The grit in the oyster …

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Beautiful evening yesterday, and a beautiful day today. As my good friend Sue has commented, I am very lucky to have the life I have. The world is my oyster, as I am living in a very lovely part of the world, with time to do the things I enjoy: writing, taking photographs, painting,  finding out about online selling, blogging, and writing ebooks. Yes, I am half way through a book, and will tell you more shortly. When we relocated from Hertfordshire, we were anything but certain that things would work out well …

I think the biggest piece of luck is to have a partner with whom I am very in tune. It is so much easier to do new things and take a risk when you have someone who is thinking along the same lines as you and who is willing to take the risks with you.

There is a little bit of grit in my oyster of course, as few people have a life that is silky smooth and through which they glide without any ripples. Nicely mixed metaphors there! My point is that it’s the grit that makes pearls, and it’s the fact we need to find ways to make money in a way that we enjoy and can share that is adding a potential pearl to our lives. Necessity is the mother of invention, and we are learning so much as we try different creative lines to see where our best chance of success lies. Not that we want major financial success. Far from it, as we are hoping just to make enough so that I can continue to work from home and spend time with Alec rather than being committed to a full time job. We want to be pursuing projects that we enjoy, rather than things that are money making schemes.

The pearl, if – when -we achieve it, will be a life that has variety, keeps us thinking and happy, and gives us enough income to be able to make choices, and to visit family and friends when we want to. I am more than happy to work until I am 80+ so long as I can work at something I enjoy!

Hang on –  Margaret means pearl … spooky!

Floods and gales part II. It’s getting personal.

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I wasn’t going to add to the amount of words being bandied about over the continuing rain and floods, but my hand has been forced.

How unhelpful to have Eric Pickles and others in government sniping at the Environment Agency! Without unlimited funding, how could they have put in sufficient water management and flood defences to stop flooding with the amount of rain we have seen this winter?  And can you imagine the uproar there would have been if they had pushed for extra funding for flood defences five years ago, when the UK was in the middle of a dry period, with very low rainfall each winter? Well I can imagine the headlines, and they wouldn’t have been pretty!

The situation is dreadful and steps need to be taken to help those affected as much as possible in the short term, but almost more importantly we need to prevent this extent of flooding happening again.

Long term solutions are going to take real leadership and imagination. Yes, we need to spend money, but we need to spend it wisely. We need to hear about all the ways in which we can capture heavy winter rain to hold it back from causing floods to be used during dry months, as I can’t imagine dredging rivers alone will be enough. Perhaps large rain storage tanks installed wherever possible (new developments, parks, public land …) to be pumped out during the summer for irrigating crops, watering gardens, flushing toilets and the like.   Perhaps a law that buildings on low lying or flood risk land need to be raised up above the possible flood levels on stilts.  It should not be beyond our collective skills to come up with solutions that manage water to save properties, businesses and lives, but which can also help the wider environment including wildlife.  Maybe we can build in some green energy production into the bargain.

I don’t know what the answer is, but I do know that we need to be clever and collaborative to do this well. Come on, politicians!  Stop blaming everyone in sight and starting working on a big plan for the long term.