What? You want more stories and less oyster card wallet stuff?
OK, I got a bit carried away yesterday, but I’m still processing and I will come back to you with how I’m going to use this to better myself. Let’s keep away from Oyster for the moment, we can revisit that tomorrow, in the meantime, as Descartes once said, let me entertain you. Yes, it was Descartes.
Four years ago I was running CarbonCube still and the oyster wallet business was doing OK. I was minding my own business (literally) when I had an epiphany. It was to lead me to where I am now and will go down as one of the pivotal moments in my life. I handed over the reigns to Antony, bid farewell to the 9-5 humdrum and followed my calling, at the time, to learn how to build houses.
I’d always wanted to learn how to build my own house so I thought I should start to learn. It was also a good opportunity to see if I could give up control of CarbonCube for others to run the Oyster wallet side of things. I converted my van to a camper, moved my crap into storage and beckoned my cat, Thunder, into the van to keep me company on my travels.
I was to travel France for a year or so ‘Woofing’ (term used to describe people offering their labour in exchange for skills) and see where it led. It turned out to led me on an awesome journey packed with stories I will come back to in this blog later but let’s start at the start.
So I arrive in Benet just outside Foix, a sleepy village with about 6 houses. There are more cats than people and double that number of dogs. Water came directly from the mountain and solar power was our friend, let’s put it that way.
I was to work and live with an older chap, let’s call him Billy. Billy needed general help and was very experienced across the board. Instantly I knew I’d made a good choice and would learn a lot. After a few weeks Billy left while I was given a list of jobs to complete before his return and left with his friend and all-round useful carpenter, Tom.
Tom was a gypsy, as he liked to make known. Grown up fighting, a hard life kinda fella with a propensity to drink and smoke weed. The drink brought the worst out of him, the weed took it back within.
One late night, abound with tales I assume half filled with truth, half with hops he got angry. As we worked in the garage marking wood for cutting like a plastic surgeon annotates his victims, his girlfriend entered, unhappy with the late hour and lack of communication.
He lashed out. Non-violent, yet volatile - the type of argument which could have been avoided as easily as it could have led to murder.
In his frustration he barged past me and out into the night. I stayed to comfort Amy and when sufficient tears had fallen I set her back in her house. As I bid farewell and turned to the door, a noise.
And that’s where I leave you until tomorrow. Sleep tight children, don’t let the bed bugs bite.