I think that once you have the virus for growing your own and living by the seasons, you never recover.
You might think you have a yearning for high heels, the power of corporate life and the trappings of a good income. To be able to fling anything into your supermarket trolley, spend two weeks in Mauritius and get a cleaner on the basis that two hours of your time in your overstressed world, is worth the money (all very nice things, admittedly).
But you will clap a wistful eye on someone else's beautiful vegetable patch and feel a pull a bit like a young child tugging at your sleeve for attention. You will notice the light change as you scurry to your car in the morning, or the first nip in the air, and feel like you are missing a party. You will wince at the cost of courgettes or eggs in the supermarket - not because you can't afford them, but because you remember a time when you literally couldn't give them away fast enough!
Now please don't think I am suddenly hugely affluent - I am not, far from it. But the result of sacrificing the smallholding and focussing on work and sorting life out in general, was that for the first time, I am almost financially secure. I have met a new and wonderful, reliable new man, and we are getting married. I feel like I can more safely plan for the future (to the degree that any of us can).
When I was writing this blog originally, life was incredibly rich in so many ways, but I was really struggling financially - the sort of 'it's the 20th and we only have £20 to live on' kind of struggling, with final notices coming through the door almost every other day and constant stress about how we would cope. It also meant I had to do everything the hard way, because innovations or equipment that was expensive, was out of the question. That said, I look back on this period (and this blog) with so many happy memories.
I have learned some precious lessons about money. Now I am very lucky that I am in a better financial position. We own our house (well - the mortgage company does) and although not rich, we are comfortable enough. For the brief months where I have been able to go and spend extra money on 'things' like clothes, meals out or holidays, I can't honestly say I have been extra happy. It seems that once you have reached a threshold - a financial security threshold I suppose - your happiness does not increase in parallel with the extra income beyond what you need to feel safe. If money is no object, you lose the value of things.
What my life needs to be complete now, is to grow, nurture and fall back into rhythm with the seasons.
We looked at lots of houses, and found a special place in a Wiltshire village. The house is nice -a characterless new-ish build, but nice enough.
The garden though, about half an acre with agricultural ties, is utterly, completely perfect. As I am still chained to the desk - for now at least - I have kept the name 'The Part Time Smallholder' but started afresh over here. As the best thing about blogging is your fellow bloggers, I hope you will pop over and join me.