Life is a pigsty, and if you don’t know this, then what do you know?
I was just 18 when I first left home. I bought myself a slightly neglected bungalow. (In England a bungalow is a single-story dwelling, (it helps when your first job is being a banker)). Hallway, reception room, 2 bedrooms, bathroom, kitchen ~ and every room needed redecorating. The kitchen especially looked like something from the WWII era. In fact the kitchen looked like WWII had been fought in there.
There was central heating that didn’t work, and an Edison-vintage electrical system that did, although technically the lights were so dim they were darks. I had my clothes, two pieces of furniture that I stole from my folk’s place, (a beach chair and a mattress), my music, a tin plate and some cutlery.
The bungalow was close enough to the bank that I could walk in about 45 minutes. I sold my sports car, an Austin-Healey Sprite, bought a Reliant Robin three-wheeler van, and tried to work out what else I needed to buy with my sudden small stash of cash.
With cash burning a hole in your pocket there is always the temptation to buy things that will give you instant gratification, more records for example….. Well I gave in to a little of that and got myself a TV. The rest of the stuff I bought was more practical; a washer / dryer, some tools, an oven, bed linen, brushes and paint, cleaning cloths….. stuff like that.
Ripping out the entire kitchen was messy but satisfying ~ and the little van was useful for taking all the wreckage to the city dump. That thing did hundreds of miles on a teaspoon of petrol, (gas), and all the time I had it I never even opened the hood ~ of course eventually the poor thing fell apart. Later I learned about car mechanics, regular maintenance, giving love, care, and attention to everyone and everything in my life.
My life was pretty good until I had almost finished my professional examinations ~ then I experimented with dating. My first girl was older, curvy, blonde, great legs, and before I knew where I was she was leaving her stuff at my place and taking over. That first time living alone taught me three great lessons;
- Don’t spend money you haven’t got.
- Nobody is allowed into my place.
- Do everything for yourself.
As well as building a new kitchen I made all the furniture for that place. I still have some of it; decades later.
Some say you should never wrestle with an amoral woman. And, that if you do, you will get dirty. All I know is that she will like it.
one of the worst cars in the world
growing your own food is like printing your own money
Some say they can’t grow their own vegetables because they just don’t have the space. And that all that bending and kneeling isn’t good for them. All I know is that if you get yourself a planter, or three, you can keep yourself in organic vegetables for 8 months out of every year.
Buying a planter can be quite expensive, but if you’re handy at all you can build your own. And if you’re no good at DIY, then find a man who can. (I made that planter above)
And if your space is really very limited, then just add some ingenuity.
Growing your own fruits and vegetables seems daunting to many people, but it’s actually very easy. All you need is a few square feet of good dirt, water, and a little time. Among the benefits you’ll see are;
- improving your health (and your family’s)
- saving money on groceries (your planter should last decades)
- enjoy better tasting food
- know exactly what you’re eating and where it came from
- stop worry about food safety
- have a sense of achievement
- get some outdoor exercise
- reduce your impact on the environment and food waste
try it, and I guarantee you will like growing your own
There are no gardening mistakes, only experiments. ~ Janet K. Phillips
For me, building a patio planter, or raised bed, out of any materials you like, is a fairly straightforward project. However, I know that isn’t so for everyone.
Therefore, in a spirit of helpfulness, here are a trio of videos showing how to make a few examples of planters you could use a prototypes for whatever you would like in your yard. As you can see, it’s a pretty straightforward project.
this easy wall planter
is one of my favourite ideas
Gardens are not made by sitting in the shade and drinking wine.
I have a friend who would like me to make a couple of planters for her yard.
Perhaps she will get some ideas of the kind of thing she wants, needs, and desires from these pictures. Hey, I’m just going to be building them and filling them with dirt.
used railway sleepers (ties) make a great, everlasting planter
and they are strong enough to use as a retaining wall
but you should really line them with something
stone planters are a cool idea
this isn’t as difficult as it looks
There is scarcely anything that will drag you down like debt.
