A long time ago in a galaxy far far away ... well no actually in Buckinghamshire, about 20 years ago, to be more accurate.
Before this adventure of being a family began, before we had babies or toddlers or tweens or teens or now nearly grown ups, before all that, there was us.
We still have from those days, twin copies of one book. His and Her copies. I'd like to point out that we do have more than one copy each of the Bible, but apart from that, this probably is the only book we felt we both ought to own.
and it was simple, that was what we were after, that was what we wanted and needed to do, and so - well, we did it. Or some of it. As much as we could, when we could.
It wasn't a political statement, it wasn't an environmental thing, though both those things came into it later. It wasn't in any way sacred, or spiritual, we'd never heard of the Amish or the Mennonites, we didn't see it as an act of faith, though that came later, too.
We wanted to grow food, rear livestock, make bread and wine, and cheese and chutney, make stuff for ourselves and live simply.
We emphatically did not want to wait until we were 'old' and do this in our retirement. However, when we came close to buying a Welsh smallholding, we bottled it, and later, we made the decision to move down here and rent because we couldn't think of another way.
Since then it's been a business, we've convinced ourselves we were farmers, I've tried to 'be' a permaculture professional, we've tried all sorts of land based livings and mostly failed, and here we are both of us working full time pretty much but still with this rented land, and now, with two nearly grown daughters.
So today we sat down and asked them, 'Where are you with this?' and it became obvious that with plans for university and so much else in the next few years, while they loved their childhood of animals and pony club, camps and dens and free ranging, they now can't be part of it directly for some years to come.
We made a cup of tea as you do, and went and sat in the garden. And then it struck us. Although we're busy at work, we'd still like exactly the same hobby as we had all those years ago. Together, with a few chooks, a dairy goat or two, a few sheep, and a big garden, we'd just like to live that way. The way we always wanted to.
So that's what we're going to do.
Maybe, in the future, if the girls' lives work out as they hope, we'll get some transport, and toddle off to some county shows together. Maybe we'll show goats or sheep or ponies. The biggest maybe of all - *if* Harrie's little horse comes sound after his latest round of treatment, and *if* I can focus and lose enough weight to ride him as well as care for him while she's away at Uni, and *if* that all goes well and then she comes and reclaims him, one day, maybe I'll have a horse of my own again. That would be something.
In the meanwhile, here we are. Back where we started. Obvious, really,
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