Living with humans.

Living with people is hard. Even harder when you are introverted, not highly emotive, and overly practical about how to run your life. Even harder when your lifestyle is markedly alternative. But living with people can be handled.

As briefly mentioned last week, we were thinking of moving in with relatives and it fell through. And one of the reasons for it was quite simply that we felt we could not live with them at all. Their lifestyle clashed with ours, but there was a requirement that we merge our lives. And every pressure was put on us to change our own behaviours and accept the behaviours of the people we were moving in with. Which I suppose is fair enough, as they were there first. But neither Jon nor I are ready to change our lives so dramatically for anything or anyone. And the levels of drama were, quite frankly, massively above what we can tolerate, which, incidentally, is “as close to zero as possible”. So why try at all? Quite simply, we didn’t actually expect to have to change so much.

You see, we comfortably “live” with a couple we’re friends with semi regularly. We’ve had sleepovers, shared hotels, and our last holiday involved a solid week of houseshare. And although even arranging a single visit or day with the relatives was a nightmare, somehow living for a week with our friends was easy. We could do basic housework, arrange meals together, go places and even schedule my work and medical emergencies and shopping, all without a single falling out. So what gives? Why can we do that with them, but not our own family?

The core difference actually comes down to independence versus agreeability. Jon and I both have a strong desire to be independent, both as individuals and as a couple. So we aim to do as much as we can on our own. We also would rather things got done than did not, so we’re both agreeable as long as the work that needs to get done is getting done, but not at all agreeable when delays occur. And our friends are very much the same. They want to do their own thing and they want to do it in peace. So even though we were living together and doing things together, ultimately we were still operating as individuals and we were agreeable so as to enable all of us to continue operating as individuals.

Meanwhile, the main sources of conflict with the family were based around dependence and a need for agreeability beyond comfort. They were demanding to be informed of every aspect of our lives, insisting on helping us rather than letting us hire someone to do work, and getting upset whenever we chose to do something on our own. They were essentially demanding a merge of lives, a loss of independence to us. Share the dogs, let them take care of XYZ, put their needs first. And being highly emotive people, whenever we sought independence over communialism, they became upset. So rather than focusing on a problem, such as the dog needing somewhere to stay but them being unable to keep up their promises, or the solution, such as finding someone else to take care of her, we were expected to first and foremost focus on how we hurt their feelings throughout the situation. In other words, we were expected to be dependent on them and to be agreeable towards them. It was the complete opposite of our relationship with our friends.

I’m sure many people are happy to live with people who they are dependent on and agreeable towards. But ultimately, to avoid drama, you and the people you live with need to agree on your levels of interdependence and agreeability. Whether you want to lead completely isolated lives under the same roof or whether one of you will be completely dependent, you need to agree on that. And whether you want to handle everything bluntly or whether you need people to be sensitive to your emotions, you need to agree on that.

People can live together when they lead completely different lives. They cannot live together when their socializing patterns are completely different.

Let that be a lesson to all: before living with people, discuss dependence levels and how agreeable you need to be to each other. Because drama doesn’t come from disagreements, conflicting beliefs or busy lives. Drama comes from differing neediness.

TTFN and Happy Hunting!

 

For help starting out homemaking, check out The ESSENTIAL Beginner Homemaker’s Guide. For help budgeting all your everday and not-so-everyday essentials, from food to transport to clothes, check out On A Budget: The good homemaker’s guide to economizing.
Advertisements

Why He Doesn’t Want To Come Home.

A phenomenon Jon and I have discussed previously, to no great conclusion, was revived by the recent idle drivel coming from the mouth of the UK’s own minor version of Bernie Sanders.

The short form of the matter is that, however much men will joke about “well, it beats being home with the gf/wife”, an increasing number of men actually act on it. They will go drinking right after work, take on overtime, or even go and do an unpleasant job for a friend or relative, relishing the time away from home. And we were stumped. But a little more discussion, insight and thought has led us to a fairly satisfactory answer: he doesn’t want to go home because he has no space there.

Humans may be social animals, but we are also private animals. As fairly reclusive introverts, Jon and I know this more than anyone. And we can see that even the most outgoing of extroverts from time to time withdraws into themselves the same way we need to do on a regular basis. Humans need time and space to think, to be quiet, to work on solo projects and to unwind. For introverts its about recharging, for extroverts it seems more about reminiscing and planning, for ambiverts its a bit of both.

