First Quarter Review 2016

Each year for the past few years I’ve been doing a year end review; books I’ve read, films/tv programmes I’ve watched and other things related to work and the allotment. You can read the end of 2015 here, if you’re interested.

The problem I have is trying to remember stuff (that might be an age thing). I guess that the things that were really good, tend to stick in my mind, as they should, but some of the things that were okay but not outstanding, tend to get forgotten.

So I thought I’d try doing a quick review of each quarter of the year, during 2016; rather than trying to remember everything in December. We’ll see how it goes, and hopefully I’ll remember to do ones at the end of June and September!


Last year I went from being an employee to being self-employed. It was a significant moment for me, and started out well. Although the first three months of this year have been quieter than the tail end of last year, there’s still be a steady flow of work and this has also allowed me to think about goal setting for the year, and also work on some other projects. I don’t want to talk about those other projects at the moment, except to say that they focus more on the allotment / growing / fork-to-fork side of things, and although they are unlikely to make me rich (not that I ever particularly want to be rich), I hope that they might eventually generate some income, and perhaps give me a better quality more sustainable lifestyle. We’ll see.

I’ve also started much more consciously sharing my work side, posts on this blog like the Quick Links that are appearing on Tuesdays, and some new pages are a step in that direction. If anyone has any feedback on those things or any questions, then do please leave a comment below.


As you might expect the tale end of winter is a quiet time on the allotment, and although we’ve been continuing to harvest brassicas, leeks and a few other small things, not much has really been happening, apart from the bits that link to work (see above), and I hope I’ll be able to share more on that in due course.

Things are starting to pick up now though, as the weather gets warmer and heats up the soil, the risk of frost decreases and the days get longer. Soon things will be in full swing. I’m looking forward to what I hope will be a good, productive year.


So far I seem to have managed to read 14 books in the past three months, which I am quite surprised about. You can see what I’ve been reading here. Of them, there are a couple that stand out for me. Colter by Rick Bass is one and The Road To Little Dribbling by Bill Bryson is the other. The latter speaks to me because it touches on some of the things that I feel are going wrong with this country, and without wishing to get too political here and now, it was refreshing to read that I am not alone with my thoughts and perceptions. The former of the two was by a new author to me, and I’ll say now if you have a problem with hunting for food, you might want to give this one a miss, as Colter is a German Short-haired Pointer that is the author’s hunting dog, and a lot of the book is devoted to hunts. With that caveat I’d recommend both.

Films & TV

A few things here. Firstly the second season of Bosch, has just aired on Amazon Prime. I mentioned the first season in my review of 2015, and I’m pleased it was commissioned for a second season, and hopefully there will be a third. Although it was only released at the beginning of the month, I have already managed to watch all ten episodes and loved it! I’d thoroughly recommend to anyone who likes crime drama

I’ve also watched the most recent Bond film – Spectre when it went to DVD, although I enjoyed it, I don’t really want to rave about it as it was okay, but not that outstanding. If I was writing this in December I probably wouldn’t even mention it.

A final mention though for A Walk in the Woods, adapted from Bill Bryson’s novel of the same name. Again another DVD watch, but one that I really enjoyed. My only criticism is that it came to a somewhat abrupt end, and was over before I felt it really got going. Robert Redford and Nick Nolte were excellent.

Life In General

Is pretty good I think; we managed to have our first holiday in about three years in March, another benefit of being my own boss now and not having to worry about the threat of being made redundant. I’m enjoying working from home, and setting my own goals and timetables. I have lots planned for this year, and things I want to get achieved. So far so good though, looks like I’m on course.

3 thoughts on “First Quarter Review 2016

  1. David

    Hi, Alan! It’s wonderful to hear that your efforts at being self-employed are paying off. I know that making a decision like that is a big step and can be quite intimidating. But, to be able to stand on your own two feet in such a short amount of time is fantastic. It will take us a bit more time to be able to make a profitable income from what we produce on the homestead, but we knew this would take some time. But, the wheels are in motion.

    As you have mentioned in your blog entry, the security we do feel with not having to rely on a corporate manager/figure head for our success (or ability to make a living) is very liberating. Knowing that, if the economy failed tomorrow, we would still be able to put food on our table and keep a roof over our head makes it very easy for us to sleep at night. That sense of security wasn’t there when I was working for someone else.

    We really enjoy reading your blog and following your progress. The weekly quick links are interesting (although sometimes we can’t visit all of them), as we really enjoy seeing what interests our family, friends and acquaintances; as well as what’s happening in other parts of the world. Keep up the great work!


    1. Hi David,

      Thanks for your kind comments, being self-employed still means I’m reliant on others to an extent, but it’s getting there; with a little more effort in other areas I hope I’ll be even more self-sufficient. We’ll see!

      I think you’re well advanced on the homestead and that you will go from strength to strength.

      1. David

        I think you’ll get there, too, Alan. Just keep taking those baby-steps forward and keep your eye focused on “the prize”. You’re in a better position than most people in our modern day societies. Not sure about the U.K., but most U.S. and Canadian households are so deep in debt and reliant on “the system” for survival that, any level of economic hiccup will be disastrous to them when it hits.

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