Basically there are two ways we can have more cash to spend on the things we really like, want, and desire ~ one is to go out and get more money, earn it, marry it, inherit it, steal it….
The other way to have more cash to spend on the things we really like is to spend less on ‘essentials’ ~ the things we have to buy to survive.
For if we remember our Dickens and what Mr. Micawber said in David Copperfield, happiness lies in spending less than we earn, and unhappiness lies in spending more than we actually have.
There are some tried and tested ways to spend less on the boring essentials. In my quest for minimalistic living, I have personal, (sometimes very bitter), experience of all of these following ideas:
- Live in a smaller place. Smaller homes cost less to buy, attract lower property taxes, and use less utilities; water, gas, electricity.
- If you can, switch your utilities provider to a better and cheaper company. All utilities companies are money-grabbing vultures, but try to choose the best of a bad lot.
- Drive a smaller car. Smaller cars are less expensive to buy and insure, and in general use much less gas than a bigger car with more weight and a bigger engine. If you buy a classic smaller car, as opposed to the latest model, then you won’t even suffer from depreciation.
- Switch your car insurance to a better and cheaper company.
- Learn some DIY skills. You don’t have to use expensive and useless contractors, car mechanics, cleaners, or gardeners. It’s cheaper and better if you do as much as you can for yourself.
- Cut out impulse purchases. On impulse, too many of us buy too much stuff that we don’t actually need, want, or really like. All that stuff clutters up our home and convinces us that we need to move to a bigger place.
- Don’t marry a sexy trophy wife, (or toy boy), who will also want you to move into a bigger place. A trophy wife, (or toy boy), will end up costing you most of your treasure, and you’ll end up with a broken heart.
- Don’t try to buy love. It doesn’t work, it will cost you a fortune, and you’ll end up with a broken heart.
- Control your addictions….. booze, drugs, gambling, pornography, casual sex, smoking….. All of these will all cost you just about everything you have, including your self-respect.
- Resist the urge to have the latest and most expensive technologies. You don’t need a huge TV, costly cable, the newest computer, the best tablet, the most expensive iPhone with the most expensive contract.
- Buy whole foods rather than processed, heavily packaged, and generally bad for you costly crap.
- Buy generic brands. Trust me, I’ve been into factories where the expensive labels and generic brands are actually made on the same production line with exactly the same content. Only the packaging is different.
- If you can, then buy in bulk.
- Stop going out to lunch at work, instead take a packed lunch. Those people you go to lunch with are probably boring and certainly aren’t your real friends anyway. And, if you’re an average guy the women you take to lunch are never going to have sex with you, so you’re wasting your time and money.
- Don’t join a gym. Most of the people who have gym membership never go there. For great exercise take a long walk in the sunshine instead.
- Visit thrift stores, and if you find clothes you like, then save money and buy ‘pre-loved’ stuff.
- Don’t give to a big charity. (Have you any idea how much the bosses of the big charities pay themselves? The average pay across the top 100 charities is more than £250,000 a year, plus huge bonuses.)
- Don’t spend all your time drinking in pubs and bars ~ the booze is expensive there, and nobody in your favourite pub is your real friend anyway.
And finally, don’t spend on borrowed money, especially credit cards which all charge usury rates of interest. Credit cards are NOT money. Really, really, really NEVER use a payday lender, which all charge eye-watering criminal rates of interest.
You can probably think of some other money-saving tips of your own. For a month try making a note of what you actually spend your hard-earned on ~ I guarantee that you will be surprised and shocked. Learn what you actually spend your money on, and then you can start to control your finances.
Some say that money can’t buy happiness. And that a fool and his money are soon parted. All I know is that having money makes misery more bearable.
you can take the idea of living in a tiny home to the extreme…..
You need time, effort, and creativity to build anything worthwhile.
I intend to build a tiny teardrop trailer sometime this summer. These tiny camping trailers are built on a commercially built trailer frame, on top of which a plywood structure is mounted.