And for most of our lives, we get that time and space. From around seven or eight years old, the point where we begin to see ourselves as a unit of society and socialize more sacrificially, passively and/or empathically, we are granted a right to time and space. We get to walk off on our own, have our own possessions to keep us busy away from everyone else, maybe even our own room if money and culture allow. This is Retreat with a capital R. And we need it. As we grow older, this boundary becomes more defined, even with friends and family. We learn to tell people we want some quiet time, that we’re tired, that we wanted to read a book or watch a show. And we learn that when others say similar things, they also need their space.

For some reason, though, many decide to throw this harmony out of the window when it comes to looking for a mate. My only guess is that it’s based on the same mechanism whereby people will lose weight, learn game, or even join a cult to find a partner. We simply put temporary effort into changing ourselves because we know, consciously or subconsciously, that being better means mixing our genes with better ones.

Some also temporarily give these people their personal space. They don’t have their own room any more. They don’t even have their own bed. They don’t have any space in the house where they can be left alone. They don’t have any time where it is appropriate to say “I just want to read a book right now”. Because they are convinced that they need to hand their whole lives to the other person in order for a relationship to work.

But the problem comes in with that “temporary” clause up there. Just as with spontaneous weight loss, a bit of game or joining a cult, unless your changes genuinely become a core part of you, this effort will melt away as the relationship cements. You will grow tired. You will have days where you don’t want to talk at all, or where you just want to sit down and regather your thoughts after work. You will want your time and space back. And so will your partner.

But in this sort of relationship, nobody makes the first move to letting that happen. All of a sudden, the person they loved and wanted to spend every second with becomes a chain around their ankles. They won’t shut up, they keep walking in on them gaming/reading/listening to music/indulging a hobby, they start pushing to do more things together to “relight the spark”. They both resent this constant presence and paradoxical distance.

And that is why he doesn’t want to come home. Because she is there. She is always there. It isn’t his home. There is no peace, no quiet, no time and space for him. There is no Refuge.

Of course, you needn’t spend any time apart to prevent this situation from developing. Jon and I easily spend every free minute together. He doesn’t have to go to the pub after work and I don’t need a girls’ night out to recover and get some social space. But you have to learn to be alone together sometimes. You have to be quiet, and restful, and minding your own business sometimes. Absence makes the heart grow fonder, but a little peace and quiet goes a long way.

TTFN and Happy Hunting!

What are your observations on couples who can’t spend time together? What are the ways you and your partner meet the need for Refuge? Have you tried being alone together?

 

For help starting out homemaking, check out The ESSENTIAL Beginner Homemaker’s Guide. For help budgeting all your everday and not-so-everyday essentials, from food to transport to clothes, check out On A Budget: The good homemaker’s guide to economizing.

Let’s Have A Serious Discussion.

There is a lot of debate on the subject of serious conversation in relationships and how good or bad it can be. So I am weighing in with this revelation: serious discussion is not kryptonite to romance.

There is a social rule that says that when in polite society you don’t discuss religion, politics or air your dirty laundry. And for some reason we have decided that every romantic relationship, from teenage dates, to courtship, to marriage, is the most extreme form of polite society. That you will never get the attention, sex, affection or commitment you desire if you speak about such terrible matters with each other. Keep your opinion on abortion between friends and your religion for your family, but your husband doesn’t need to know. Talk about foreign policy with your brothers and your emotional hangups with your best friend, but don’t let your girlfriend hear a word.

Of course, this is all well and good if you’re starting out in a relationship with a lot of interest in the other person, a specific goal in mind and don’t want to ruin it by having a huge argument about welfare programs a week into knowing them. You want this to work and, of course, until you’ve got to know each other a little, you don’t actually know whether their religion would be a dealbreaker to either of you or whether you are happy to live with their diagnosed mental disorder forever.

But it seems that people hold onto this approach far beyond it’s usefulness. It’s the standard idea that if something has worked for a week or a month, it will still work. And, of course, far more relationships make it into the third month when you see each other once a week, hang out like teenagers and never meet the other’s family or learn their ideologies. So your head does the math and says “Well, it seems we are more successful at keeping people around when we just don’t talk about anything serious.” And you keep doing that. Which is fine if all you want is to go along for the ride and then to step aside when a better prospect moves in.

But if you want something specific or lasting, that approach just isn’t conductive. Your two hundred exes don’t make you a relationship expert who is doing the right thing. They either make you someone who only wants sex and/or brief companionship or someone who is going about romance and relationships all wrong.

Instead, what you should do once you’ve built that basic layer of trust and familiarity is build intimacy. And intimacy is built by showing your emotions and expressing your thoughts, not by keeping up a facade indefinitely. Frank, friendly debate is good for that. It allows you to deal with charged topics in an amoral setting, to discuss things that matter to you without worrying that this discussion will harm the relationship.

