined and writing more often. My excuse should be i've been really busy, but this just isn't true. The busyness has been more sporadic.
There was the whole moving and ruthless shedding of worthless junk, including some important stuff, like my land rovers v5 registration document :-(
Have now sold that damn discovery for £800 so lost £200. Buyer insisted on having it MOT'd. Cheeky bastard did his best to get me to pay for it too!
Today was snugglemunches last at her current school, which now frees her up, finally.

E-Coli - Wednesday 30/06/10

Stayed Monday and headed home :-(
Stopped off at the services for a burger and coffee, a good slap of what we want to leave!
Forced back into the services a of junctions later, as the food left me battling my eyelids. Not only did i have a snooze, but so did Em and Fran. Sadly all we've done thats positive is head over to the caravan on Tuesday to stock it with dried stuff. Em & Fran were off until the doctor could rule out this e-coli. Emma's Mum managed to pick it up on holiday with Fran . Means our forced march to Farnborough could be cancelled due to Emma's sister Nicola being paranoid of infection.
Hope her paranoia lasts as I can't be arsed.
Otherwise it's back to the drudgery of mainstream life...BORING. Am tired but I think not from exercise but just wanting the day to end. Would probably feel better if i were sleeping in the garden. Going to read my Primitive Living book as bedtime research.

M Jones

The Fabled Tipi Valley - Sunday 27/06/10

Friday was busy-ish, got the tracking and wheel alignment done on the new 4x4. Just as well too as we decided that we would go ahead and venture off to Wales in search of Tipi Valley.
We packed the necessary equipment in case we didn't find it as it is notoriously off the beaten track.
We got most of the way there before my phone battery died and I just drove on navigating with a combination of instinct and memory.
We found a spot that felt bloody close to Tipi Valley and at around 10 o'clock pitched a tent and bedded down.
I awoke around 5am Saturday morning and had a scout around. All the signs were there. A row of vans and converted campers, cars with maps chargers etc, evidence of traditional crafts and woodworking.
Found some wood and got a fire going, for breakfast we had rice...quite a good porridge equivalent!
Filled our water bottles at an eerily deserted farmhouse save for the cat who had met us the previous night and guided us to our camping spot. Transpired the occupants were at Glastonbury!
By following the track we then knocked on the last farmhouse on the track where the owner informed us we were in the right place, here was the fabled Tipi valley!
Back to the car to gather our stuff and off to the 'Big Lodge'.
We were greeted by Henry, a young chap with dreadlocks who put on a brew and answered our endless stream of questions and listened to our story. He introduced us to Lola and her three children. She in turn invited us to join the whole (or rather the remainder) of the community who were off to the village fair. On the walk down we picked a 12 foot bramble for the competition of who could find the longest bramble...
I joined the Valley men in a football tournament and seriously paid the price. Ouch! Cramp set in quickly due to the heat.
After Carol the Drunk was evicted we had the Big Lodge to ourselves for the duration of our stay.
Another 5am start for me on the Sunday. For me, in this lifestyle, it seems right to start the day when the sunrises, and turn in when it sets.
Frances got to ride two of the three horses with Jaz, I'll probably be heading down to the yurt of my team mate and fellow brewing enthusiast, Dan, to sample some of his much lauded Elderflower wine.
Another hot day so should be most refreshing, undecided as to whether we'll go back home this evening...

M Jones

Sunglasses And A Balaclava - Thursday 24/06/10

Feels as though the dream is fading. Feel bogged down by the grinding routine of this 'modern' living. Alot of my thinking time today has been devoted to how i can also disappear from the radar. To the extent of wearing sunglasses and a balaclava in and around towns and cities. Bit of a paradox considering that by hiding your identity you then become more visible. Granted, no one knows who you are, but conversely, i doubt it would take long before Big Brother would want to find out... Muslim women get away with it, hmmm theres and idea...naaahh....
Our man in Wales called to cancel this weekends visit. Pretty huge blow as i was relying on it to regain focus and perspective. A reminder of what is waiting at the other end... Just have to try and find a way to use the weekend to do something constructive. Something to bring the dream that one step closer. The trouble is, with the way my tired mind and body is, all i want to do is wallow in this misery.
Nice weather today though....