I could build this from scratch, just using half-inch sheets of 8′ X 4′ plywood I cut to shape for myself, or I could buy a kit ~ and I think I’m going to buy a kit.
Some of the available kits include:
Make: features 11 Teardrop Trailer Builds on its blog.
Including this, which I really like because of its squared-off shape, which will give more usable space than a ‘classic’ teardrop shape.
This is totally home built from scratch on a commercially bought steel trailer frame.
This teardrop camper kit is from Fyne Boat Kits, and I really like its sculptural, upturned, boat-shaped design.
So-Cal Teardrops has a range of kits, including this off-roader.
And, Little Guy Trailers has this 5 foot wide teardrop kit.
Or, I could also build just from plans, like the Wyoming Woody.
Really successful engineering is all about understanding how something will break or fail.
For some strange reason I am blessed with the ability to fix almost anything, install almost anything, make almost anything, and build almost anything.
I built myself a Caterham / Lotus 7 sports-racing car, which I then drove all over Europe on long road trips. The trip I enjoyed most in this little car was driving down the entire Loire Valley in France. (Or maybe it was the Stelvio Pass.)
Minor pieces of carpentry are child’s play for me ~ which is why I could rip out the old kitchen in my garret and replace it with something that I liked and suited my needs.
(With help from my friend Marmaduke of course.)
I’ve also erected log cabins and built vacation homes from plywood. (This is a stock picture, not one of mine)
Sometimes, half way through a project, I’ve wondered why I started, and if the thing would ever be finished. The picture above shows this kind of ‘why am I doing this’ project. Although, this wreck of an Austin-Healey Sprite turned into a really beautiful little car, finished in British Racing Green as a frog-eye. (the almost completed little car, I like that I did the white stripes)
For my next project I’m thinking about finding an old school bus, rebuilding it as an RV, (Recreational Vehicle), and then spending an entire year in the thing, touring as much of the USA as I can, on the longest road trip ever.
Something you need, if you want to tackle advanced DIY projects, is a really, really comprehensive tool kit. And, take my advice, always buy the very best tools you can afford. (You may need a hard hat.)
This post is sponsored by: http://www.amazon.com/shops/salinevalleyenterprises
some power tools are a must have
click on the power tools picture
Anger blows out the candle of the mind.
People are telling me that I need to relax more, stop being angry, stop being paranoid…
Anger, confusion, and paranoia are all symptoms of a chronic lack of thiamine and potassium in the blood stream ~ and I was suffering from that. (But so are nausea, heart palpitations, strokes, and death through heart failure)
I realise that I have been holding on to anger from the past. I need to let go of this anger and stop letting it rule me. The time to deal with anger and paranoia are when I first feel it ~ I need to relax, let go, and not let anger and paranoia fester in my mind.
Yet I know how to relax, and it’s really very simple.
- Take a walk by the sea.
- Practice clean deep breathing, meditation, mindfulness, and yoga.
- Stay away from any booze.
- Take a long bath with some relaxing music playing.
- Get plenty of good quality sleep.
- Talk with my family and friends.
- Keep my apartment clean and tidy.
- Read something inspirational and mindful.
- Do something creative ~ like writing this blog, making something, cooking…
- Check my thinking and let go of negative thoughts.
- Go back to seeing a professional counsellor.
- Build and photograph a rock stack by the sea.
There is something very therapeutic about building a rock stack.
Food on Friday will return next week.
pictures taken with a Lumix.
The Four Great Truths I will follow in 2017;
- Accept that Life is difficult and painful.
- The underlying causes of my problems and pain are giving in to my own cravings, lusts, desires, and my blaming of others.
- I can’t change what happens to me, but I can change how I react.
- The path to freedom from suffering is through self-discipline in body, mind, and spirit.
These are not the ‘normal’ kind of New Year’s Resolutions, but I believe they will work for me in 2017. My spirit can be free to fly through blue skies.