Of course, in the modern world where we’ve come to believe everything is a debate platform, it’s also important not to let your discussions turn into cold political shows for any possible onlookers. When you start a debate on abortion in a restaurant, be certain your partner will be more defensive of their point and appearance than loving towards you. This sort of discussion isn’t exactly organic, but it does flow naturally when in a private setting where both of you feel at ease being honest and appreciative. You don’t want them to be on the defensive. You’re not trying to convert or convince each other. You’re just talking in a relaxed, private setting, to get to know each other. In such a setting, not only will the debate become deeper and more varied, but you will learn a lot more about the other person. And learning about someone in a private setting is good for bonding. Even if what you learn isn’t all good, the little details and those shreds of humanity that you pick up on can make you realize whether they, the relationship or your perspective are more important to you.

Not only is it possible to love someone passionately and disagree with their stance on the housing crisis at once, it can also be a source of romance to have that debate, to tickle each other’s brains and establish that playful push and pull that makes you close. If you can create playfulness and intimacy around serious disagreements and still love someone despite believing them to be objectively wrong, it’s also arguably a sign that you’re going to last a long time. After all, if you are able to discuss all sorts of things, find no dealbreakers and understand that everything is less important than you two as a unit, then something is going right. And the longer the relationship is and the more you talk, the more comes to the surface. Meaning being ten years into an honest relationship where you see each other daily puts you on better ground for knowing where it’s headed than being ten years into an uncommunicative relationship where you see each other weekly. If after ten years of talking the butterflies are still there, that is important. If after ten months of never talking the butterflies are still there, that is meaningless.

So whether your relationship started as one of tens of ignorant romantic partnerships or arose from one of tens of close friendships, if you want it to last, a discussion on Faust wont do anything that another two months wouldn’t do anyway.

TTFN and Happy Hunting!

Marriage As A Team.

With the advances of no-fault divorce, women usually being secondary or non-earners, staggered alimony and the assumption of female primary caregiving, it makes sense that a lot of men aren’t really all that interested in marriage. From a purely economic perspective, even if the stats actually show your risk of divorce is well under 50%, there’s still a risk. How many people would put their head into a tame lion’s mouth? It’s still a lion.

However, curiously, women have started to question marriage. At least during the years when we are likely to have a more successful marriage, which is 25-35. Which is odd, considering that we risk very little in marrying and stand to gain so much from either a lifelong marriage or divorce. From a purely objective standpoint, women should at least be ambivalent for men’s sake, at worst be callous supporters. But, as a population, we’re not.

The social demonization of marriage that started in the 60s and 70s is catching up with us. The angry, bitter radicals who called marriage slavery out of one corner of their mouths whilst stalking a man across the globe have finally persuaded most of Western society, men and women alike, that marriage is an evil institution. And they have done so by making it a zero-sum-game.

The basic concept of a zero-sum-game is: someone always wins, someone always loses. In the context of partnerships: one of you will be better off than when you were single and one of you will be worse off than when you were single. And the idea that marriage or long term partnerships are zero-sum-games has infiltrated every corner of our society. Feminists will claim that marriage is anywhere from manipulation to slavery for women, so they must seek to control their relationships carefully. PUAs will claim that marriage and long term relationships are shackles to the minds of men who do not dominate their relationships. Your Joe and Joan Average will work their very hardest to evenly split all their work, incomes, chores and time, so as to guarantee a balance. Everyone is convinced that if you aren’t getting more out than your partner, you’d be better off single.

Which is very scary, considering it undermines one of the main functions of marriage: to grow with each other. The purpose of marriage is to create a mini-community. Which, in our fairly empty, disconnected, callous world, is highly needed as many of us don’t have a larger community anyway. It’s meant to bond two people, get them working in sync so that they both have more than when they started, so they can look after their elders and have and raise healthy, happy children. That was the entire point of marriage.

Therefore, when we try and treat it as a zero-sum-game, as an individual vs individual competition where when you aren’t doing better than them, you’re losing, we aren’t in a marriage. You may have the certificates, but all you’re doing is coexisting, or, worse even, competing.

