Simple living definitely helps in a heatwave. Lucy took a few days off from cycling all the way to work, and stopped to get on the Park & Ride bus instead. Brian has been avoiding doing strenuous gardening and housework in the heat of the day and pottering in the shade or in the evenings. The new gravel seating area in the garden has now hosted our first few outdoor evening dinners. There’s no need to be rushing around and overheating: better to hang out in the comfort of the shade and be grateful to be there.

07 02 Achillea

Yarrow (Achillea) – a big garden success this year



Stunning native Purple Loosestrife in the boggy area of the garden



Brian’s home-made mushroom soup at the garden table…



…followed by home-made gooseberry & red berry jam, with the gooseberry bush itself in view


We’ve also been enjoying: smelling the jasmine which is now in flower, watching our tame Woodpigeon (Frank) go about his business, having a few summer days out, taking time to read the newspapers and thinking/talking about how the events of this year have given us a kick up the backside about how engaged we are with the world, and what we might do about it next. Articles such as this one about ‘hope in the dark’ are inspiring to us.


Feeling lighter by casting off unwanted stuff…


..that is the aim of de-cluttering, which is something we’ve been missing since our big years of de-cluttering in 2012-13. We tried to write down everything we got rid of over many months, hoping to achieve the one item per day target of the 365 Less Things blog, and in the end we got rid of more than that.

It couldn’t go on forever, because at the same time we were reducing our spending habits and bringing less new items into the house, and so for the last couple of years we have not been able to find much to get rid of.

Over recent weeks, we caught up with lots of other blogs such as What I Shed Today, and Be More with Less, and reminded ourselves that it isn’t only material items which you can cast off for a simpler, lighter life. It can also be digital clutter such as not-very-good photos and music, and perhaps most importantly, it can be mental or lifestyle clutter – ideas, thoughts and burdens that weigh you down.

A look around the house also revealed that there are now some more materials items we can get rid of.

So: Its time for a new de-cluttering mission. In the last week we’ve got rid of some more books, clothes and shoes, and deleted lots of bad songs: Lucy is listening to our digital record collection A-Z doing quality control. We’re currently on C. Brian is trying to cast off his sugar cravings too. Every day we can ask ourselves: what can I cast off today?

These are not really new year’s resolutions, as the timing was coincidental. We are always trying to simplify our lives and are these are just our latest pledges.

Finally, a further thing was reduced this week: Lucy’s hair, during the first (and very successful) home haircut by Brian! Evidence below:


Hummus and Humanness

First of all, hummus:


It’s amazing that we’ve never tried this before, but this week we successfully made our own hummus WITHOUT use of a blender. This was made with a potato masher. It’s so much nicer to have it rough-textured. It tasted better than shop-bought and made the  house smell of lemons and garlic.

We also made jam from the garden gooseberries. Far more delicious than any shop bought stuff. You don’t have to worry about having a jam pot or a thermometer, or even jars – we put ours into mugs. These simple processes, that don’t involve many ingredients, difficult techniques or hours of work, are definitely the most satisfying.

As for ‘humanness’…occupying our minds at the moment is the question of what to do next: in our own lives (as we can perhaps now focus away from money and onto other things that matter) but also for humanity as a species!

This week we went to the launch of our friend’s book, which included a viewing of the film ‘I Am’, and this came at just the right time. We both seem to have spent our whole lives questioning ourselves (and everyone else!) about the right way to live. What is enough? How prepared are we to live in a way that reflects what we believe about how to be a good human? Who should be compromised when we make our choices – us or the rest of the planet?

Its important to us to ask the big questions and try to find a way to live that makes a difference. But big questions take a long time to answer, and in the meantime we try and remember that you can always be doing something, no matter how small, if it’s pointing in the right direction then it is making a difference. You can be thinking about the big questions while you do the little things.

For example, the home-made hummus means one less plastic tub in the bin. Looking at these images should motivate us all to produce less waste! Lucy letting her hair go grey means less chemicals down the drain and less time worrying about roots showing. Turning the heated towel rail off for the summer saves a bit of electricity. Spending more time with our family and friends gives us an opportunity to hear other perspectives and be reminded of what matters to everyone around us. And we hope this blog is a little extra drop in the ocean too.