Monday, 17 August 2015

Tales from The Riverbank



After eight years of being self-employed I still have to pinch myself to convince myself that I'm not dreaming, that I won't suddenly wake up, pull on my morning suit and take the 6am express bus to Birmingham. I dress in second-hand from head to toe, I cut my own hair & a treat is a £4.99 vegetarian meal deal at Wetherspoons but returning to my previous life is unimaginable. I may never be wealthy but my life is a hell of a lot richer without the money and status my previous career brought me.


This weekend's commute sure beats the Aston Expressway. 



My office is infinitely more attractive.

Tewkesbury Abbey is just visible over the water.



The view from the office window is a lot more scenic.

WEARING: Vintage Van Heusen "Latitude" shirt & 1950s Levi Pantella shorts

...and the company is second to none!


This weekend took us to Brookestock. Set in the grounds of an Elizabethan coaching inn ,on the banks of the River Severn, opposite twelfth century Tewkesbury Abbey, the event started as a joke wedding invite from Steph & Richard Brookes, keen festival goers who married on the jetty. Their guests had so much fun that they decided to made it into an annual charity event with live bands, a silent disco and family fun.


Steph invited us to trade last year, guaranteeing we'd have a brilliant time even if we didn't make our fortune.


And she was right, we loved it.


We returned this year, looking forward to another chilled out, pressure-free weekend after two months of madness.

My fake fur jacket (borrowed from the Kinky Melon rails)

The days were free and easy. We opened when we were ready and closed when we fancied; we'd cook dinner (our staple camping food, haloumi & cous cous or chana masala), then grab a beer and walk for miles along the river bank.

Wearing: Vintage Swedish army jacket (Ebay), Skinnied-up trousers, cord trilby & fake fur lined walking boots (all charity shopped)

While we love live music and enjoyed Brookestock's day time acoustic sets, after 8 weeks of amplified sound, wandering along the tow path with just the chug of a passing boat or quack of a duck was perfect.



 The sunsets were spectacular.


And not being the last to bed was a real novelty.


The Lower Lode Inn was open to the general public as well as the festival goers and, as a well known biker haunt in addition to a popular spot for overnight moorings, visitors to our pitch were varied and fascinating. We met people who'd sold all they owned for life on the water, ex-paratroopers on an epic canoe expedition to raise funds for post traumatic stress disorder, Hells Angels, NHS workers, taxi drivers, school teachers, club promoters, musicians and wedding planners.


If I'd stayed in my corporate career I may have been able to buy one of these play things, but would it have made my life any better? I somehow doubt it.

Vintage nylon maxi with fringed sleeves (eBay, 2011)

Again we didn't make our fortune but we'll be donating a percentage of the weekend's takings to The CJD Network, Brookestock 2015's chosen charity after the loss of one of their friends from the disease last year.


Chilled, relaxed, sun-tanned and rested. No camping for us this weekend, just back to back vintage fairs instead, one in historic Shrewsbury and another in Moseley, Birmingham's Bohemia. Trading on an area other than grass, it will feel very odd!

53 comments:

  1. I don't understand that corporate life either. It seems so soul sucking. Give me the arts anyday. I may not makes buckets of money, but I make stuff

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  2. Gorgeous dress! Sounds like a beautiful place to visit :)

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  3. That looks brilliant. I love your dresses and what a fabulous location. I can feel the chilled out summer evening vibes even from here. I am in absolute agreeance. As a wage slave doing the daily commute I often think that there must be more to life than this, 6-7 hours a day that I will never have back. Kudos, for having the conjones to actually go for it. You are an inspiration to us all! Xx

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  4. You guys are living the dream ♥ xx

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  5. How I envy your escape from the rat race, I'm throwing money at my mortgage in an effort to be free of it and then I can think about working part-time. Brookestock sounds very chilled and just what you needed by the sounds of it. I'd love to have a few pints of cider with the bikers, look at that V twin! Very atmospheric photo of the silhouetted trees and love you in that fab fringed frock.xxxx

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  6. dear lady, enjoying your everyday life is the Best Thing Ever, never more having to wait for the weekend or holidays to have a real life!
    And that festival looks my kind of relaxing and interesting event, with lots of different people, some peace to rest, music and no boundaries!. You look particularly gorgeous and your pictures suggest a really relaxing vibe! Lovely!
    besos & festivals

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  7. I am soooooooo with you, free and beautiful like a bird you are richer than the richest. You own your time and make your passion become a reality.
    XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

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  8. Not terribly relevant to your post (though I love the ducks) but I saw this and thought of you as the old royal mail ads used to say:
    http://rhondabuss.blogspot.co.uk/2015/07/monday-morning-inspirationlilly-pulitzer.html
    http://rhondabuss.blogspot.co.uk/2015/07/the-dixie-diy-movies-in-park-sew-along.html