Instead, when you’re in a long term relationship of any kind, you should be looking at the relationship as the whole and yourselves as the halves. You are not factories, but production units in a little factory. And you should be working on everything you can to keep the factory (your relationship) functional and profitable for both of you. And this becomes quite a cycle. For example, how Jon and I work together to give ourselves a better life:

  1. Jon works full time so he can afford to rent this house. +space
  2. I care for the house so he doesn’t have to. Meaning the house is more worth having and leaving us more together time. +time
  3. I can cook him far better, healthier meals than he could cook himself in the time he used to have, saving us money on snacks and supplements. +money
  4. Because the house is so big, I can use the spare bedroom as an office to tutor from. I can also grow our own food in the garden. +money
  5. Because I work as a private tutor, I can earn £10-25/h, rather than minimum wage of £6.50/h not including travel and expenses. +money
  6. Because I work from home, I work on my own hours. +time
  7. Which means I also can arrange my work day to take advantage of discounts, offers, reduced price foods. +money
  8. Which means his disposable income hasn’t actually dropped much from when he lived in a single room. +money
  9. Which means the need for overtime is reduced. +time

If we both worked full time, split the chores when we got home and only had that little remainder together, we’d have less money, less free time and eventually not be able to afford the space we live in, the quality of food we eat or the entertainment we use. In short, if we acted as individuals, our quality of life would go down. So basically, by working together, as a unit, viewing time together as our main free time, and our assets as shared rather than split, we have both improved our quality of life. He has a larger home, better food, more time with me, more time for leisure activities, more flexibility with work and more money in the bank at the end of the month than when single. I have a larger home, better work prospects, more time with him, more time for leisure activities and more money in the bank at the end of the month than if I were single. We’re in a relationship and by viewing the relationship as the unit and ourselves as component parts: we both win.

So no, long term relationships aren’t a zero-sum-game where there has to be a loser and if you can’t spot the loser, the loser is you. They are a team game where you both work together and use your assets to protect each other’s assets, multiplying the rewards for your work. They are an investment in a partner that, if well -calculated, will pay you back. If you can’t spot the loser, but you’re richer, happier, with more free time and a generally higher standard of life than before: you’re not a loser, you’re playing the game right.

TTFN and Happy Hunting.

What is your view on long term relationships? How does your relationship or marriage work? What do you feel your personal investment gives back to you as a couple? Do share!

Two Weeks in the Life of the Rural Housewife.

Two Weeks in the Life of the Rural Housewife.

“So what is it you do all day?”

Two Weeks in the Life of the Rural Housewife.

See Also:

Elspeth’s Week in the Life of a Suburban Housewife.

A Week in the Life of Hearthie.

Introduction.

Inspired by LGR’s extract from “A Lesser Life” and Elspeth’s counterpoint, I decided to actually document what I do over the course of two weeks. Now, I am under no illusions that I work more hours than Jon or that my work is harder. He is by far making the greater sacrifice to keep us in this house and guarantee our happiness. However, I don’t believe I spend all day messing around online either. I predict that this will show that either online time or art time is a bit excessive, if not both, but I am hoping it will be a realistic illustration into the life of a woman who works hard at home to improve the couple’s financial situation, leisure time and independence.

End of Fortnight Review.

[Seeing as the records below are a bit too much to expect anyone with a half-lively mind to read, I’d recommend at least going through one day so that this will make sense.]

So, as predicted I do actually spend most of the day on chores. I don’t whiz through the housework by half eight or nine and sit around blogging all day. But why is it that I kept so busy?

  1. Of course, my main tasks aren’t many more than a 50s housewife’s. And, having no children, they are lessened and made easier. But the more personal jobs and the little jobs around the sides really do add up. Every child, pet and square foot of garden, for example, mean something that needs attending to at least once per day. Having no children means that all I have is the garden and the pets. But that’s still time.
  2. Seeing as Jon is the main earner and has other things to do when he gets home, that means cooking and buying food in fall on me. Shopping economically, foraging, preserving and cooking all take a reasonable amount of time.
  3. Then we have the secretarial tasks. Even without my work, there would still be emails to send, eBay sales to manage, phonecalls to make and research to do. Things Jon doesn’t have the time or means to do when he’s at work. We also have the tasks that just build up, or happen. Tidying is a day-long job, especially  when many other tasks are being done or when it’s more than just yourself in the house. Cooked lunch? Time to tidy. Child/pet emptied a laundry hamper? Time to tidy. Lessons ended? Time to tidy. Putting things back in their right places keeps a house neat and comfortable and saves a whole weekend of organizing, but it does add up over the day. It’s like you’re playing a continual game of tug-o-war against mess and dirt, where letting your guard down for a day or so loses you a disproportionate amount of ground.
  4. And finally, the work doesn’t really end in the morning, or at lunch, or when we go to work or when hubby gets home. It only truly ends when we go to bed or go to sleep.

