The Good Life 2012


When I was growing up I used to watch re-runs of the British Sitcom ‘The Good Life’ (The Good Neighbors in the US) but back then I had no idea that as I grew older I would identify more and more with the characters in it. Inspired by the lifestyle of Barbara & Tom Good and growing up in the countryside of the Lake District meant that I was always outdoors, spending time in the family garden, eating home grown produce, horse riding, cycling and living a pretty good life. However, a part of me also wanted some of what Margot had. I saw her as having fine food, a well stocked booze cabinet and expensive clothes. Moving to the City to study a Design Degree the good life was soon behind me as I focused on the joys of being a student, continuing my education by taking a Masters in Software Development I was going more and more down the career path. When my career took off I wanted to be Margot even more, status symbols such as nice cars and hobbies such as clothes shopping became my life, but then something just happened and I naturally started to be drawn back to my old lifestyle.

In 2002 I moved just 6 miles out of the city to a more rural location and applied for an allotment. The location really is the best of both worlds, having the countryside on my doorstep and the City only 20 minutes away. Since then Barbara and Margot have been my alter ego’s. Unlike Tom Good who left the ‘rat race’ on his 40th birthday to live a completely self sufficient life with Barbara I am still in the rat race and sometimes even enjoy it. So how can I achieve the best of both worlds and will I be able to sustain both? Unlike Tom Good, I don’t have my mortgage paid off or live in surbiton with a huge garden I can convert, I need to work to pay my mortgage and the bills. However, I don’t believe the work I do is in any way unethical or pointless so there is no problem there but at times I do feel like a living contradiction.


I know my dream is to once again live completely in the countryside and own a small holding, but to get there I need to work hard and I need to avoid burn out along the way. Achieving both and maintaining work-life balance without overdoing things is difficult and therefore I use the best parts of what I learn from my job to improve efficiency at home to allow me time to switch off and achieve balance through my other interests. So far it seems to be working pretty well, however, I’m still improving many areas of my life and this is what I intend to share on my blog.

AllotmentMy allotment


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29 Responses to “The Good Life 2012”

  1. Mr WordPress August 27, 2012 at 9:43 am #

    Good luck with your blog!

  2. Anna B October 20, 2012 at 9:27 pm #

    Thanks Mr. WordPress ;)

  3. ThinkPurpose November 3, 2012 at 8:55 am #

    Hi! You followed my blog. I’m always interested why so many IT people do. About 2/3 of followers seem to be. I’m not IT and only wrote once or twice about it, as an outside bystander. Anyway, as an IT person, what is in it that’s interesting? Been desperate to ask for ages.
    Nice first post. Don’t let it be the last one! :)

    • Anna B November 3, 2012 at 10:19 am #

      Hi ThinkPurpose! Firstly thank you for your comment :) It’s so funny because I’ve been thinking about blogging for ages and getting this together has been a wonderful hobby and distraction from work to be honest, but now it’s live it feels kind of weird! I did have a bit of bloggers block but I think I just need to ‘get on with it’, so hopefully it won’t be my last post.

      In terms of the questions about your blog, I can see why ‘IT’ people would like it. So, you have to admit it is a bit geeky – it’s intelligent and makes you think. If you take IT as a whole and really stereotype the people then programmers can often be big thinkers, trying to solve the world (or at least talking about it a lot) so a blog which makes you think appeals. Also some programmers are, erm, quite cynical (I have to say I’m a total optimist and it has been noticed by several of my peers and managers that I’m a little different to the average programmer) so some of the jokey flavours in your blog appeal to those character types – I would think.

      Systems thinking is massive in software, taking a holistic view of software design rather than just hacking. Plus Mr Deming has had a massive influence in agile development. IT people can be thoughtful too! So there you go, that’s just my personal perception though, I could be wrong! It would be interesting to find out what your other readers think.

      Thanks again for taking time to read my blog.

      Anna :)

  4. Sarah November 3, 2012 at 2:04 pm #

    Blimey, your veg plot makes mine look like a rubbish tip… Looking forward to reading more about it.

    • Anna B November 3, 2012 at 2:08 pm #

      :) It’s taken me years to get it like this and help from the husband – all the woodwork is his. There are definitely still areas which need a lot of work though, it’s never ending. Perhaps I’ll do a post which tours round all the areas I need to improve.

      Thanks for reading and commenting Sarah :)

  5. Jo November 3, 2012 at 7:25 pm #

    Thank you for visiting my blog and leaving comments. At last, you have a blog too. Your allotment looks really well kept, I wish I could say the same about mine, there’s currently standing water on it, and it hasn’t been very productive this year. Where abouts in Leeds are you? I’m in Garforth.

