Thoughts from the back of beyond.

The back of beyond is where I want to be.  And I am back, in the back of beyond. I have come in a full circle.

It is difficult to imagine that such isolation can be found in this overcrowded little island, and yet in the north Devon area, around Hartland Point, it is almost possible to go off grid.

The nearest fuel is about 20 miles away and the local shops sport little other than canned food and the occasional brown, rotting banana.

I have been coming here with my late 18th Century parents in law for nigh on 35 years, and their three daughters, straight out of Jane Austen.

In the 90’s I was furiously dealing in junk bonds and Nasdaq new issues. I had to climb to the top of a local muck heap to get a faltering signal and put my orders through to a bemused broker in New York.

Despite the evident disapproval of my in laws (busy sewing tapestry and looking for Mr Darcy for the other two daughters), I am grateful for those years of frenetic activity.  Without those harried times I would have spent my life as a slave in some awful bank, in some ghastly metropolis.

My childhood was spent in the back of beyond, metaphorically at least. My pleasures were carpentry and the sea, walking and reading. I wanted to be a farmer or an artisan. I never wanted to end up in the City of London, let alone those of Tokyo or Hong Kong.

Did greed get the better of me? Or necessity perhaps.

But I am back where I started.  Sitting on a deserted beach in the middle of nowhere. Quietly walking the leaf clad lanes; noiseless other than the bleat of sheep, the call of birds, the murmur or sometimes crashing of the waves.

It is an area of the most profound peace. A few artists and potters, the odd jolly lesbian commune, growing organic vegetables and probably a few cannabis plants or magic mushrooms.

For many years I have pictured a more permanent existence here; who knows, perhaps I too could grow magic mushrooms and live on thin air.  It is the sort of place where my young investment banking son is almost tempted to do the same.

Need the world always be so busy? Need we be dominated by busyness? Do we need salesmen and CEOs, greed and corruption?

Perhaps we do. But if I had my time again I would probably opt out and join the jolly lesbians on their commune.


  1. I think of my little wood shop as you think of Hartland Point. I spend 40 years in the rat race that is Corporate American. Escaping to my shop immersing myself in 17th and 18th century technique has kept me sane.


    1. 40 years! Wow, that is a lot longer than I managed. I blew a fuse when I was 34 and abandoned a client in Jakarta. Flew home, resigned and spent the last lord knows how many years trading financial markets for my own account. For better and at times certainly for worse!


    1. The first stop is to experiment with consciousness. I may take up helping one or other parties on the research side.


  2. The photographs are breathtaking.
    It’s interesting to me to realize that when I was younger, I wanted to live in a big city, where everything was right within my reach. But as I get older, I appreciate such isolated places SOOOOO much more. Time just slows down there.


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