September 9, 2013 in Observations
I am still wearing shorts and a T-shirt. Socks are still a no go but I have taken to wearing a cardigan. Summer is moving to autumn but I refuse to accept it. We still eat outside when possible. Stiff upper lip and all that – a ruffle of wind will not blow us away. Outdoor rural life will continue until it becomes not impossible, but uncomfortable. But I do plan some winter BBQs. Country living and its effects. The theme of the new season.
During the summer months I took great pleasure in reading a series of books written by Carol Drinkwater. She played the role of Helen Herriot in “All Creatures Great and Small” and now can be found near Nice busy growing olives and pressing olive oil, amongst other activities. The books I devoured were her adventures in buying and setting up the olive farm as well as a documentation of her trip around the Mediterranean Sea in search of answers to all questions on olives. It struck a chord.
As we lumber up for the grape harvest and realise that this year won’t be one to write home about, as tomatoes, corn, courgettes are harvested, processed, frozen or eaten a niggling question burns at the back of my mind. How authentic are people in the business world and how does it impact on my training work. In other words, how much bullology do we have to put up with before it hits the fan?
These questions take on an added dimension when I stare into 2014 and the plans I have. For the last 12 months I have tested, with varying degrees of success and failure, various online options. I met up with a “content marketing agency” in Antwerp to discuss concept development. The outcome blew my mind, disturbed me and after a rather expensive dinner with friends, I had to ask myself some serious questions about company ethics and business morals and which service are we expected to provide. That killed the concept. Back to the office, wiser and happier. But fundamental questions remain. What does the ordinary person want and how much can that person still take?
It’s about squaring the circle really. Can hyper modern technology be made compatible with rural values and authenticity? Farmer Pepe or Farmer Fluke just go about their daily routines, tending the land aware of the woes which befall this world. They listen to the sermon on a Sunday, watch the news on TV but it might as well be in the next galaxy. When a freak storm rips through the property, wrecking furniture and cars, they shrug their shoulders. It’s nothing new, it wasn’t really a big storm. Just a gust, just go in doors. Don’t get so excited.
At the same time, somebody, somewhere, might already be in the 22nd century, wired to the hilt, tweeting, texting, what’s apping, Facebooking, blogging, eating mircro food and having cyber sex and quietly testing stuff we haven’t heard of yet. We see how Google, Apple and Samsung are trying to create the “next big thing” and how Microsoft are trying to catch up. One tends to forget the thousands of people on their respective payrolls. And as message after message, both political and economic, is rammed down our throats I can’t help asking myself, what’s this all about? I see others like us who chose to live in the country to get away from city madness but also come alive during a trip to Paris, London or Berlin. Farmer Giles travels to the big city and is blinded by the city lights.
People live in one world and yearn for another, thinking they are incapable of change. The tone of communication gets more aggressive, more desperate until it breaks down completely. Messages are mere sound bites, deemed too long if it is more than 140 characters or simply a picture.
And somewhere in all this upheaval I go about my business, working and building a bridge which I somehow see, connecting the sanity with the madness.