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Poor In Money, Rich In Life - Wednesday 15/12/10

An early-ish start being that Emma had an appointment with the midwife. An appointment she had in fact lost sleep over and was abjectly dreading. They wanted her blood. Four vials of it. My presence was required, about this there obviously could be no argument. Frances would be left in the company of strangers and charged with amusing herself. such was Emma's fear, she was quite at ease with this neglect.
To distract Emma, and also deter my own boredom, I regaled the midwife with my artichoke fiasco. It would appear people find my horticultural ignorance frightfully amusing. Or just frightful.
Back home I raked the beds until Beth, another volunteer, dropped by to say farewell and give Justin a lift on his Christmas visit home. She won't be returning choosing instead to head to mid-Wales come the New Year in her converted post van.
A few hours later Kit arrived back, with his step father John and some miscellaneous items and luxuries. Some of these luxuries were devoured that evening in a spaghetti carbanara we shared.
On and off I've been reading The Complete Book of Self Sufficiency by John Seymour. In his introduction, it is clear we share the same views. He says "...Man was not meant to be a one job animal. We do not thrive as parts of a machine. We are intended by nature to be diverse, to do diverse things, to have many skills." I couldn't agree more with the words "Self sufficiency does not mean 'going back' to the acceptance of a lower standard of living. On the contrary, it is striving for a higher standard of living, for food which is fresh and organically grown and good, for the good life in pleasant surroundings, for the health of body and peace of mind which come with hard varied work in the open air, and for the satisfaction that comes from doing difficult and intricate jobs well and successfully". With this in mind, I recall an article I read in The Guardian newspaper only a day or two before, in which it stated that a household that earns less than £16000 per annum is considered in this country to be poor.
We are not earning anywhere near £16000. I personally never have done. But never before have I considered myself poor. I have never gone hungry. Never have I or my little family been cold and powerless to remedy it.
This remains to be true, and yet now we earn nothing, subsidised as we are to the tune of £40 odd a week. By the standards set by others, we are currently amongst the poorest people in the country today. Yes, this entry is being written by paraffin lantern because I'd like to save our solar energy for another time/appliance.
To the outsider this could be seen as a mark of our poverty.
But the real truth is we've never had it so good. We generally buy local organic meat and vegetables, (lamb that's grazed on the wild windswept sides of the Presellis should be organic...) we sleep until we wish to rise. I work until I am tired/bored, whichever comes sooner. I certainly never work if I don't feel upto it.
Admittedly the latter is rare as to date I haven't suffered an illness or accident that has rendered me incapable.
We live in a beautiful valley near the sea, in a part of Wales people pay to visit and often travel great distances to do so.
Poor in money, rich in life. I couldn't be happier.
If I may I would like to quote John Seymour once more, this time from the foreword of his brilliant book.
"There are very few processes in this book that I have not performed myself; albeit, perhaps, some of them ineptly. Does this make me a jack-of-all-trades and master of none? Well I'd rather be that than a person who can only do one thing. To me that would be Hell. I have embarked on many an enterprise without the faintest idea of how to do it - but I have always ended up with the thing done and with a great deal more knowledge than when I started". That quote is both a view i share, and an accurate description of my current lifestyle.
Tomorrow, brick laying!

M Jones

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