    :)

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  9. I just can't imagine you in your old life ... you were born for this one
    xx

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  10. Oh Vix, you SO did the right thing getting out of your old career - I really struggle to imagine you doing it, although I know you were fab at it! Your current life is you to a tee (and Jon too), and isn't that what so many of us strive for, to find something which pays the bills but doesn't make us want to chew off out own arm with either boredom, stress or misery? You work hard, but doing what you love, and yep, that's not a bad commute or work space, is it?!
    Brookestock sounds fab, just what you need after such a hectic summer - chilled and beautiful. A river with boats and ducks, glorious sunsets, lovely folk, and a sense of well-being - can't beat that with a fancy job!
    Looking lovely as always, and with just Moseley on the agenda this weekend, you'll have time for a Spoons trip and some well-earned rest, I reckon!
    Love you! xxx

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  11. A wee bit of peace for you finally! I love the water, any kind. Give me a lake, river, brook or ocean and I find peace. Glad things are slowing down for you. I completely agree, we downsized our life, bought a home that cost half as much and half as big, started our own company which employs us both and while we make 1/3 as much have a way better lifestyle! The view from your office rocks, as does your office boy:)

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  12. There's a lot more to wealth than money. You look like you have everything you need and all on your own terms. Well done you.
    Lokks like a beautiful place to spend some time. The last dress is very sweet. Did you pimp those sleeves with fringing or is that original? xxx

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  13. Ooo, fringed sleeves!
    How idyllic the srrounds are, just lovely!
    Choices, that's what it comes down to. You made a great choice that is paying off beautifully for you!
    Love Helga XXX

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  14. Living the life, living the dream - isn't it grand. I love to say I'll never be in another corporate meeting in my life! You and Jon look marvelous here, peaceful and loving it all. xox

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  15. That's a lovely thing to do! I am glad you had a lovely time in such a serene setting!x

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  16. Absolutely wonderful - and that blue print dress w/the fringe fits you to a t! And I have said this a zillion times, and will probably say a million times more, but you are such an inspiration!

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  17. The view from your office and your dresses are enchanting. I'm glad that you are doing what you love. I know that you scrimped and saved when you were younger, you avoid using credit (my pitfall) and you plan your resources very carefully. You earned those days with no hellish commute, good for you!!!

    Enjoy the blissful walks along the river.

    And, as always, happy thrifting!

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  18. I admire the lives that you and Jon have created for yourselves. The choices that you make are inspiring, as I watch you match your values to how you live your life. Wealth does not equal style and beauty, and you are proof of that. Brava!

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  19. This sounds like it was such a good time. I love all the beautiful nature that surrounded you there. You both look happy and relaxed, and of course, like the very cool people that you are. Jon is the hippest hiker I've ever laid eyes on!

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  20. You are true gypsies living the life you want. Love peace and freedom.

    Glad you have some down time to really enjoy the moments.

    bisous
    Suzanne

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  21. I think you chose wisely,, you live life full on,,

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  22. Your office sure has some of the most picturesque views in the country! You're looking relaxed and content, and as gorgeous as always in your blue fringed dress. You made a wonderful, brave inner journey and listened to your inner compass - it never lies, we just need to learn to trust it. You did, and now are enjoying your beautiful and genuine life! xxxx

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  23. Looks like a charming place and the event sounds like a lot of fun! For such a free spirited soul as you such a way of life is the best choice!

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  24. I could feel myself relaxing as I was reading Vix. You are spot on in what you say and well done to you and Jon for going for it.
    We are getting there, watch this space lol. Xxx

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  25. It's great that you've been able to live your dream! I like my office job, but then making magazines isn't exactly a typical one; the regular sort does look ghastly. You have a much better workplace.

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  26. I remember reading about this festival on your blog last year, and it appealed to me then, too. It makes me wish I'd been able to visit my friend when she lived next to Tewkesbury Abbey (she's moved somewhere less charmingly picturesque now!)

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  27. Oh Vix you are far richer doing what you are doing. Who wants the biggest and the best when it all means 40+ hours of GRIND and DRUDGERY! Not me that's for sure. You have a life balance happening and it always shows on your gorgeous smiling face.

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  28. Sounds as if your living the dream & therefore will have no regrets, good for you, lovely Vix!

