Wednesday, 20 November 2013

How places can define people....

I hadn't previously realised how much the place in which you live can so significantly alter your habits and redefine your lifestyle.

Perhaps the stronger connection with our home is partly due to the time we spent gutting and refurbishing it before we moved in, and also the recent major project to develop the extended gardens, and so we feel that we know the building and gardens intimately....

And although I've always had an interest in making, mending, recycling and growing etc, it wasn't until we moved to our current home that such opportunities actually became possible on a scale which can impact on our way of life.  I use the word 'recycling' here in a broader engineering sense, i.e. the re-use of old materials and items that are unwanted or are no longer serviceable for their original function, but which can be modified to serve a different requirement.

As I've said before, we now live in a semi-rural location on the edge of farmland, with only a few near neighbours.  It's generally remote and quiet, and we can basically do whatever we want without fear of disturbing anyone else, hence the experiments with wind turbines, solar panels and perhaps a future combined heat & power (CHP) plant.  And now we have our additional garden land, we've extra space to indulge further such fancies.

Demand for the paid consultancy services I provide has been slightly reduced over the last couple of years due to severely depressed conditions in one particular industry sector in which I have expertise - this had provided a good proportion of my income for the last ten years or so.  It might take quite some time for this sector to recover, and for major spending to resume on capital investment projects, and so now seems an ideal time to get into the workshop and gardens. 

At our previous house within a typical residential street in a mid-sized market town, I would have been itching to find 40-odd hours or so of paid work each week to keep me occupied, otherwise it would have seemed that time was simply wasting away.

However, here in our current place, I could almost find enough things to do around the house and gardens to keep me busy full-time, and so an average of 20 hours of paid consultancy work per week was the reduced target for this year.  

This is an average figure though, and I always take on any work opportunities that are on offer - for the last couple of months, I've actually been working well over sixty hours per week, but at this time of year I don't mind at all, especially when these particular current projects are so interesting and intellectually challenging.

For the rest of the time when things are slack on the work front, there are things in the house and garden to build, repair, prepare, plant and tend etc, and even when it's too cold, wet or dark outside then there's many of my projects that can be continued within the comfort of the house or workshop.   Not only some of the physical construction activities, but also doing the initial basic designs, drawings and calculations can leave you wondering where the time has gone....

I'm also trying to set aside the last Wednesday or Thursday of each month for a regular and more detailed review of our pension and ISA investments, and for research into future opportunities....

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