However none of this is bad. We seem to associate chores with the stress and pain of being forced to do them as a child, or having to do them after a long day of work, but these are not punishments: they’re jobs that need doing. There’s a reason that suffragette housewives going on strike actually had an effect. When the children aren’t dressed or fed properly, when they miss school or don’t do their homework, that’s abuse. When the house is dirty, moldy and damp, that’s unhygienic. When everything is out of place, that’s stressful. When the animals aren’t properly cared for, that’s cruelty. When the garden grows wild that’s a waste. Your house is where you recharge your batteries after a stressful day, hide from people and things you don’t want to see, raise your children, keep your more precious belongings. All this is what makes it a home to most people. A house in disarray provides no shelter or comfort. And maybe when it’s just the one person you can keep on top of the basics so that it’s at least accommodating after a day at work. But the more you add to a house the more needs taking care of, especially when you add more people. When you want a large home, an attractive garden, good meals, many children, dinner parties and plenty of spare time after work to relax and recharge for the next day, someone needs to keep everything tidy, every room clean, every living being fed and happy, so that everyone else can relax. When there are no housewives, everyone must pull more weight than before, either to pay for someone to do their work or to do their jobs in their own free time.

Of course, it sounds like the fairer option, but it’s arguably the least economically wise. When first thing after coming home you must do the laundry, set the table and feed the cat, you look forward to your home less and less, regardless of whether you’re a CEO or a schoolchild. People are less motivated to do well in their more stressful endeavors when they come home to even more stress. When you hire a nanny, a housekeeper and a gardener and eat out all the time you are costing yourself money, no matter how many extra hours you put in to pay for it. When the house degrades there is nothing pleasant to come home to, so the household dynamics degrade also and everyone spends more time outside the house, making almost everything under the roof unnecessary.

So a good housewife is neither a lazy parasite taking in someone’s hard-earned cash and playing bridge all day, nor an underpaid, overworked maid. A housewife is simply a different beast entirely to an employed or unemployed person. A housewife has more free time between 8 and 5 than an office-worker, but does by far more hours of work than someone who is unemployed. The work-day starts when the eyes open and ends when they close, but is nicely divided up with coffee-breaks, TV shows and bonding time with a healthy, happy family. Of course, a housewife’s work is not directly moneyed, however it can encourage the earners to put in more hours, not take days off for secretarial work and finish their work in good time, which results in more household money, which earns her keep. The results are similar to those of being employed in a well-paid job. A businessperson may earn a lot of money, but spend a large portion of it on house maintenance, travel, meals out, nannies and daycare with a comfortable remainder for leisure. The housewife earns the remainder by proxy, through the extra work the earner can put in, has all the jobs done and saves the money that would have been spent on labour. The only missing variable is tax. Likewise, a housewife’s work is not a back-breaking, dull job nobody would ever enjoy. Many people choose house maintenance, cookery, childcare, animal keeping or gardening as their moneyed jobs. Of course, housekeeping is a job that encompasses many small jobs and there are jobs that we don’t like, but the variety is welcome and every form of work has jobs you would rather not do. Housekeeping is just another job in most ways: you earn your quality of life, you are free to leave and find another job, you can fit in a second job, there are parts you like and dislike, you have work time and downtime. In fact, as a tutor working from home, it’s very similar to being self-employed: you work your own hours, your breaks are longer, you may work two or ten hours a day, you may have a quiet week or a busy one and finally, you’re completely at the mercy of your own prior choices, of other humans with no obligation to pay you, of sheer chance. But many people will likely view the tutoring work as a more noble and valuable pursuit than the housework. And the main reason is that the tutoring provides cold, hard cash. Even if it provides less for me, I am helping strangers to meet their goals for which I will receive nothing but monetary reward, where my earnings are inconsistent and dependent on people to whom it matters nothing whether or not I eat. But I guess money is more important than suck fickle things as stability, home, family, happiness or fulfillment.

