I rise early, awoken by natural daylight streaming through the open curtains rather than by an alarm.
I get up and throw on some practical, comfortable clothes.
I pop down into a cosy, AGA warmed kitchen and place the whistling stove top kettle on to boil, whilst greeting and feeding various cats and dogs, who are all eager to see me.
The kettle cheerfully whistles at me and once armed with a warming cuppa, I slide on wellies and a warm jacket and out we all go, dogs, cats and all, to check on the chickens and have a tour of the very productive acre or two. We might all stop to appreciate how beautiful and peaceful early mornings are from a vantage point with a view.
I make a mental note of some little jobs to get done out there today.
Once all the animals are fed, watered and had some freedom to do the necessary, it's back to the cosy kitchen to prepare the day's loaf of bread. My furry troop of companions all settle themselves back down for a snooze in the warm, whilst I potter about preparing sustenance for the day.
Mr D arrives downstairs and makes himself a cuppa.
We sit and eat breakfast together - poached eggs on the last slices of yesterday's loaf and chat about what we're going to achieve today.
After breakfast, he goes out to start his jobs outside, whilst I finish off the bread and check what vegetables I'll need to pick for today's lunch and dinner - we eat predominantly vegetarian to make the most of our home-grown produce and to be economical.
During the day, we are outside most of the time, working alongside one another (we make an excellent team when we work together), stopping occasionally for a cuppa or lunch. We have amazed ourselves at how much we have learnt along th way, which we didn't know we could do.
By the end of the day, we have worked hard, but it's all been for our benefit and at our pace. We have spent time outside and together, practising the new skills we have gained along our new life path. We have gained a deep feeling of satisfaction in our hearts, peace in our heads and a reassuring ache in our limbs. In the evenings, after our simple meal, we may choose to watch a little TV or read by the stove. Then back off to bed to rest our tired bodies ready for another day ahead.
There are no alarms, no commuting, no consumerism, no excess.
We spend very little on food, preferring to eat our own produce. We are ultra careful with fuel, preferring to put on extra layers rather than heat a house. We use wood, collected as far as possible by ourselves to heat the stove. We think about our water usage and are prudent and not wasteful in everything we do. Clothes are only washed if absolutely necessary and line dried. I make our own laundry liquid, handwash, soap and cleaning products.
Excursions to supermarkets or other shops are kept to an absolute minimum. Clothes are only bought if absolutely necessary and before buying new, thrift shops are searched for bargains.
The house is clean enough, but I am not obsessive anymore, preferring to be outside. I have learnt that people will not judge me on how clean my house is if it's warm, comfortable and welcoming - besides with lots of animals, you can't be too clean! It's an old house anyway so a little dust and lived-in look suits the house better.
Mr D looks about ten years younger and has lost the 'haunted' look he has been wearing for the last ten years. We have much less money and nothing spare for material things, but we are peaceful and happy. There are still stresses and we still work hard, harder even, but we are the bosses. Friends and family love to come and visit, enjoying their glimpse into our 'dream' lifestyle.
This is what I spend hours and hours dreaming about. This is what I'm aiming towards. Is it possible? Are any of you living this dream already and if so how do you finance it? Do I have to wait until all my children have left home? What can I do now, to help this dream become a reality? Perhaps, you have words of wisdom and advice you can offer me to help me nudge closer towards this view of my