    • Anna B November 3, 2012 at 9:49 pm #

      Hello Jo! Yes, I love your blog!! Didn’t realise you were in Leeds too! I’m in Rodley. My courgettes, squash, pumpkin and potatoes suffered this year for the first time ever and I can only presume that was due to all the rain. Normally I have marrows coming out of my ears! Looking forward to starting again in spring too. Although my flowers are still doing really well and my greenhouse has been amazing. Thank you so much for visiting and your comments :)

  6. judithegardener November 4, 2012 at 5:58 am #

    Lovely Blog Anna, a really insightful read. I am about to embark on a new project that begins soon with allotment clearing and soil preparation. I shall follow you and enjoy.. Best wishes, Judi.. :-)

    • Anna B November 4, 2012 at 7:57 am #

      Hello Judi, thank you so much! The plot next to mine has just been cleared and they’re putting a greenhouse up. Exciting times! Hope you enjoy your project, really interested to know how you get on. Thanks for stopping by :)

  7. patientgardener November 4, 2012 at 12:25 pm #

    Good luck with the blog and to also sorting out your two alter egos. I think many of us hanker after a more gentle life after a while of working in the city. I know I did, at a half way stage at the moment but getting there

    • Anna B November 4, 2012 at 6:26 pm #

      Hello patientgardener! The gentle life is definitely more preferable! Thanks so much for your comments and for stopping by :)

  8. Laila Noort (@sowandso) November 5, 2012 at 7:51 am #

    I very much enjoyed reading your blog post. We have finally made the transition to move to the country side a year ago. Unlike you I have grown up in the city so all this horse poo and mud is new to me. You are lucky to realize that you need both! Will be looking forward to your new posts.

    • Anna B November 5, 2012 at 9:23 am #

      Hello Laila! Thank you so much for your comment! I’ve just followed you on twitter because I’m really interested in knowing how you’re getting on in the country :) Thanks again, Anna

  9. b-a-g November 5, 2012 at 7:30 pm #

    Hi Anna – Enjoyed reading your first post and look forward to more. I remember watching The Good Life, Margot was my favourite character.
    I can identify with you, working in an office too. It does feel a bit like having two sets of values. If only gardening could pay the bills!

    • Anna B November 5, 2012 at 8:37 pm #

      Hello b-a-g! Thank you so much for dropping by and for your comments. I’m enjoying reading your posts too! Yes it is like having two sets of values for sure and on a nice day my values definitely veer towards the garden! Seeing it all frosty and sunny this morning just made me want to stay home. I think an office in a shed would be perfect!

    • Judi Samuels November 6, 2012 at 6:28 am #

      It does, well partly.. I am a professional Gardener.. but I have to say, times are tough during the winter months and living as frugally as possible is my survival strategy. I am so far out the gate, after two years in business, I couldn’t go back to the office world. There is so much life after working for large organisations.. After redundancy I went for it and so happy that I did! This profession is nature and nurture every day and I love the learning, it never ends and that’s what is so wonderful to me. Always happy to talk all things horticulture. Best wishes, Judi.. :-)

      • Anna B November 6, 2012 at 8:55 am #

        Hello Judi :) I’m always so happy when redundancy is taken as an opportunity and things work out. I’m so pleased for you. My husband is also a gardener (yes he helps me a lot at the allotment! He is the woodworker and flower grower) so I know it is possible to make a living from it. In fact I know a few gardeners who just love their jobs. Completely agree about “so much life after working for large organisations”!! Earlier this year I left a huge company and I must say that just taking those steps to work for smaller enterprises has changed my life for the better!! Really happy you stopped by Judi and I’m looking forward to reading about all your projects. Best wishes to you too :)

  10. Hannah November 6, 2012 at 4:40 am #

    Beautiful, authentic writing Anna, I’m so excited you have started a blog!!! You are a natural, and I can’t wait to watch your blog and your garden grow :)

    • Anna B November 6, 2012 at 8:56 am #

      Thank you so much Hannah! It really means a lot to me that you have dropped by :) x

  11. Allotment adventures with Jean November 12, 2012 at 9:09 am #

    Dear Anna. I live in Australia now but did spend four happy years up in the Lake District. A beautiful part of the world and I always felt so lucky that we had the opportunity to work up there.
    I am really looking forward to following your blog about your allotment. Our seasons are upside down here in OZ of course. So it’s good to read what is happening over in old Blighty.

    • Anna B November 12, 2012 at 9:31 am #

      Hello Jean! Thank you so much for dropping by! I’ve just had a quick look at your blog and I’m going to really enjoy following your adventures in Australia! Seeing your summer will brighten my day :) Thanks so much for your comments!

  12. Erin M November 22, 2012 at 6:05 pm #

    Hi!! I’m processing your blog for Blotanical. Every now and then I preview one that I love. Yours is one of those. I am heading for the store, but I’ll be reading every word later.

    • Anna B November 22, 2012 at 8:59 pm #

      Hello Erin! Thank you so much for your lovely comment! I am really happy you like my blog! Thanks again :) you’ve made my day!

  13. Erin M November 22, 2012 at 6:07 pm #

    Oh…and when I was much younger, my husband and I were addicted to The Good Neighbours. Although I don’t think it was reruns? It would have been late 70′s or extremely early 80′s.

    • Anna B November 22, 2012 at 9:03 pm #

      Hello Erin! I believe it started in the UK in 1975, I was born a year later so it’s possible I saw some of the original showings when I was young. I’m not sure how long the series ran for but I was an 80s child so did most of my watching then.

  14. Ann June 16, 2013 at 7:40 pm #

    Hi Anna, I’ve just come across your blog and I’m really pleased to have found another person that loves leading a double life influenced by both Barbara and Margot! I’m one of those few people that likes going to London Fashion Week as tending to plants on our lottie! Oh, and I do love the blog! Ann x

    • Anna B June 16, 2013 at 9:00 pm #

      Hiya Ann! Thanks so much for your comment! It is nice to enjoy the best of both worlds but I think I’m definitely more into the good life! Thanks so much for dropping by :-)


  1. Published from the plot! Taking time out in the garden - dig the outside - June 27, 2013

    [...] I started my blog for many reasons, one being a reminder to switch off from work and concentrate on the things I enjoy in my life. [...]


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