Tag Archives: peace and quiet

Lockdown diversification

Just looking around, quite a few people have done interesting things over lockdown. A lot of ‘old markets’ went by the wayside, but there are other ideas whose time might have come.

Whilst catering and accommodation took a kicking during the full lockdown, they could well have seen something of a boost in this twilight world of sub-normality.

For holiday accommodation in England you can stay overnight in a hotel / Bed & Breakfast, campsite, caravan, boat, second home and ‘other accommodation.’

There’s the usual gumph about bubbles, households and six people or not.

The problem with these is that for the farmer looking for a diversification option, they often need substantial investment and you can have all sorts of issues with planners.
But it did strike me that we have something that a lot of people don’t have, space. A seat overlooking a pleasant view, perhaps under the shade of a few trees, might just earn you a bob or two.

The first thing is to organise the parking. Then a gate with a lock (with a combination) and a fence so people know where they can and cannot go. They can book an hour online through a site like Eventbrite, pay by card online, and when they’ve paid they get the combination to the lock.

Yes I know in some areas people will use the combination to steal the lock, but I’ve noticed more and more people using this sort of booking system for events where previously the public just ‘turned up.’

In the era of covid a booking system has advantages. You can guarantee that the person who pays for that hour of peace and quiet will be the only person who can get in during that hour. For events where more people can attend simultaneously (a Maize Maze for example) you can restrict the numbers so everybody can feel safe and socially distanced.

The other advantage is that once people have booked and paid their money, they tend to build their day around it. Whereas previously they might have looked out of the window and thought, ‘let’s give it another hour, see what the weather’s going to do,’ they’re far more likely to turn up for their slot. Especially if they’ve paid for it.

It has struck me that the combination of more ways to book online, a pandemic, and the desire of people to avoid crowds, could well have created opportunities that weren’t there a couple of years ago.

Mind you, I confess that I wasn’t bright enough to spot this latest opportunity. What did I do during ‘lockdown’? Well farming never stopped, if anything some of us have been busier. Also the whole ‘working from home’ debate has rather passed me by. I always have.

But I’ve always enjoyed science fiction. And back in 2013 I talked to a small publisher who wanted me to write some. So the first book came out in 2014. I went down to Loncon, the world’s biggest SF convention that year, and three of us shared a table selling our books. Did OK as well. The second book came out and then the publisher, as small publishers often do, sort of faded. Basically life got too busy and family commitments meant that they had to do the decent thing and gracefully pull the plug.

Anyway I had the manuscripts, I’d got halfway through writing the third book and so I just put everything on hold. I went off and wrote other stuff. Lots of it. But still in the back of my mind there was this story I was telling. Anyway with lockdown, whilst livestock still needs looking after, all sorts of organisations who find ways to inveigle me into doing stuff for them all went to ground.

So not only did I finish the third book but I went on and wrote the fourth as well, so the whole series was done. I know a lot of people are getting wary of buying into a series. The author could get bored, the publisher could pull the plug, and a dozen different things could mean the series never gets completed. Given that it’s seven years since the first book was published, I suppose this series has taken its time, but finally and at least, all four books are out there, published and available

When somebody shoots down a documentary maker, what are they covering up? Haldar Drom of the Governor’s Investigation Office on Tsarina finds himself dealing with illegal population control drugs, genetic engineers, starmancers, and the risk of brushfire wars. Who knows how far up the chain of command the corruption reaches?
You use what you can get, allies in unusual places, reconnaissance by journalist, or a passing system defence boat.

The rest of the books can be seen at