This picture is of a hidden valley in the South Downs National Park. The truth is, you are unlikely to find it unless you go up to almost the top, down the track to the left, then down into the next valley, sharp right along the valley floor … yes, you’ve guessed it: I’m not going to tell you where it is. But last week my beloved brother Gerald was working there, clearing out the rubbish with his forestry equipment. Gorse, brambles, scrub soon overtake the grassland, and his job is to open up the pathways again, and give the grass a chance to regrow. What he did last year looks absolutely lovely now. This will look great in a year. (All overseen by the appropriate countryside ranger, you understand.)
So I joined him for 24 hours, watching the fire into the night, him sleeping in his stunning handmade traditional living van, and me in my trusty VW T4 camper. A fry-up. Mugs of hot tea. Rich mutually encouraging conversation – not least about coaching! Gerald is one of my closest friends, and I guess we’ll always be there for each other. It got me thinking.
Sometimes we fail to notice how the rubbish of our lives, the clutter of our homes, has gained ground. Sometimes it is only when a radical change like moving house forces us to really see it that we take action. And occasionally that can overwhelm us, we don’t know what to do or where to start. But the longer we leave it, the worse it gets. The thicker the scrub grows. The more ‘no-go areas’ develop. You ought to see my workshop! No, forget I said that!
If that’s you, the sooner you start the better. It takes honesty to face up to the need, but you’re the sort of person who can start, aren’t you? And if you need some encouragement, just let me know. I’ll help.
I’m not quite sure how I got my two-wheel-drive camper down there in the first place, and getting it out of the uphill deep-rutted tracks was a bit of a skill I thought I’d lost, but I made it home (with the overgrown rubbish sorted).
So will you.