Latest from The sticks




Only the beginning of August and summer already seems to have lasted for ever. Of course when I was working I was indoors all day in an air conditioned office and almost oblivious to the world outside, so maybe it isn't so different from other years apart from it's hotter with less rain. I've heard frequent mention of 1976. I remember that summer, between my 1st and 2nd years at university. The good old days. Little did I know then that I only had one more summer of freedom before the world of work would keep me indoors for the best part of every day for the next forty years. In Winter it was dark when I arrived and dark when I left the office. Retirement has reconnected me with plenty of fresh air and more manual work. I feel better but as I said last time it is hard work.

The rewards are different from work. I enjoyed my work and it was intellectually stimulating. I met a great many interesting people from around the world and I felt connected to the international community. I knew someone on every continent, apart from Antarctica. But I was never sure what my final job did to contribute to the overall welfare of the platet or its inhabitants - apart from those to whom, like me it paid a decent salary.

For the few years I worked for an agricultural company (cattle breeding, animal health and farm consultancy services) I did feel attached to reality. I could see how we helped farmers feed the population. No doubt my now vegan daughters would see it differently. Times have changed and everyone is much more aware of climate change and polution, and the role of agri businesses in both. But people do have to eat. Working in agriculture was more fulfilling than working in the finance sector. Over time and taking into account inflation and the hours worked there wasn't much difference in the pay.

Working for a finance company I had to keep telling myself that people needed money to start their business, to expand their business, to buy their homes. But I wasn't convinced we needed big finance to provide it, and after the credit crunch of 2007/8 the whole sector was tainted and in the run up to the Brexit vote and the warning that banks would move out of the UK I got tired of people telling me it was my turn to suffer now. As though everyone who worked in the finance sector was a banker on a big bonus.  

But now I can spend my time doing more or less what I want, although to be a member of any society requires commitments and obligations so it isn't a complete free for all. I've been enjoying the garden and the satisfaction of renovating it and the success of growing my first crop of vegetables for many years. But gardening also requires commitment and during the draught period it has demanded daily watering.

I'm planning to add more to the Weeds and Seeds section of the site to show the progress of the garden, but the outdoors life style hasn't left much time.

Previous front page articles

What's changed?

Recently Updated

Showcase Features

Maps for local walks

phoca thumb l IMG 0036

Selection of our walking routes on the edge of the Staffordshire Moorlands. All accessible from convenient public car parks 

Then and now


Tracing the  history of the house from early 1800s to the present day using historical documents and idenitying people who lived here before us


William Deakin restored

15 years of family history research available in our webtrees database (over 800 surnames and nearly 5000 individuals) plus a collection of birth, marriage and death certificates.  

Popular series



Transcription of travel diaries made during the last 36 years starting with India and Nepal 1981 and including USA 1983, Syria 1993, South America 2000 and South Africa 2014 together with photographs. This is a work in progress as the diaries are transcribed, so check for updates.

Route to the Soul

Route to the Soul2

Began as a romantic mixture of emotion and practical tips from two young students discovering themselves and life as they recounted their adventures away from home. The Student and her boyfriend shared their passion for each other, travel and their pursuit of a healthy lifestyle. Now the blog is maintained by the Student who studies and works part time on-line while she and her boyfriend continue their travels to explore the world. Her blog focuses on wellbeing and politics affecting the state of the planet & the lives of its inhabitants.

Seeds & Weeds

phoca thumb l img 0203

We weren't gardeners, we don't even listen to Gardeners' Question Time very often, but we have a large garden with plenty of potential and since I retired at the end of 2017 we have become amateur gardners. We favour the wild, natural look and like the birds, butterflies, frogs and other small animals but we want it to be looked after and we have recently revived and extended our vegetable patch. This section is dedicated to reluctant gardeners in constant fight against the weeds - solidarity among the nettled and scratched - the caterpillars, slugs, snails and multitudes of insects.

Rooted to the Spot

phoca thumb l batch 1 IMG 1244

Magazine style section with articles about life at the Sticks on a theme inspired by Brexit