Every now and then I get hit with the full force of just how different my life is - not from other people’s, but from my own. From how it used to be.
So I thought it might be fun to write a diary for one day. Yesterday. Monday 21 June 2010.
5.20am Got up, still very tired. Three days of teaching courses in the last three days has really waked me out!
Made a strong black coffee and switched on the computer. My column for this week should have been in on Friday, and although it is written, I’m struggling with the ending. Beginnings are no problem, but endings, phew!
It takes a while, but eventually I’m happy-ish with it and send it in to Pat the newspaper editor.
It’s a nice feeling when the column goes in, so I celebrate with a whiz around facebook, checking out what everyone’s doing. It’s very quiet.
I write a funky, spiky email to GMTV and Good Morning – I figure it’s got to be funky and spiky to stand out from the crowd – with a Beat the Budget idea for a slot on their program with me giving simple self sufficient ideas to put a few quid back in the nation’s pocket. I tell them I’ve written a book about it. I don’t hear back. Maybe I wasn’t spiky enough?
Toast and more coffee. More facebook, this time on my author page. This side of things do not come naturally and I have to force myself to do it. I feel very self conscious on the author page. I guess I’ll get used to it.
9.00am Debbie gets up and we have coffee together. I walk the dog, put the goosters out on the lawn (two baby geese we hatched ourselves in the incubator), collected my dog and Quadbike from the barn and drove down the hill to the animals.
The sheep are in the chicken field to eat down the grass. They prefer chicken feed. As soon as I open the door to the shed, there’s this huge head-on collision between the chickens trying to get out and the sheep trying to get in. I can’t make anything out, just a mass of bodies and dust like a cartoon.
I let the two older geese out, known collectively as Honey-Bunny – yes, that is ironic. I have to fend him off as I walk away. I check on the pregnant sow, water where necessary, make sure my dog will be okay for the day looking after the animals (he’s in charge), and drive back up to the house.
10.35am My biggest worry at the moment is a 1,500 word article for The Exmoor Magazine. It’s the first time I’ve written for this editor and I want it to be right, but typically things keep happening that either mean I have to rewrite or I’m delayed by waiting around for people I need to interview. Very frustrating and stressy. But it’s got to be in today, so I lock myself away and get on with it.
12.15pm Done! I give it to Debbie for a final read through and, with a couple of tiny alterations, she approves. I send it with photographs. Man, column done, article done, this is a great day! Time for a nap…
I read until I fall asleep on the sofa.
1.20pm Debbie’s board, Darcy the dog’s board, and I make out they’ve woken me up even though I’ve been listening to them for ages.
We decide to take a trip up onto the moor. I tie Darcy to the back of the quad bike, Debbie climbs on behind me and I drive slowly onto open Exmoor. This is lazyman’s dog walking in the extreme!
2.00pm I’m still glowing with all my writing deadlines out the way, so I suggest we nip down the pub for a sensible lunchtime one. We have a local delivery to do (black pudding and hoggs pudding to a guest house in Lynton) and go on from there. There’s a lovely pub right on the top of Exmoor with a garden we can sit in. It’s nice.
4.00pm Ice cold beer and a sandwich for lunch in the sunshine, and there’s only one thing to do when we get back. Nap number two!
5.00pm I quickly get ready and jump on the quad for the evening rounds.
I feed, water and fuss all the animals in this order; chickens, ducks, geese, sheep, first set of pigs, pregnant sow, largest group of pigs down the end (spending a little time with The General, our boar, because we’re quite close and he’s just such a dude!).
6.30pm I kill and pluck a chicken in the barn for tomorrow night’s dinner (please don’t go squeamish. When I see two for one chickens in Tesco’s, I could honestly cry my eyes out for the horrible life they’ve led – I’d far rather produce my own and know they’ve been happy, fulfilled and lead a free range life the way they should.)
7.30pm I snog the horses in the field and fix their water – Georgie is so fat on all this grass! Put the quad away. Put my (superstar) dog away and feed him.
8.10pm Bath, dinner, glass of wine, there’s something on TV and I can’t remember what it was, read until bedtime.