I’m going to tell you a secret. It’s a secret that’s been simmering away, weaving in and out of our lives since Christmas. No big deal but with the potential to be life-changing. Robert has been granted his voluntary redundancy.

Let me fill you in. Robert has worked for government’s arm of nature conservation since his late twenties. The organisation, then known as the Nature Conservancy Council, reinventing itself as the new-improved English Nature during the nineties and recently morphed into its present guise as Natural England. The organisation has changed hugely over the years and its latest remodelling and reshaping has resulted in a slimmed down version of the original – which, of course, is in line with government thinking. Robert needed a change and when the organisation decided to float its scheme of voluntary redundancy, due to cut backs and a shortage of funds, he applied. Why? For no other reason than he wondered what would happen!

He was told he wouldn’t get it. He voiced his objections. Papers were reshuffled. He was informed he has been moved to ‘group one’ (the most likely candidates) only to be told several weeks later that once again he didn’t stand a chance. You get the picture? Our life was on hold. Did we move forward with plans or did we put all ideas on the back burner? Negotiations continued, another deadline came and went – still we were none the wiser. We tired of the ‘yes-it-is’ ‘no-it-isn’t’ game. Got on with what we do best, but still, in the background, was this unsettling possibility. Then, last week, out of the blue, and when we really did think nothing would happen, he received an email that congratulated him of having had his redundancy…approved!

In a chaotic mix of exhilaration and downright fear our lives have been thrown into space and fallen earthwards in a plethora of ideas. Already I’ve had the builders round, been in contact with Business Link and talked to friends that have been party to the last six months uncertainties, embryonic thoughts and ideas.

Watch this space. Could it be a move to the West Highlands of Scotland to run eco-holidays? A vineyard in Provence? Or will it be converting the farm to total self sufficiency in all forms of energy, water and food, alongside an eco residential build and a green oak teaching facility? Whatever, these will be challenging, life-changing decisions.

bog pimpernel