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  • Writer's picturePhil Charters

mmm... Blog

In all honesty I'm not sure what to write for this blog post. When I'm in the swing of it you'll no doubt get a barrage of rants and pseudo-technical instruction from the most recent ram-pump failure to slug-filled electric fence modules (already happened) but maybe this should just take the form of an introduction. After all, I wonder what it is you want to hear from the Bubble. Why are you reading? Is it the nitty-gritty, the down and dirty, the ins and outs of communal life? Or a liturgy on the possibilities of a life lead back to nature and off-grid? So. My name is Phil...

I am 34. I made five packs of butter this morning, I will be training horses this afternoon and very shortly there will be a miniature version of me landing wet and screaming at the welcome mat of my responsibilities. None of that was true twelve months ago. Twelve months ago I would have been no cleaner, but I would have been, maybe, at least on first inspection, Normal. I lived in a terrace house, I drove a car, I worked during the week and un-worked at the weekends. And that would have been Phil until the giddy excitement of retirement and then The End. I may have eaten more locally or organically and I probably would have used less plastic and recycled more but I can't think of an event that would have changed the way I think more than that rainy weekend I first set foot on Bubble soil.

And it so nearly didn't happen. I was tired on a level beyond physical. Its a difficult thing to explain but maybe you already know what I mean. If you've found this website then maybe you are searching the same way I was, some ten or twelve years ago. I didn't realise it at the time but I was looking for meaning, for purpose. Because sometimes you can do it all right, listen to all the advice, take the seemingly correct route, work hard, study and mind your manners but be doing all of this within a world that is not your own. I scratched the surface of my own world, like a strawberry scratch-n-sniff, by reading stories and articles on people that had left mainstream life. Some of them were inspiring and some of the places people had setup were beautiful. I wanted that escape yet so many stories and so many paths I searched down seemed to exact a toll.

More often than not the stories told of people leaving high-living corporate lives to buy land or property. These were people with accrued or inherited wealth. I was a mechanic in Yorkshire. I worked to afford a house I didn't like, to live by people I had no connection to and I was sustained by food wrapped a hundred times in plastic and grown miles and days away. I felt trapped and I had very nearly given up hope that a life existed which was simpler, sustainable and healthier. I didn't want to drive six hours to spend a weekend in rain, awkwardly making small talk with strangers but it was an escape. Something I needed fiercely.

I won't describe the fun of a forestry weekend here, it deserves it's own post. The stories, the music, fire brightened smiles and Donuts! But the impact of the trees and the people and the exhibition of lives lived by principles so quickly brushed aside in my mainstream life acted as a guillotine on my dreams. There was no more worry of the next job or the house that needed to be bought. What I considered important dissolved like a sandcastle meeting high tide. I got home on the Monday after forestry and began cutting ties and packing life onto the back of my bike.

I still bear a bit of that grey skin under my nails from the strawberry scratch-n-sniff. Living here always makes you consider your impact on our world but with the help of Tinkers I put a dirty great rip in that old paper facade called life and stepped through. Deities of this land know what happens next...

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