The southwest
After much procrastination, I finally set off today with a handful of index cards, a diary, a video camera and a little pot of glitter – there ‘has’ to be glitter.

I hadn’t put off my departure, more like my departure time just kept shifting, as the phone kept ringing and the emails just kept pinging into the box…but isn’t that the way it is most days…
We have to learn how to flick the ‘Off’ button – from the computer and occasionally, from life.
I’d spent far too long trying to nail down every moment of the forthcoming 10 days and it seemed the more I moved forward, the more I kept being dragged back.
The media appointments have been tricky to fit in around my visits to brilliant downshifters and I’ve had to bend with the wind to accommodate them, but they’ve put more than a few spanners in my well oiled works.

The thing is, I want to embrace the media – the local radio and papers aren’t quite like the telly lot – they usually tell the downshifting stories of everyday folks in a positive light and I feel it’s incredibly important they continue to do so.

Downshifting isn’t a fad, it’s not a passing trend, it’s certainly not rife with sandal wearing nutbags (although having said that, I do know a few), but you get the idea – downshifters are everyday people, just like you and me.

And the media machine goes some way to normalising their behaviour by making it more socially acceptable to give up the car,  shop locally,  grow a few fruits and veg,  wash less, consume less and give a positive embrace to living with less.  But it needs to ramp the pace up to encourage more people to join the movement and wear their downshifting hats with pride.

So,  once I turned the darned computer off and set off on my journey, I felt an overwhelming flood of emotion flow through me.  I felt quite tearful to be honest.  Not because I was worried about the trip, or the travelling, but because I’ve got the most amazing line up of people to meet and things to do that hopefully will inspire another batch of aspiring downshfters to take those first steps towards a bit of self-sufficiency and simple,  green living.

And that’s immense…

Tomorrow I leave Cardiff and trade it in for Gloucester then head up to Stoke and beyond.  I’m seeing the amazingly inspirational Rachelle Strauss of Zero Waste fame and her gorgeous family and we’ll chew the cud on rubbish, knitting and this and that!

It’s time to turn in now and as I prepare to find my PJs and lay down my head, my overriding memories of today will be spending time with the volunteers atNACOA’s office in Bristol and teaching the guys how to knit their community blanket!  It was a hoot! They were terrific sports and by the end of their lesson, the fellas were quite enamoured with the concept of a bita knitting!  They remarked how relaxing it would be to do, in between taking calls from the children of alcoholics who ring the help-line.

Knitting, sewing and making are not just practical skills we’d do well to get to grips with, but they’re very enjoyable and relaxing too and in a convivial group situation can be a bit of a hoot….

I’ve learned recently there are hundreds of knitting groups around the country, often fondly termed Stitch and Bitch groups and I’m going to meet a few on my travels over the coming days.