M Jones

Ze Germans - Wednesday 23/06/10

My parents father. Right i'm tired. Not done much though. My dad picked up Emma and Fran in the morning which left me free, and bored, having to stay housebound to wait for some estate agent to inspect the house. The very same agent who didn't bother to turn up. So now i have another day of lonely idleness to look forward to.
Disco Stu's cylinder was warped! had obviously been allowed to overheat in the past to such an extent that not only did the temperature deform solid metal but also melted a sensor and knackered the heat plugs. Still, i've been assured the whole lot will amount to no more than £400 so have relisted him on eBay at £1294. I hope i can make another £300 as i did on the Galant but if someone offers a grand i'll cut my losses and take it.
Watched England scrape a 1-0 victory against Slovenia. Bad news is it means we face ze Germans this Sunday. We're buggered in my opinion.
Watched a program called 'Erasing David' all about the information collected on us by corporations and the government. Scary shit man. He was a pillock though. He went 'on the run' from two private eyes he'd hired to track him down. His aim was to last 30 days... he lasted 18 after his wife called him and made him attend a baby scans which the P.Is knew about through some sneaky tactics. Typical. Brought down by a woman. So many great men have fallen that way. If the Creationists are to be believed the first was Adam... Samson's up there too, along with Greek and Roman heroes. Poor Bastards.

M Jones

Disco Stu - Tuesday 22/06/10

Disco Stu, for that is his name, is very poorly. So poorly in fact, i've replaced him. Instead, with the kind help of the mother in law, we have a Vauxhall Monterey aka Isuzu Trooper.
Disco Stu had a Pre-MOT which he passed, however, he has a indeed blown a head gasket. The cylinder head has been sent off to be inspected for cracks. Poor Stu.

The Monterey had a most interesting owner. An 80 year old gentleman, who certainly knew his stuff, and whose business was selling law books on eBay. His wife loved our daughter and whilst the women chatted, i was led to the bottom of his house to a porta cabin wherein was stored an extraordinary record of British legal heritage. Handwritten and bound in leather, were many many volumes recounting writs of the king as far back as 1475! He had in fact purchased the collection from Earl Spencer,m Princess Diana's brother, keen to flog the families treasures, apparently to "Live it up with some crumpet in Wales..." . Interesting.

M Jones

Blown A Gasket - Saturday 19/06/10

Landy water pump came. Of course i was in the bath, and yes on my own as Emma and Fran had nipped out to the shops. Bloody typical.
My Dad came over with some anti freeze and coolant and to look at the engine and advise me not to bother doing it myself...
Kinda followed his advice. I took it to a mate. Unfortunately, and as i suspected. It wasn't the water pump. We drained, flushed, and refilled the coolant system, but still something was wrong. The landy didn't overheat, but the coolant was overflowing and becoming pressurized over the prescribed 15 psi.
A neighbour quickly diagnosed the problem. I've been sold a land rover with a blown head gasket. Bummer.
Anyhoo. Being as i got it so cheap (and its now clear why) i can afford to get it repaired. Gunna do some serious bargaining come Monday. My dad is picking us up tomorrow for a roast dinner. Yum Yum.

M Jones

Friday (At Last) 18/06/10

A sale. A purchase.
After attending my daughters "work of the week" assembly. I took the opportunity to call on our friends Andy and Bridget, with an ulterior motive... Aside from a hot brew, i desired the use of a pressure washer and a hoover. They kindly obliged and i cleaned my Mitsubishi Galant inside and out in preparation for the eBayer who would be purchasing it.
Really nice chap came, seemed pretty genuine, paid the agreed £600 in cash & left.
I then took that cash and bought the Land Rover Discovery an hour later. Need to get the water pump replaced but will attempt that myself if the part arrives in the post. Should save me £50-£100!
All in all a pretty good day.
Lets see what tomorrow brings.