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  29. Great read as ever makes me wanna hand in my notice tomorrow :-)

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  30. It looks blissful, just think all those awful corporate years have lead to this! x

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  31. i´m in that church too :-)
    although i still need to figure out a little business for some extra money - vintage clothes would´t be a way around here for more than one reason......
    that high waist maxi looks gorgeous on you with that bright pastels against your perfect tan!
    xxxxxx

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  32. You and Jon always look so relaxed and beautiful. And I will never get over how beautiful your venues are. Sure beats the Rose Bowl!
    Will you and Jon see Straight Outta Compton? I think you both would LOVE it. x

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  33. I just can't imagine you ever being happy in the bad old corporate world...
    You lead such a fantastic, interesting and most importantly happy life - you are far richer in that than all the money in the world could ever buy :-)
    xx

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  34. No going back, gorgeous! What the feck for. You have nailed it and you're an inspiration. I know you both work so hard but you have such a good time as well...what's not to love?

    I'm far from corporate but I can see a time when I say fuck this for a laugh, I'm off!
    Brookestoke looks great; gorgeous surroundings. So much better than a magnolia painted office next to the photocopiers.
    Loves ya.
    xxxxx

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  35. You have always had my admiration for chucking the corporate life and starting your own business. While that choice is there for all of us to make, many (myself included) don't have the courage to do it, and/or are not prepared to make the financial sacrifices necessary. The two of you have created a very good life for yourselves with hard work and knowing what you want.

    This looks like a lovely spot to spend a weekend. I would be walking along the river bank and saying hello to the ducks too.

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  36. You look lovely as usual , The relaxing weekend was my kind of weekend , It looks beautiful , Roll on Yorkshire xxx

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  37. This is what life is all about: living your dream instead of making money to try to buy that dream.

    And you do it in style, I just love that fringed dress!

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  38. An inspiring post on so many levels, dear Vix! Counting the blessings of a life-style consciously chosen while opening our eyes to these scenes of rural beauty ranks first among them -- but the possibility of using graceful fringe to extend sleeves on a pretty dress also merits note-taking.

    John's topping his hiking gear with a rakish trilby does make one wish local males wore hats other than feed caps.

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  39. Oh yes, Vix I am with your thoughts on this post, I worked in the world of merchant banking for sixteen years in another life, when the money was there I didn't save it or use it wisely as was too busy earning it! now those days are gone but I don't care, they were shallow days in a world of people who were 'burned out by 40' - I work locally now in customer service which is somewhat more rewarding, earn a lot less and am a lot wiser! Your latest venue looks peaceful and well worth a visit. I am really enjoying your travels... looking forward to the next one. Betty

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  40. This sounds great. I love your lifestyle.
    Many a times, money isn't everything...
    Your outfits look great.
    Btw I'm a veggie too!! :)
    Fashion Panache

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  41. I can understand if it's not much fun to sew remake to others, but you have so many ideas that you really could make a fortune. But ... I also understand that a fortune is not your goal, and that you have more fun in your van, and when you meet great people in markets.

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  42. Money certainly does not buy you happiness. I think more and more people are realising how important the simple things in life are I certainly have. And getting out of the rat race of life is certainly one of them. Loved this post Vix, its good to see you both looking so relaxed and gorgeous I know how hard you both work, dee xx

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  43. What a beautiful location ... you're right Vix that a simpler life is so much richer than the rat race ... We may not make much money but you can't count all your blessings in terms of cash. And I loved the view from your new office window :)
    The festival sounds great - but the idea of silent disco always takes me to the fair ... I absolutely have to go to one some time :)
    Have a great weekend - really curious to hear more about Moseley - we'll be in Birmingham for a night in November and the charity shops are always my main point of call on the way to or from the gigs.
    Fil x

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  44. Cheers to you and Jon for your self-employment. It's a lot of hard, hard work but when your heart is in it, happy work. I'm glad you got some time to kick back. I used to think corporate was the way to go - I got over it after a couple of minutes. Going to the financial district in the city makes me feel nauseous. Give me a river and ducks any day. Love your photos, especially the one of you and Jon.

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  45. You really do have the life. I think of you often as having an almost perfect thing. An elegant lifestyle. That's our VIX.

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  46. You do have the life, a life with passion and fulfilment. I know doing what you do is still hard work, but no one ever minds a bit offhand work if they're doing what they love and fills the, up. What a beautiful relaxed event and I must say you and Jon do look very chilled. Loving the maxi with fringe on the arms, now I'm thinking I must put some cool trim like that on my want list to spruce up some pieces. Hope you're well. X

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  47. You've found the right life for you, which is a great achievement. Riches come in many different forms. Yes, I bet you were ready for a more chilled event. I had to drive through Tewkesbury last year after a motorway diversion and it looked lovely. I thought it would make a nice bloggers' day out. You look so lovely in that dress with the fringing. You never look tired despite being on the go constantly. Happiness, it shines through. Xxxx

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  48. Your escape from the rat race is an inspiration! You really are living the dream x

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  49. I feel chilled just reading this post. You're living the dream - and most of us have to live it vicariously through you. x

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  50. Being self employed is a richness beyond measure. You are living the good life. I do love that flowered maxi dress.

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Love from Vix
xxx