Wednesday, November 23, 2005

creating a passion pearl from the grit of everyday life
There are people I admire – people who seem to have followed their own path, knowing that this is their birthright, and in so doing created their own world or changed the world of others – Tori Amos, Jeanette Winterson, Hugh Fearnly-Whittingstall, Peter Jackson and, to a lesser extent, Simon and Wendy. Eight years ago, Simon and Wendy bought a near-derelict castle in the Lake District wilds. They said goodbye to their London lives and drove to the hills. It was a gamble of course, but one that paid off handsomely. Augill is beautiful and, as we discovered, they have been able to ease back a little and relax into the role of village royalty.
TA and I spent a night at Augill Castle four years ago celebrating TA’s birthday and we were excited to be going back for two nights to celebrate three years of marriage. The weekend was good, really good – it was wonderful to relax and spend time together, wonderful to walk down frost-encrusted footpaths, wonderful to feast on pub lunches, three-course dinners and decadent breakfasts. However, as Hallmark wisdom tells us: you cannot step in the same river twice. I was impressed and awestruck by how much Wendy and Simon had achieved and, as a spectator, pleased for them that they had managed to arrange their home life so beautifully, but as a guest at their castle I was disappointed that they had stopped going the extra mile, that the food was merely good rather than superb, that the luxury had been scaled back slightly and that they seemed ever so slightly disengaged. It was an incredibly expensive weekend away – money I do not begrudge spending but that is hard earned – next time we’ll go somewhere new. Seeing close up how others have realised their dreams, I was left ruminating once more on my own aspirations and how to bend the world to meet my desires. How do these people do it, what is the thing that drives them to achieve? I don’t have the answers yet, but I’m hopeful that I’ll solve the puzzle soon.

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