M Jones

Slumming It - Thursday 17/06/10

Not much to report today really. Did the usual taxiing then came home and watched 'Slumming it' with Kevin McCloud. Interesting stuff.
Intended to clean the car inside and out at my parents. Decided to do it tomorrow as Uncle Ken arrived two minutes after we did (Fran & I).
Watched France vs Mexico world cup game - Wanted Mexico to win. Have always liked them after watching i think the '94 world cup when Campos played for them. He was so entertaining. A striker who could also go in goal. He was a brilliant little guy... Anyhoo they won 2:0 (Mexico)

M Jones

Siesta Syndrome - Wednesday 16/06/10

Bit of a rough day. Only due to a tiff with Emma. Started out ok, dropped Frances, my daughter, at school, Emma at work.
Came back, had a shave with my new cut throat razor. Only the 2nd time i've used it and not a nick yet! Then a soak in the tub. By the time i'd cleaned out my ears it was getting on for 10/10:30am. Hopped out, packaged up some PC games i'd sold then off to Post Office and over to my parents to return their laptop from being fixed by Emma's colleague. Also took over a digital photo frame about 6 months after i bought it for them. God i'm crap sometimes.
Had a bite and a chat then off to pick Emma up so she could grab some lunch at home.
I was then overwhelmed with siesta syndrome and succumbed by napping on the sofa whilst Em had a sarnie. Must've given the impression thats all i currently do all day!
Tiff started over glass and plastic. I know. Out of context its ridiculous, even in context its stupid.
Emma said we could keep our water in glass demi johns whereas my idea was to use one of my plastic brewing barrels with a tap and is 5 times the size. My argument was based on weight, hers on something her mother had said about plastic leeching chemicals. I was also talking broadly due to the legal restrictions on towing and 'train weight'.
Anyhoo. Without a word of thanks from Emma for our midday rendezvous and taxiing, i decided she could walk home. Weather was fantastic plus it'd free me up to actually get something useful done.
After picking up Frances from school I finally got round to sorting through and emptying my wardrobe.
4 bin bags worth! Might try and sell at car boot this weekend but they're most likely headed for the charity shop.

Luke came up for a chat and to chill. Always a pleasure.
Can't wait to do something else tomorrow that can summon my dream forward into reality. Even if it is just by one small step.

M Jones

Discovery - Tuesday 15/06/10

Boy am i pooped! Been a hectic few days. Am doing my best not to let days go past unrecorded but it seems i need to be a bit more disciplined.
Handed my notice in Friday, with no intention of serving the one week required. I did warn the boss i would contract a "mysterious and intense" 4 day long illness that might dent my attendance record. The message obviously wasn't communicated judging by the phone call today from my rather annoyed supervisor. I did consider going in but soon thought better of it when i realised my core motive for doing so would be money, NO. I refuse to sell out to the system.
When I handed my notice in i'd calculated that the days I'd worked plus the holiday accrued was enough to fund my direct debits which i shall soon be cancelling.
To have gone in and suffered because of greed for gold would have been negating the point of this entire exercise.
That said, i am prepared that should the shit hit the fan and the money raised from the sale of our belongings not be, I would work a short period. But that scenario is exceedingly unlikely if we stick to the plan...

