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The street sounds Below are the 10 most recent journal entries recorded in the "Robin" journal:

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February 23rd, 2012
12:54 pm

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Drink, again.
Giving up on drinking alcohol has turned out to be ridiculously easy. The added bonus is that I seem to have dreams every single night. I don't remember any of the dreams, but I know that I had them.

It is not Lent idea, nor do I intend to become teetotal. It just seems that my brain and body have got together and decided that "drinking is over - lets get on with life"



 

(Stop to tell)

February 17th, 2012
11:07 am

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Alcohol, Life, The Universe, and Everything.
Most weeks I spend at least one night away. I book a B&B through laterooms trying to pick something cheap and unusual. There have been some fantastic successes and a few miserable nights half built dumps. I will carry on doing it, because event the dumps have been entertaining and even educational. 

One, one night, stay may start to change my life. I have not been really drunk, or really badly hungover for years and years. On the other hand I do drink nearly every day: a few beers or a glass of wine or two in the evening. I sort of think that I wont get to sleep unless I "take the edge off" or wind down with a drink. It is doubly so when I stay on a hotel. I never sleep as well in a strange bed as I do at home so I will go out and have a meal with a few drinks and, usually a nightcap back at the hotel. 

A chance booking at a strangely named hotel took me to the heart of Southwell which a London suburb where most of the people originate from South Asia. A good quarter of the men where wearing turbans, there were several Sikh gurdwaras and Hindu temples, but the real difference was the way that the streets were alive on a cold dark January evening. I am used to walking empty streets at night looking for a half decent restaurant or pub. In 8pm Southall nearly every shop was open, the pavements were crowded and there was noise and traffic. But there were no pubs, no shops selling alcohol, and no drunks. 

After an hour of wandering around I was infused with a deep and compelling understanding that alcohol is a completely unnecessary component of life.

I still find myself wanting a drink because of the social circumstance or I may feel that I need to relax but I have started to resent that perception of need. Almost without noticing my consumption has crept down and down, to the point where I don't think that having a drink is normal.

I suppose that I should say "Thank you, Southall"

(5 Wish you well | Stop to tell)

June 20th, 2011
10:51 am

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This is a really important time in my life.
 I now have to sort things out one at a time, and get them exactly right.

Refurbish this house.
Rebuild the Irish house.
Plan how to improve the land and work out how to make a living there.
One final attack on the writing and finish a nearly polished piece of prose.
Keep working hard so that I can fimanage all of the above.

Many of the things that I am now doing will be done for the last time. (Subject to me concentrating and getting them right!)

I have stopped pretty much all social activity, including on line, which bothers me, but I just have too much on my mind at the moment. Nothing bad, just too too much.

(1 Wish you well | Stop to tell)

May 20th, 2011
09:00 pm

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 I am very tired and have had too many glasses of wine. I should not try to write.

(Stop to tell)

May 18th, 2011
09:48 pm

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Random Luck
I picked a hotel on "Laterooms" and look what turned up.

hotel

(Stop to tell)

May 17th, 2011
11:36 am

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I am getting deadly serious about money, work and "Quality of Life" Vs "Standard of Living"


A bit from and an american website about american life which I suspect is equally true for the UK:
 
"Politicians have pulled the wool over your eyes. The consumer price index (CPI) was 30.9 in 1964. Today, it is 223.5. This means prices have risen 723% since 1964. The only problem is your wages have not risen at the same rate, even using the government manipulated CPI. Using a true CPI figure, average weekly earnings are 64% below what they were in 1964. This explains why a family of five could live well with one parent working in 1964, but even with both parents working and accumulating debt in prodigious amounts, the average family cannot live as well today."

http://bit.ly/jej8iV

I disagree though. I think that if you work out the right division of labour then, unless the jobs are well above the average wage, then one full time job between two (and maybe a bit more) works better, financially,  than two full time jobs. (I am glossing over the gender argument here for the sake ofbrevity)

Any suggestions about sustainable living/farming communities or journals would be greatly appreciated.

(Stop to tell)

May 15th, 2011
09:13 am

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I have been waiting for this time all of my life.
"As every individual, therefore, endeavours as much as he can both to employ his capital in the support of domestick industry, and so to direct that industry that its produce may be of the greatest value; every individual necessarily labours to render the annual revenue of the society as great as he can." Adam Smith. The Wealth of Nations.

The more that I look the more that I see that the system is breaking. I have been pulled into the city to work for quite reasonable amount of money. I give most of that money to other people who expect a decent wage to do the things that I don't have the time to do, because I am too busy earning.

I have started to catalogue the time it takes me to earn the money that I need to pay someone to do things that i could do myself. Some months I earn a lot. Four months of the year, (When the schools are closed) I earn nothing. As a salesman I always work on a 100% comission, no salary, basis. That the way that I like to live even though it makes my income unpredictable and very dependent on my own sense of motivation. If I were to limit myself to a 40 hour week I would average about £1600 every month after taxes.

I live in an old victorian house with high ceilings, no roof insulation, and solid brick walls. It cost about £1500 a year to heat using gas. I know that, in the country, I can cut enough wood to heat a house for a year in less than a week. That would also be good for my health, good for the woods which need thinning, and it would be carbon neutral. The old market model in which the time saved by having a miner dig you coal, saved you enough time for you to earn more than the cost of that coal is broken.

I have started brewing beer and wine from kits. The kits take away any need for expertise. The cheap ones cost about about £10.00, and produce beer that is pretty poor. The better kits which, again need no skill, cost more than twice that. Three hours work produces 40 bottles of beer @ about 60p a bottle. It tastes the same as £2.20 beer from the shop up the road. The shop has to pay about 60p tax so the comparison is with £1.60. A pound more, but the brewery, using mass production, should be able to make it more cheaply than I can. Another failure for Adam Smith.

The local allotments are one sixteenth of an acre. The victorians reckoned that this was the amount of land that was needed to feed a family. Given that we in the UK, on average, spend about 10% of our income on food ten sixteenths of an acre should generate an average income. I know a few farmers who have one hundred times that land, about 70 acres, and they struggle to make the average wage. They mostly have to have second jobs. Something, somewhere, is seriously wrong with the "efficiency" of modern farming.

It is not just in this country: http://bit.ly/mJWbBv

I can see people on here and other place like facebook who are making the same observations and coming to the same conclusions maybe without realising it. No "good job" and mortgage, despite the the degree and qualification. Instead they wait tables or work in call centres, rent houses, grow vegetables and keep chickens. That seems a good way to be.

It is time to get on with the next bit of my life.

(2 Wish you well | Stop to tell)

March 13th, 2011
08:38 pm

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 How incongruous is the following news flash?

"Yahoo! Finance reports Japan quake-tsunami death toll likely over 10,000."

(Stop to tell)

February 21st, 2011
11:12 am

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Life is slower. I have a day or two to think.
Every so often I get the sense that there is another world, and if i were to try, i cold just about see into it. Years and years ago I would listen to a squeaky C90 cassette playing "Man who sold the world" thinking "It's just there - I can nearly touch it."





For years I read science fiction. Probably trying to get that same sensation. The one story that sticks with me is The Door in the Wall. HG Wells puts the idea across perfectly in a story that I have never been able to forget.

http://bit.ly/envG4d

(Stop to tell)

February 7th, 2011
09:24 pm

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 But on another note. I looked at somebody's photo.......

There is something exactly right about attic windows and sloping walls. Vertical walls and regular windows don't  touch the soul. A haven needs five sides as well as two ends.

God knows why.

(Stop to tell)

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