My conclusion? Jon definitely does the lion’s share of the work. He puts up with a work environment he doesn’t enjoy, he can’t just cancel a week because he feels a bit unwell, he brings home the consistent and usually the largest paycheck. As such he is the master of the house, he gets more say in what happens over the weekend, he always gets asked about larger expenses before they happen and he even gets a say in whether or not I’m allowed to take time off my tutoring work. He is the financial pillar of the household and that earns him some respect. However I also work hard to pull my weight, not out of some desire to outcompete him, to balm my guilt or to feel like I’m smashing some magical social force. It’s because we’re a team. The work we do should complement each other, so as to better the quality of life shared by the household. He is our financial pillar. His time and energy is dedicated to work that means a stable income that is high enough to support us both even if I weren’t working at all. I am our leakage manager and financial bolster. My time and energy is dedicated to work that saves us money and makes some extra money on the side. Both improve our quality of life. It is not a zero-sum-game where someone wins and someone loses, but a self-regenerating cycle of brilliance: He brings home the paycheck so we can afford a large house with a garden. Having the space, I made a spare room into a classroom so I could work from home and earn us more money. As I can afford to work from home I have eliminated any travel costs and time associated with work. This means I earn more money per hour, which results in more time to invest into housework. This means Jon doesn’t have to do any housework at all. This means he has both more time to put into work and more time to put into leisure. Which means even more money for the household. Which gives me time to forage, tend to chickens, grow our own food, hunt for bargains and plan leisure time. Which allows us to live a very high quality life. We eat largely fresh meat and vegetables. We get home-baked bread, assorted fish, game, berries, nuts and cakes. We have a weights room equipped with barbells, dumbbells and stands as well as other assorted items and we make regular use of it. We have National Trust and RSPB memberships. We go to London from time to time. We have a well-kept, attractive garden that provides us with fruit, vegetables and eggs from our hens as well as a place to sit outside and enjoy a cider in the Summer. We go on long walks, we hold dinner parties, our house is nicely decorated and furnished with everything we need and desire, our wine stand is stocked as is our bookshelf. We’re planning for a child, for some job changes, for a smallholding. We further each other as well as ourselves. It’s a joint endeavour. And whilst that’s not what a housewife necessarily does, it’s what a housekeeper should do.

The Records.

Monday 15th September.

6:30- Alarm went off. Very tired from last night. Woke up, turned it off, dozed.

7:00- Got out of bed. Changed hens’ water, fed hens, opened the coop. Fed cat, put kettle on.

7:20- Returned to bed with Jon.

9:00- Woke up properly, responded to a few emails.

9:15- Blog, started writing this.

9:30- Got up, washed and dressed. Tidied house (make the bed, put away dirty and bed clothes, put some posters up, take cups downstairs, put cat toys away, take everything to its respective room, clean litter tray, put away food in pots), washed dishes, put away laundry, put new load of laundry through. Film in background (Dreamworks Short Stories and The Eye).

11:00- Sent students homework. Ate quick breakfast (2 pre-prepared hard boiled eggs, cream cheese and cucumber on home-made spiced bread) whilst working.

11:25- Prepped Jon’s supplement pillbox for the week. Changed the bins.

11:30- Making jam. Continue with film (The Eye).

12:50- Found spare car keys and WD-40 for Jon as his main set of keys got jammed in the lock. Made tea.

13:00- Heated curry for Jon’s lunch and stew for mine. Had lunch with Jon.

13:30- Continued making jam.

14:10- Ran out of jars for jam. Tidied up. Looking for more jars on eBay. Mess around online.

14:30- Hung up washed laundry. Changed hens’ bedding. Let hens range on lawn. Tidied house.
15:00- Messing around online.16:00- Checked hens. Collected peas and beans for dinner.

16:20- Checked tutoring sites for more potential students.

16:25- Started listing eBay items.

16:40- Washed dishes, sorted computer problem.

17:40- Herded hens back to coop.

17:50- Prepared dinner. Messing around online.

19:00- Started weights with Jon.

20:00- Put hens to bed. Had dinner. Watched TV with Jon.

22:30- Went to bed.

Tuesday 16th September.

7:00- Got up. Fed hens and cat. Cleaned litter-tray. Got breakfast ready and put kettle on.

7:10- Had breakfast.

7:45- Let hens out into garden. Saw Jon off. Showered. Cleaned bathroom.

8:05- Tidied bedroom, moved everything to its respective place, washed the dishes and cleaned the kitchen surfaces. (Film: Dark Skies.)

9:00- Made stew, messing around online.

9:35- Blogged.

10:30- Tidied the garden.

12:30- Finished stew, blogged, made shopping list.

12:50- Made tea, had lunch.

13:30- Headed into town to do shopping, banking, etc. Gathered hazelnuts on the walk home.

17:25- Got home. Tidied the shopping away. Put the hens in the run.

17:45- Made jam.

19:30- Watching TV with Jon.

20:00- Made dinner. Started shelling hazelnuts.

22:00- To bed.

Wednesday 17th September.

7:00- Got up. Fed hens, fed cat, cleaned litter-tray, had breakfast, let hens out.

8:00- Relaxed a little.