Saturday was supposed to be spent preparing for the car boot sale Sunday. Instead we bought a caravan i'd seen with a FOR SALE sign and £200 pegged to a curtain. The owner randomly, and very kindly lowered the price to £150 and we were in for one hell of a bargain!
4 berth, good condition, WITH awning and poles!
Home - For the foreseeable future...
Turns out it was her late fathers, but get this, when i mentioned to her brother i was after a 4x4 he gestured over his shoulder to a rough and ready looking Land Rover Discovery! He initially said he wanted £800/£750 for it but admitted it needed a new water pump. I text later on the Monday and lied i'd only been offered £500 for my car so could he meet me at £600, he agreed!
Got £600 for my Galant on eBay and better still, found a water pump for a Discovery for £15! The gods appear to be on my side (at present)

Now whilst the sale of my car has gone pretty smoothly so far (being paid for and picked up Friday i hope) Emma's car has been a different story... hopefully it'll sell for £250 a snip considering we paid £750 barely a year ago for it!

The car boot sale went okay i suppose. Overslept which didn't help but got rid of perhaps half the stuff we took and made £32 profit, promptly swallowed at the petrol pump along with £19 more of my meaningless currency. Took all the unsold stuff to the charity shop....

Anyhoo. Solar panels arrived today from Maplin god bless em. £199.99 60watts. Just need a proper battery for it Also need to work out how the electrics go together in the caravan. I have a hunch i know where the switch is...

M Jones

Deeper Pockets - Thursday 10/06/10

Went to work. Bloody tough day. Also finding it really hard to keep focussed. I JUST WANT TO QUIT AND GET ON WITH THINGS!!!!!
Spoke to Parents who seem really quite supportive, which i definitely did not expect. They advised us to buy a caravan rather than a camper van. Bid on one on eBay for £200 with awning, trouble is it had a buy it now of £350 which we wanted to do, but now that option has now disappeared, so either we save £150 or we lose it to someone with deeper pockets.
Emma's Mum is now on board and she says her Nan is willing to help financially. Have a fair few concerns. Lots of thoughts flying around right now, doubt i'll sleep well.

NOT looking forward to being pissed about at work tomorrow. Hate my job now. Stops me doing what i need to do to get on with my life.

M Jones

WOW! - Saturday 05/06/10 - Wednesday 09/06/10


What an adventure! Went to Lammas as planned, had a great day. Left, car broke down! Retreated to a petrol station we'd passed (car would start, appear to be fine, then die) filled up in case of dodgy fuel, then tried again. Same thing at exactly the same place which happened to be the sign reading "Welcome to Carmarthenshire". Check engine light would flash then engine would lose power and die. Decided to return to Lammas as a point of reference for the RAC, plus we wouldn't be on our own.
Ended up staying with a fantastic family for the best part of three days and have now decided to live there with them!
I cannot describe the feeling we've been left with. A calling. My soul has awakened. My energy is channelled. At Lammas we'll be growing our food and building a house...first steps are to fix car, sell/swap for camper/caravan. Sell our crap. Easy!
Just have to slug out our jobs for another month or two.
Now i have the system by the balls and not the other way around.

M Jones

Paul W running us through his build and explaining the planning battle
The Mill Pond
Simon D playing the air trumpet... only joking.
Nigel and Cassies reciprocal roof.
View across the valley from Simon D's plot
Morning at Lammas, Tir-Y-Gafel
Mill pond in the morning at Lammas, Tir-Y-Gafel
A peek inside Simon D and Jasmin's House
The Slug Refuge...

Employment Is Unnatural.... Friday 04/06/10

Just another day at the Office...

Got up as required, got carried away checking the bank balance, was late leaving by 15 minutes.
Was hardly worth rushing as we only got pissed around anyway. I hate work. Its not because I'm workshy, i assure you. Employment is ridiculous and unnatural.
Think about it. Instead of spending the day doing things essential to our living and survival, we spend at least 8 hours a day, 5 days a week doing the same task over and over. So rather than doing many varied tasks and activities, we sell our souls and time for gold to pay someone else for something you could have made/done yourself and perpetuate the cycle.
Is it any wonder depression is so common? Unfortunately if everyone had my desire to not earn and work to live, the Government would have a severe income problem!

