Posts Tagged ‘good life’

The Good Life

December 24, 2013

Hands up if you remember ‘The Good Life’.  The whole premise of the TV programme was a little bit absurd but never mind that. It was great fun and we all willed Barbara and Tom to win out against the odds and against the middle class snobbery of next door neighbour Margo.

We were planning to live the good life before the TV programme hit the air waves. But it beat us, for the first episode was broadcast in 1975 and by the time all our legal niceties had been sorted out and we began our stint at the good life, it was spring 1976. But I still say we were there first.

When we did move in to our bit of a wreck of a home, but with about 4 acres of land, we had all sorts of plans. Some proved successful and others did not.

But in that first year, we planned to grow all our own vegetables as soon as possible.

Do you remember 1976? It was the year of the drought. But we overcame that by not wasting a drop. No water was allowed to go down the plug hole; it was all collected and used. And we grew a fine crop of marrows.

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That was me pondering over the marrows. I may have been trying to decide what to enter in the flower show.

One enterprise we tried with hopeless results was growing Christmas Trees. They were to be a cash crop. The outlay was small – just a packet of seeds. We prepared an area for our plantation and when our pot grown seedling trees were big enough we planted them out. They looked good. Well our livestock – sheep and goats – certainly thought so. They forced the fences and turned potential trees into mis-shapen shrubs. None were ever going to be fit for us to use, let alone for selling. That enterprise ended almost before it had begun.

Later I tried bee keeping which was something my dad had done.

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There’s Dad and my sister at what must be an empty hive.

I couldn’t match him on that one. I’m afraid that no amount of protection could enable me to overcome my terror. Bees just scared me. But for a little while, I tried and that’s me opening a hive.

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That was back in 1976. Eventually, a friend took on our hive.

The good life had to come to an end for us. We couldn’t sustain it with children and paid jobs. But it was fun.

The Good Life

May 16, 2013

Back in the 1970s, and before a lovely TV comedy series took the name, we lived the good life. We were, I suppose, in that stage of being what now gets called ‘DINKY’ – dual income – no kids yet. We scrimped and saved and bought our very run down house with its dubious right of access – and a very large plot of land. All worked out well, in the end, so we were very lucky. We could indulge in a bit of self-sufficiency.

There were times (for we rapidly turned into three of us with one income) when our finances were horribly tight and we were eating weeds as vegetables.

For milk we kept a goat.

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So that’s me milking Shamrock the goat. I have temporarily tethered her with a spike through a large metal collar which could take a bell. Her kid clearly wants to play.

When you know the source of your milk you soon get to learn more about the link between the animal’s food and the milk you get. If your goat has rubbish to eat then you get milk with a rubbish taste – it gives off a goaty aroma. Feed her well and your goat will give you a good supply of very pleasing milk.

Nothing was waste in those days. That’s our front lawn, allowed to grow so that Shamrock the goat could enjoy the lush grass. There’s an electric net around her – which was more to control the kid.

If we had a kid, we must have used the services of a Billy Goat. Now they have a truly pungent smell. We once walked one from one side of the village to another, using ropes to keep it under control. Thirty years on I can still smell ‘Billy’ on that rope.

Eventually, the demands of work and life made twice a day milking a problem and we returned to the milkman for our supplies. But it was fun whilst it lasted and it is one of those things I am glad to have done.