2013 Yearnote

(I posted this on Facebook, but I think my social media is pretty fragmented these days, so posting here and twitter as well) Started the year with a new job, as an interaction designer for Telefonica Digital, working in a small innovation/research group. Pretty much exactly what I was looking for, despite being told by recruiters that such a thing was impossible to find, and please take this grinding job at a digital agency. No, ta. Commuting from Bicester, Oxfordshire most days worked out ok generally but it was a 2 hour door to door trip, twice most days. Not as bad as it sounds. We also stared the year with two dead beehives, which was disappointing but it was a crappy 2012 followed by a super tough winter so I don’t think we were alone. I put off cleaning out one of the hives until it got warmer, but before I had chance a really early swarm took up residence and later in the year even provided a few kilos of honey. Go bees! Anyway. This is only the second big company, full time job I’ve ever taken. Living in the freelance, self employed, startup space is nice and all but a bitch to get a mortgage with, which was the mission for 2013. We had a holiday and a property look at North Devon, but the only smallholdings in our price range were wrecks, or swamps or had nasty surprises cunningly hidden from the estate agent photos. Truly, the estate agent is the lowest form of sales person. Or person. OK, then. South Wales, your turn! We took a sunny trip on 8th June and saw four places over the weekend, but the first one we saw looked perfect. Five acres, half woodland, half well organised with paddocks, stables, sheds, polytunnel, chickens, etc. How unlikely is that? Still, we put in an offer and were accepted on the Monday. Wow. Having not bought a house before, it seemed to go pretty smoothly, what can I say? Can highly recommend using a mortgage broker - Adam at Pacific Financial was great. And on 1st October we moved into Ty Newydd Farm. On 2nd October I turned 40, so that was all completed to schedule 😉 Our first pair of sheep, Jabobs, arrived in December and their lambs are due in March. Now I’m doing the lodger thing in Turnpike Lane, London - arriving late Sunday night, seeming to be heavy on the meetings and catchups Monday & Tuesday and heading back out to South Wales late on Wednesday afternoon, catching up on reading and work on the train and getting into the design groove Thursday & Friday. The office view is nice. Seems to work so far. So there we are! I should add into that, our lovely dog Mia had a litter of seven puppies in June, and we now have Merlin who we kept. The others went to lovely homes. Plans for 2014 are to roll with this schedule, get some farmhouse improvements installed (external insulation, timber cladding, solar panels, maybe even hydro from the torrent of a stream alongside the house). Maybe get a goat or two to help clear the overgrown woodland down a bit. Or piggies! Potential, that’s the thing! All this would not be possible without the amazing support and drive from my beautiful wife Veronika. Truly we are living the dream (with a little more commuting than most dreams, but hey, nothing is perfect).