The Good Life

January 25, 2008 at 11:35 am 2 comments


The Good Life 

It is a Thursday and I am at home. The sun is shining and I am wearing shorts, inflicting my skinny pale pegs on the unsuspecting world. Maslow, our furball baby cat, is on the sofa next to me snoring and purring and chasing squirrels or rabbits or mice in his dreams. Actually, he is much more comfortable than I am, having commandeered the greater part of the sofa so that he can stretch out while wedging me against the sofa arm.

But it is a workday so lounging about at home in my shorts sounds pretty ideal you would have thought. But it isn’t. Not entirely. I’m bored and at a loss what to do. You see, while the sun may be shining (an unusual occurrence in the great Cheshire summertime, so worthy of a second mention) my mood is a little flat. I got turned down for a job yesterday. Admittedly I did quite well in the interview process, being only one of thirteen who got to first interview out of some two hundred and fifty applicants. And, I got through to the final three. But, I was pipped at the post. On the plus side, it does show that my CV is strong and that I must have interviewed OK. On the downside, I had already planned a future involving a new car, new phone, banking my redundancy pay-off for a rainy day, enjoying an exciting and demanding new job, and living the life of luxury with a £25k pay increase. But, ‘twas not to be. Serves me right for getting my hopes up. It is a real shame though. 

So now, I ‘m a bit bored. A bit unsettled. A little uncertain about the future. Increasingly anxious. I am less than usefully employed and have plenty of time on my hands. There are only so many times I can go to the shops, walk or cycle around the block, or watch back-to-back Jeremy Kyle shows without turning one’s brain to soup. But, I am making good progress on my latest video game and, so far at least, I have not succumbed to watching live streams of Big Brother Live. That would be when I know I have totally given in. I do like to eat my lunch with Loose Women on TV though – they remind me of the ladies I have lunched with at work over the years. 

The recruitment market is also a tad slow at the moment. People are on holiday I guess. But, without a stream of suitable adverts to respond to I am afraid my mind is drifting somewhat. Straying into dark corners where I entertain my fears of not getting a job at the salary level I would like or need to maintain our standard of living. Of relying on my redundancy insurance to pay the mortgage until even that runs out and I have to start consuming my redundancy monies with far too much gusto. Of being unable to find a job for a couple of years and consequently becoming unemployable. A life of abject poverty surely beckons. Which is probably why my thoughts have drifted to self-sufficiency. Sustainable living. The Good Life. Felicity, Felicity (Kendal), you fill me with electricity. She was kind of cute in the Good Life and downright filthy in the Camomile Lawn. Sigh. 

Now let us be clear. I am not expecting C to don dungarees and grow pigtails in her hair. Nor am I turning into a Guardian reader or a hippy. We actually gave away the chicken coop that once lived in our side garden. I just like the thought of cooking using things that I have grown and nurtured myself. 

Now there have been sporadic delusions of growing my own vegetables over the years. My granddad always used to grow his own. Runner beans, potatoes, cabbages, tomatoes, lettuce, and gooseberries. The whole shebang. He could often be found pricking out in his greenhouse, so to speak. 

Even mom and dad were inspired by the financial benefits of growing your own and turned our back garden into a vegetable patch in the 1970s, when funds were low and the chest freezer had arrived. The chest freezer would be filled with the carcases of whole pigs, lambs, and the larger part of a cow’s anatomy. Offal. Sheep’s brain is a delicacy which has to be tried to be believed. And, our meat was accompanied by home-grown vegetables suitably blanched and frozen to see us through the non-growing period. I think that my main contribution in this period was to plant a few radish plants down the side of the summerhouse. 

When we moved to rural Cheshire I got the gardening bug, briefly. I was probably inspired by the early episodes of Big Brother when they used to look after chickens and tend to their own veggies. These were the early seasons before they started to put vegetables in the house as housemates.  A vegetable patch was dug, composted, and seeds were planted. The planted seeds were occasionally watered. It was a disaster. I was not big into weeding and my tendering was definitely fair weather and intermittent. The slugs and snails soon saw to any actual edible vegetation that appeared. My main crop was bindweed. Indeed, my only crop was bindweed. Nature’s very own barbed wire. 

But, the imminent onset of abject poverty coupled with the terrible tedium of having nothing to do has inspired me once more. And now, the front of our home is adorned with five terracotta earthenware pots, filled with the best growing compost. One is filled with mint, one filled with rosemary, one filled with coriander, another with parsley, and the last with thyme. I can sense the snails smacking their lips already. I know it is only a small start but it a start nonetheless. And, we know that from tiny acorns, mighty oaks do grow. Well, in my case it is likely to be bindweed again…….. 

I just have to get a job……….









Entry filed under: childhood memories, Economy. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , .

The Oxford Experience Anarchy In The UK

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. sheryljgavin  |  June 18, 2010 at 5:55 am

    Isn’t it funny how your mind can go into that dark corners and start spiralling? My garden therapy (and blogging about it) is to overcome depression and anxiety … and I’d say its working. I’m also looking for work (just started looking so not too many rejections so far) and to keep myself occupied and out of trouble (aside from gardening) I’m doing some volunteer work. It’s easier to get a job when you’ve got a job … thats what I believe. Maybe you could find a charity you believe in and lend them a hand … I’ll bet you soon have a job.


    • 2. Middle Man  |  June 18, 2010 at 7:21 am

      Many thanks for popping in and bothering to leave a comment. And for your kind thoughts. Thankfully I do have a job that I love (this post was a couple of years ago now)!

      I also hope that you continue to make good progress with your anxiety and depression.



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