9:00- Got dressed. Tidied laundry away. Tidied everything back into its place.

9:50- Working out lunch recipes.

10:10- Shelling hazelnuts.

11:00- Preparing lunch.

12:00- Lunch in oven, shelling hazelnuts.

12:50- Had lunch.

13:30- Shelling hazelnuts.

14:30- Messing around online.

15:00- Tidying kitchen and washing plates.

15:45- DIY jobs.

16:30- Blogging.

17:25- Put hens into coop, open gate.

17:30- Shave legs, tend to nails. Film in bg (Wilderness).

18:15- Walk dogs, collect pears.

19:00- Weights with Jon. Put hens to bed.

20:15- Dinner.

21:00- Relaxing.

22:30- Bedtime.

Thursday 18th September.

7:00- Woke up, fed cat, fed hens, cleaned litter tray.

7:20- Back to bed. DOMS.

10:00- Got up. Washed patio, let hens out, washed dishes, tidied bedroom.

10:40- Blogging, making list of tasks.

11:10- Breakfast.

11:30- Making bread, pie, roasting hazelnuts.

12:50- Made lunch for Jon. Watched TV.

13:30- Tidying up after lunch.

14:00- Started chutney.

14:30- Tidied garden, put out bins.

14:45- Messing around online.

16:00- Finishing legs and nails.

17:00- Tidied beauty bag away, looking for pullets.

17:25- Tidied kitchen some more.

17:50- Put hens to bed.

18:00- Showered, made fish stew.

18:30- Messing around online.

19:00- Skype Dad.

20:00- Watch TV.

22:00- Bed.

Friday 19th September.

7:00- Got up, fed cat, cleaned litter tray. Got dressed.

7:30- Fed hens, let them out.

7:45- Prepared classroom.

8:10- Sorted emails, blog.

8:30- Lesson started.

10:30- Lesson ended. Coffee break.

10:45- Next lesson started.

11:30- Lesson ended.

11:45- Cleaning kitchen, washing dishes.

12:15- Messing around online.

12:50- Lunch with Jon.

13:30- Messing around online.

14:30- Emails.

15:00- Lesson starts.

17:00- Lesson ends. Tidying up classroom.

17:30- Feed cat. Have tea. Make shopping list.

18:00- Go shopping.

18:45- Walk dogs.

19:00- Mess around online.

20:00- Dinner.

21:00- Put cat and hens to bed. Watch TV,

22:00- Bed.

Saturday 20th September.

6:30- Get up, feed cat, feed hens, let hens out, clean litter tray. Back to bed.

9:15- Get up and dressed.

9:30- Prepare lesson.

10:00- Lesson starts.

12:00- Lesson ended. Tidying classroom.

12:15- Make and have a sandwich.

12:30- Go to post a letter with Jon.

13:00- Blogging.

13:25- Tidy kitchen, start stew and chutney.

13:40- Blogging.

14:30- Weights with Jon.

16:00- Emails and homework. Lesson plans.

18:30- Walk dogs.

19:00- Messing around online.

20:00- Made chutney. Tidied kitchen.

21:00- Blogging. Messing around online.

21:50- Tidying kitchen and living room, photographing selling things for eBay.

22:30- To bed.

Sunday 21st September:

7:15- Got up, fed cat, fed hens, cleaned litter tray, put kettle on, put rubbish out, let hens into garden.

7:45- Back to bed.

9:00- Got up, got dressed, tidied bedroom, made Jon breakfast, had tea.

10:00- Went shopping and foraging.

12:30- Got home, unpacked, tidying kitchen.

13:30- Shelling hazelnuts.

14:30- Make Jon lunch. Shelling hazelnuts.

15:15- Messing around online.

15:30- Hoovering, laundry.

16:35- Put up sign on gate.

16:55- Making Jon tea, weights.

17:30- Dinner at Pat’s.

19:10- Home, drinks and a film.

21:00- Make tea, put the cat to bed.

22:00- Bed, drinks, TV.

Monday 22nd September:

6:45- Got up, started breakfast, fed cat and hens.

7:15- Sat with Jon.

8:00- Emails, eBay, messing around online.

9:00- Got dressed, tidied house.

9:20- Put laundry out.

9:30- Washed dishes, tidied kitchen.

9:50- Prepared lesson.

10:00- Lesson.

12:00- Lesson ended, tidied up.

12:10- Made lunch.

12:50- Lunch with Jon.

13:30- Let hens out.

13:35- Getting changed. Tidied kitchen, did dishes.

14:10- Messing around online.

