Winter is a funny old time at Fully Sussed.
Our main event season concludes, in a blur of tape, stakes and mud, in October. Once the aches and pains are healed and Laundry Mountain has been conquered, we are faced with a gap in the diary. The initial joy of being able to have a lie-in, lounge around on the sofa and do some PE at times other than 0600, doesn’t last too long and soon the Jimminy Cricket work ethic is chirruping about finding some gainful employment.
BUT I DON’T BLOODY WANT TO! A great skill among the self-employed, or as Del Boy called us “the self-un-employed”, is to live on beans and fresh air and wear a puffa jacket / woolly hat combo indoors. One of our bezzie mates is also self-employed, and a proper pikey skip-rat to boot. He can often be found with his legs hanging out of a skip when diving for treasures. He has standards just above eating road kill and has his arse hanging out of most of his clothes and kit. But he is the most talented surfer, kayaker, windsurfer, climber, mountain biker…the list goes on. And his chosen lifestyle means that he has time to invest doing these things, and dragging us along with him. Do we admire him for his sartorial elegance, flash car and gentlemanly grooming? Of course not, we love him because he is a walking, talking boys own adventure.
When we are choosing our latest Podcasts or Blogs to follow, do we choose people who are ‘doing a bit of agency work’, or those that are out and about in the great outdoors getting up to all manner of mischief? We would never put ourselves in the same category, but how gutted would you be to find that Ranulph Fiennes, on return from some highly sponsored bit of derring-do, got a job at Tesco in the winter? No, you want to imagine him training for his next futile but very exciting adventure, pulling tyres across the wilds of Exmoor rather than pushing trollies around Asda. That also leaves you the outside chance of shouting ‘Get a proper job!’ should you ever meet the work-shy weasel.
Still the niggling voice remains, and probably belongs to our bank manager. So we next find refuge in our stand-by position of self-justification, which goes something like – when I am inevitably shuffling off this mortal coil, assuming that I have the chance to leisurely reflect rather than a second of blind panic before I head-butt another tree, I don’t want to be looking back in relief at all the times I worked for minimum wage during the winter. I want to look back with a smile on my face, knowing that I humped every bit of life out of my aching body, albeit on a limited budget.
So during the winter we reach a compromise and manage to persuade ourselves that there is nothing better we could be doing with our time than building trails in Newnham Park! The South West racers are a demanding bunch who expect see something new when the Soggy Bottom series roars into life again, and who are we to deny them? We get to spend the day outdoors, playing with power tools and shovels, working out in nature’s gym. Just don’t expect a Christmas present.
Hand on hips, like a rock garden building, I'm a little tea-pot.