Wanted to sod off and go camping, but had loads of cleaning and washing up to do. Didn't finish the chores til gone 7pm. Settled for making a fire in the garden, and falling asleep by it. Got pretty cold so jacked it in.

Off to Wales tomorrow to visit the Lammas Project. An Eco village/ Smallholding jobby. Should be interesting, might get to go camping in time for the weather to turn shit....

Will let ya know.

Living The Dream - Thursday 03/06/10

Actually made it into work today, and quickly wished i hadn't. Recently management had a cost cutting brainwave, take vehicles off the road, make the staff work longer and harder. All under the guise of cutting fuel usage and CO2 emissions.
I work on recycling collection. You'd be forgiven for thinking we used electric-hybrid trucks, or at least bio-diesel. Nooo. These clapped out trucks are nearly 10 years old and 'hand me downs' from other contracts. They do 8 miles to the gallon... and still management are happy to send such a gas guzzler 10 miles or more to collect ONE box because one lazy bastard didn't put it out early enough and had the gall to complain to the council. Rather than say "tough titties" Veolia (the recycling contractor) will still send a massive kerbsider for it as a missed box incurs a £40 penalty, so they say...

We get paid for ten hours regardless of whether we finish after 6 or 8 hours and then go home. But they have understandably decided to get their moneys worth by increasing the size of the rounds to 1200 plus properties. So in sweltering conditions, we loaded 8 tonnes of crap bound for china for 10 hours 6am - 4:30pm.

Got home with a strained back muscle, a sunburnt neck and face as well as severe dehydration...

Had a bath then tea, now its bedtime. oh and had to pick Emma's dad up up, bring him over, then run him back. I'm shagged out, and now raring to do it all again.

Just living the dream...fuck that...

M Jones

Duvet Day - Wednesday 02/06/10

A famous Diarist by the name Pepys once wrote "a day unrecorded is a day wasted". I do agree to an extent, but i also think he was pretty biased towards his fact recording hobby. If it wasn't for Pliny the erm..Younger? Elder? one of them anyhow, the eruption of pompeii would remain that much more mysterious.
I have resolved henceforth to record my days activities. For posterity, for wealth (i think not), for fun, we'll see.

I am a 24 year old, currently employed with a partner and child. There are a fair few of us out there, thankfully, not all like me.

So. This morning, i overslept. Despite only being ten minutes after the time i should've arrived, i took a day for the queen, otherwise known as a duvet day... although there wasn't much duvet today. Took Emma, my partner, to work, then went about researching the recipe for nettle beer, and proceeded to pick 100 nettle tops. Why? Because i'm currently reading The Tree House Diaries
by Nick Weston and have taken it upon myself to test the recipes he describes.

Nettle beer
  • 100 nettle tops (with leaves 4-6)
  • 12 litres (2 ½ gallons)
  • 1 ½ kg (3lb) sugar
  • 50g cream of tartar
  • 15g brewers or beer yeast

After my foraging i returned home to realise i was without Cream of Tartar. The whole 50g of it that was required. So off i went to town. The problem is i'm a great believer when it comes to burning my black gold aka fuel/oil in always getting more than one job done, so soon i had a long list. Chuck in some impulse buys like a wind up torch/charger, sixteen AAA batteries, a large stock pot, and by god you've just spent nigh on eighty pounds!

To make myself feel better for the expenses and todays loss of earnings, I've listed my 'as new' SAT Nav on eBay. Lets hope it does well!

My mate Luke popped up to kill time and help me scout a good campsite for this weekend. In the end we collected the women and made an evening of it by ordering pizza. The highlight also being my opportunistic shooting of a jackdaw perching on our aerial, sadly i only winged it. Before i could despatch it as quickly and humanely as possible, Bill, the nextdoor neighbours cat nicked it and finished it off somewhere in the bushes. Bugger me did the rooks and other jackdaws go NUTS! Was like a scene for 'The Birds'.

Knackered now and best not lose any more of next months paycheck!

M Jones