I’m Busy

Yes, as usual, I’m busy. And I don’t think it is just a case of Parkinson’s First Law which states that work expands to fill the time available!

Since Steve Jones of Chapter 39 in Newtown, Powys challenged me to think about, and plan for, the year 2050 I have been doing so. And one of the results is a decision to have the chalet in the garden, originally built as consulting rooms for our Counselling business, refurbished as somewhere someone could live rent free in return for helping me in the garden and woods. Time was John and I would have done the work between us but he is dead and I am older so I have employed a builder to do the work that I feel unable to do. But he still needs me to make decisions, source things like the small woodburner that will heat the place and to pay the bills. And I am doing the jobs I can manage like decorating and building the carcasses for the kitchen units. It all takes time.

Because I am doing so much thinking and designing (the chalet is only the start although probably the most expensive  item on my list of changes) it seemed only sensible to get some credit for it and in the process have someone else to look at and comment on the plans. Therefore I have signed up for the Diploma in Permaculture Design which is a self directed course of study in which I have to submit 10 designs for land, house, lifestyle or whatever. I get the support of a tutor to guide me so that I meet the criteria for standard of work. Unfortunately there is no fixed time scale so I can prevaricate to my hearts content! And all those ideas, thoughts, musings have to be transferred from my head to paper in a form which makes sense to someone else. I must be mad! Why do I do these things to myself?!

Now in my dreams all that work would result in a house so easy to manage that I could drift round in dolled up to the nines, nearly tens, whilst the ghost of my mother beamed approvingly. I should explain that the greatest compliment she could pay another housewife (always a wife in those days – men did manly things not housework) was ‘You could eat your dinner off her floors’. Even as a child I wondered how she would react if that was put to the test! And my garden would look like those the National Trust runs – thriving plants, no weeds, tidy paths… Meanwhile my woodshed would be bursting with neatly stacked logs from the acre that was coppiced each year, my car would be valeted after every journey and my outgoings would be minimal because of my reduced energy and water bills, the volume of garden produce and my general thriftiness. Undobtedly only in my dreams!

In the real world 2 dogs and 3 cats help me trail in mud. They rub dirt on the soft furnishings as they pass and leave hairs everywhere. I am convinced that old spiders use this place as cobweb building boot camp for the youngsters and it is ideal for the purpose being old, wonky and full of nooks and crannies. In the garden it is jungle warfare and the jungle always wins. I clear, mulch, plant and before I can get back to the beginning the weeds have gone mad. I have couch grass, nettles, brambles, bindweed, rosebay willowherb and himalayan balsam in abundance and some of the banks between terraces are so steep that working on them is well nigh impossible.

I have given up writing ‘TO DO’ lists – they are too depressing. Partly that is because jobs like housework or gardening tend not to have defined finishing points – however much I have done I could do more or do it again. Instead I write lists of what I have done and often it is quite a lot.

One of my favourite definitions of stress is that it occurs in work when demand outstrips capability. Both those things are ultimately a choice for me. I have no boss telling me what I must accomplish by the end of the day, week or year. I decide what I want to get done and what, realistically, I might be able to manage. I can choose whether or not to give myself a hard time if I fail. And I can choose to say ‘I can’t do that. I don’t have the skill, knowledge, experience..’ or to say ‘I can’t do that YET but I could learn’. It is true that as I get older I tire more quickly and I have less brute strength than I used to. But I also know more, have more experience of doing things or watching others do them, and am more willing to ask for help or advice. One of the advantages of grey hair and wrinkles and going deaf is that people feel good about helping me.

So, yes, I am busy. At the moment I am particularly busy. And, you know what? I am loving it because I CAN be busy and it certainly beats being bored and reduced to watching daytime TV! Next time I grumble about how hectic life is you can remind me of that!

12 thoughts on “I’m Busy

  1. Victoria November 23, 2017 / 12:21 am

    You are so lovely! If you need a break then call in – you are always a real pleasure to see. xx


  2. Gary Finch November 26, 2018 / 12:32 pm

    Hi, i would suggest you revisit the ‘to do list’ – there are some clever ways to ensure you achieve your goals and get the ongoing stuff done with out it getting too depressing. Look at the youtube videos on time management by Chris Croft


    • Going Batty in Wales November 26, 2018 / 1:07 pm

      Thank you Gary, I will. When I got a bit frazzled again a few weeks ago my son passed on a couple of useful tips too. I think I just expect myself to get too much done! I will probably do a post soon on ‘Use slow and simple solutions’ just to give myself a good talking to.


  3. knitnkwilt May 15, 2019 / 12:51 am

    I remember the ‘eat off the floor’ line too! Mine would qualify about 2 days out of each month, tops. I too love being able to pace myself and not punishing myself when I don’t do as much as I listed for a day.My lists are very much penciled in and flexible, except–of course–when an entry date is looming. But even they can be abandoned when necessary..

    Liked by 1 person

    • Going Batty in Wales May 16, 2019 / 9:42 am

      A woman after my own heart! Life is too short to spend on things we don’t enjoy so unless things get really unhygienic I don’t worry too much.


  4. KerryCan August 16, 2019 / 12:30 pm

    What a huge undertaking! This will keep you out of trouble for a good bit. I had to laugh at your comparison between your fantasy life and your actual life. Same here, with 6 cats (but no dogs)!


  5. Laurie Graves September 3, 2019 / 1:11 pm

    I know just how you feel. My long list of chores skip puckishly ahead of me, laughing like crazy whenever I have the notion that I might someday be caught up.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Lynda October 29, 2019 / 1:41 pm

    My favorite part of a to do list is simply being able to mark off one thing as done. I see it this way: It is a to do list not a timetable. I often feel that I must be the only one whose home does not merit feature in “Better Homes and Gardens”. However, you, and your friends above, have just proved me wrong. Thank you. I feel better.


    • Going Batty in Wales October 30, 2019 / 10:04 am

      One of my friends confessed that when she writes a ‘to do’ list she always starts with a few things she has already done so that she can tick them off straight away!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Lynda October 30, 2019 / 2:48 pm

        HA-HA-HA! I think I shall remember that trick for my next list! 😉


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