14:30- Change chicken coop.

15:00- Go to town. Drs, shop, hazelnuts.

18:00- Home. Made stew.

19:00- Shelling hazelnuts.

20:30- Had dinner. Messed around online.

21:20- To bed.

Tuesday 21st September.

7:00- Got up, fed cat and hens, showered, back to bed.

9:45- Got up and dressed, let hens into garden, collected herbs.

10:00- Baking.

12:00- Making lunch.

12:50- Lunch with Jon.

13:30- Preparing for lessons.

14:00- Lessons.

18:00- Lessons over. Tidying classroom, sending homework. Fed cat.

19:00- Cooking.

19:30- Relaxing evening with Jon.

22:30- To bed.

Wednesday 24th September.

7:15- Got up, fed hens, fed cat, sorted breakfast and teas.

7:45- Prepared for lessons.

8:30- Lessons.

11:30- Lessons over. Sent homework, making lunch.

12:50- Lunch with Jon.

13:30- Planning next lesson. Blogging.

14:00- Lesson starts.

15:30- Lesson ends. Tidying classroom, sending homework, checking eBay.

16:00- Doing some research for Jon.

16:45- Relaxing, painting. Watching Goosebumps.

17:30- Make tea. Sit with Jon.

18:30- Painting. Watching Goosebumps.

20:00- Making dinner. Eating dinner.

22:00- Bed.

Thursday 25th September.

7:05- Fed cat, fed hens, put kettle on, made breakfast.

7:45- Got dressed, did laundry. Watching Goosebumps.

8:25- Did dishes, tidied kitchen, sorted emails.

9:15- Painting, watching Goosebumps.

10:30- Tidying, cooking.

11:47- Blogging, phone calls, cooking.

12:20- Making lunch.

12:50- Lunch with Jon.

13:30- Preparing for lessons.

14:00- Lessons start.

17:45- Lessons end.

18:00- Blogging.

18:40- Laundry.

19:00- Relaxing, watching TV, blogging.

20:05- Heating dinner.

21:00- Attending to hens.

22:00- To bed.

23:00- Shower. Back to bed.

Friday 26th September.

6:45- Got up, fed hens, let hens out, treated injured hen, fed cat.

7:05- Packed Jon’s bag. Having coffee with Jon.

7:45- Let the car out. Blogging.

8:00- Messing around online.

9:00- Depressive peak. Forced crying so as to get it out of the way before work.

9:35- Preparing for lessons.

10:05- Lesson starts.

12:00- Lesson ended. Making lunch.

12:50- Lunch with Jon.

13:30- Relaxing, messing around online.

14:00- Preparing for next lessons.

14:15- Lessons start.

17:10- Lessons over. Tidying up.

17:20- Put hens in coop, fed cat, prepared for shopping.

18:00- Shopping.

19:10- Weights with Jon.

20:30- Making tea and dinner.

21:00- Dinner.

22:00- Drinks, TV.

23:00- To bed.

Saturday 27th September.

7:55- Got up, fed cat, fed hens, cleaned litter tray.

8:15- Measured Jon for weights records.

8:45: Got dressed, having breakfast and coffee.

9:15- Tidying house, did dishes, ready to go out.

9:55- Blogging.

10:20- Headed out to Derby. Opticians, shops, market.

13:45- Home. Unpacked, cooking food.

14:00- Had lunch. Tidied.

14:20- Blogging. TV.

16:00- Tidying kitchen, bins.

16:45- Sitting in with Jon’s weights..

17:30- Tidying house. Preparing for lesson.

18:00- Setting up. Watching TV.

19:00- Lesson started.

20:00- Lesson ended. Tidying up, emails, helped Jon with a form.

21:00- Made dinner. Had dinner with Jon.

22:00- To bed, watching TV

00:00- Very late night.

Sunday 28th September.

7:00- Got up, fed hens, checked injured hen (healing well), closed garden, let hens out.

7:15- Back to bed.

10:30- Got up showered.

11:00- Tidied, made breakfast.

12:00- Cleaned kitchen, did dishes.

12:20- Emails, student hunting, homework.

12:50- Getting ready to go out.

13:00- Setting off to Carsington Waters.

15:40- Home, unpacking shopping.

15:45- Making stew.

16:00- Blogging, relaxing, messing around online.

16:35- Making stew, having coffee and watching TV.

17:00- To Pat’s for dinner and dogs.

19:00- Home. Cleaning bathroom, finishing stew.

20:00- Sorting laundry, packing eBay sales, sending emails.

21:00- Read, watched TV.

22:00- To bed.