Wednesday, 30 March 2011

a manifesto for life

Moving house and making a fresh start in a home that we hope to live in for many years (or certainly more than five :-)) gives us the opportunity to furnish, decorate and live in a way that I have been aspiring to for some years now. In our last house, we were a little restricted by space and we always knew that we would move away from it after a couple of years, so there were things that we didn't or couldn't do.

I thought I would set out here some principles and ideas by which I wish to make our home - ideas not only about how I want it to look and feel, but also about how I want to live.

I want to:
Live simply, without too many material possessions
Not be so sad that we have no money to buy expensive furniture (!)
Buy used or recycled where possible
Only buy things that I love or need, preferably both at the same time.
Make more of my own clothes and soft furnishings
Learn how to make pickles
Be better at admin
Keep up with the maintenance of the house
Recycle and compost everything that I can
Get a wormery
Keep chickens
Use fewer nasty chemicals (our septic tank will thank us)
Speak to the neighbours more
Grow more of my own food
Learn how to make sourdough bread
Not be a slave to fashion and trends (says she, talking about sourdough and wormeries...)

I believe that we could all do without mountains of gadgets and big televisions. We have too many cheap clothes, too many unwanted gifts (for the love of god, people, stop giving me idiotic, cheapo crap gifts - I just give them to charity or sell them at the car boot). I feel like I need to spend more time working with my hands, being outdoors, looking at things that aren't on my computer screen. This return to a more traditional way of life - a thrifty, humble life - is what I yearn for, even though I will still want the things that make my life better (uh... dishwasher, car, computer, books). I hope to keep these things to a minimum. I don't own an iPod, iPad, iPhone or any similar time-wasting gizmos - nor do I want one. Austere self-denial is probably a fitting description for the state I wish to live in. Sounds kinda rubbish now I've put it down, but that's just how I am.

It's a bit like this manifesto from The Idler, only less poetic and strident:

Or perhaps it's something like the Pedlars manifesto:

Hey, maybe I'll even edit mine and lay it out as a poster or something. One of these days when I get some time...

I hope you are all well. I will start drawing again soon, I promise.


  1. Thank you! It's a bit wordy and uppity, but I am wordy and uppity a lot of the time! :-) xx

  2. Great principles to live under. I am really intrigued by a wormery! Not sure if I've ever heard of that before.

  3. Ooh. Wormeries are like super-speeded up compost heaps where you can put most of your food waste for them to chomp on. With a bit of care, they are very happy and produce compost quite quickly and a liquid that you can tap off and use as fertiliser in the garden. I've never had one myself, so I'm kind of a novice, but I like the sound of them :-) x

  4. I'm with you on 'austere self-denial' - and your list of principles! I'd happily live in the olden days :)

    Wormeries can be a bit fiddly, after persevering for a couple of years with mine (only got half a bins worth in all that time) I gave up and bought one of those big dalek things instead and have had storming results in under a year and at a fraction of the price.

    Can't wait to see how your house come along.

  5. Hi Olivia - so nice of you to visit my blog - I've been a quiet fan of yours for some time now. Your work is beautiful.

    I'm just starting the wormery off with my fingers crossed that I will get something out of it. The worms at least seem happy enough, so I can keep them as pets if nothing else :-D I also got a compost bin to deal with other waste that the wormery can't take, so hopefully I'll get some compost one way or another.