Bonjour lovely people in bikeland and everywhere else. Mrs. A here, because there's no workshop update this week. Why? Because we've been having some long overdue time off and we couldn't be arsed to write one!
The simple truth is, we haven't had any real time off since we got married, almost five years ago. And even that week was spent grafting in the garden to make it presentable enough to have a wedding in it. So, we decided to take a week off and it has stretched into two-and-a-bit. Have we felt guilty about not working? Of course. Has that stopped us from eating nice food, enjoying every second with our daughter and pooch and deciding to be semi-retired in a couple of years? ABSO-FUCKING-LUTELY NOT.
Everybody says there's more to life than working, but we have really realised it. Especially since we don't actually spend our money on anything lavish. Maybe if we wanted a stonking huge house, a 21-plate car, Rolexes and all the trappings of a commercially-driven existence, we would keep slugging away, but we don't, so sod it. We took time off. We didn't earn any money (because it's a shitty idea to both be self-employed and not accrue any paid holiday etc) but it's been really nice. It's also been weird, reflective and, at times, very sad.
With no work to consume our thoughts, we've been even more aware of just how crap some of the things our closest friends and family are going through really are. From a cancer diagnosis to parents with Dementia, not being able to make ends meet and countless other hurdles, we're floundering in our attempts to support people. Because what can we actually do apart from say that we are here? Don't even get me started on what is happening in Afghanistan right now either. It doesn't matter what we donate to and which MPs we petition to take action, nothing feels like we are tangibly doing anything to actually make a difference. For many, this is just what life is about, but when you add a dollop of depression and anxiety into the mix, the feeling of gut-wrenching helplessness really is overwhelming.
BUT. There are little things that inspire hope every day. We announced we would be doing the 300-mile ride for Cancer Research again this year, this time as a whole family, and lots of you instantly donated. You didn't have to, there was no obligation, but there you all were, being generous and leaving utterly fucking hilarious messages that told cancer where to go. Many of you donated because this shitstain of a disease has impacted you personally and yet you still have the kindness of spirit to donate. It's amazing and though we are just riding our bikes, hopefully our collective efforts will make enough of a difference to ensure someone else survives, or a family gets access to the counselling they need. We can but hope.
Personally, I've been despairing at the world for a long time. From dickheads that spout about personal growth but still engage in toxic behaviour to timewasters, people who are rude to shop staff and everyone in between, I don't see a lot of good in the human race. Everyone is just trying to survive and live in a way that brings them joy, but when it's selfish and causes others harm, I just wonder why the fuck any of us try to be decent. Why do I bother declaring my earnings and paying tax? Why do we support local wherever we can? Why don't we just buy everything from Amazon and help old fucktard Bezos disappear into space in his giant penis rocket forever? URGH. Do any of you ever feel like it's all just a big waste of time? Mind you. Bezos is the richest man in history, but he still can't grow hair, so it's not all a win is it?
On the back of this cheerful post comes some positivity, because we are even more determined to make our dream of a remote farmhouse come true. Gavin will have a workshop where he plays with all his old cars and makes occasional bikes for people he likes. I'll have a space where I try to convince myself I can sew, as well as a bloody big allotment and at least one pig. Life will be as simple as we can make it. You'll all be welcome to be part of it, as our friends and customers, but if these few days have taught us anything it's that we really don't give a flying shit about all the dick-measuring and bluster. We didn't think we did anyway, but wow. A few days of not looking at the bollocks of Instagram really does a brain good.
We're not building a million bikes a year and that's fine. Not every enquiry leads to a commission and that's also fine. We don't do shows because we don't find them honest and they cost a fortune. And you won't find us gracing cycling mags or dripping in swag because none of our friends work for industry big-hitters. We're small, honest and happy about both.
So that's my big old downer of a blog for you! I'm off to eat toast, listen to Prince, cuddle my daughter and beg Gavin to let me rip out one of our bathroom suites so we can renovate. I hope you all have a great day and an even better weekend and we'll catch you back in the workshop from Monday.