Celebrating risk and failure

Celebrating risk and failure | Robert Zarywacz | robertz @ robzlog.co.uk

On 1 January I stepped on and broke my glasses. What an idiot! Why did I put them on the floor? I’ll never know. They are new and very comfortable. I have to replace them. Life is full of risk and failure. Good job too. My memorable failures include my revolutionary recipe for Pickled Onion … Read more

A handful of qualities

A handful of qualities | Robertz @ robzlog.co.uk

Traditionally, New Year is a time for adopting new resolutions. I don’t follow this custom as such, but I do assess what I have worked on over the previous 12 months to decide if and how I might modify my approach. This year, five qualities stand out which have become valuable to me and which … Read more

Weekend filth

Weekend filth | robertz @ robzlog.co.uk

No, I haven’t been watching the LinkedIn feed or Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. I’ve been cleaning out our shed gutter, emptying our fifth water butt and cleaning it out: old-fashioned husbandry which everyone used to complete to maintain their homes and gardens. I do find it quite refreshing. The sludge in the gutter and butt … Read more

Well-fed worms

Leaves | @robertz @ robzlog

There are leaves everywhere. Nuisance or resource? This morning we swept them up from paths, steps and all over the garden. The rain makes them slippery underfoot so they have to be removed, but I would remove them anyway. We pile them on our raised beds and vegetable borders where worms and woodlice chomp away … Read more

Come alive

Christmas pudding | Robert Zarywacz | @robertz @ robzlog

All Hallows Eve, the first day of Allhallowtide, turns my mind to those souls no longer on earth. During the long hospital vigil before my Mum’s departure, a clinical psychologist talked with us about the approaching change and how we would create new traditions to replace those we had celebrated happily with loved ones over … Read more

Living in harmony with uninvited neighbours

Caterpillar of the Bright–line Brown-eye or Tomato moth

What a marvellous holiday in the garden. Building another raised bed using planks from an old shed door so we can grow more potatoes – their flavour is sublime. Preparing for another water butt to increase our rainwater harvesting – we have no shortage of naturally occurring fresh water when we can be bothered to … Read more

Point taken

Pin | Robert Zarywacz @ robzlog.co.uk

Both my parents were tailors and sewing was a constant activity in our house. Dad conjured jackets and suits out of rolls of cloth and canvas, while Mum’s hand-sewn buttonholes were works of art. But there were pins everywhere. Often sticking in our feet: ouch! One day, some of those typically pointless questions popped into … Read more

Care and control


This morning when I walked down our high street with the Four-Footed Financial Controller, one shopkeeper was sweeping the pavement while another had a mop and bucket and was washing it down. These businesses are 100+ and 60 years old respectively, but still care not only about their customers but our community and place too. … Read more

Bringing earth back to life

Vegetable plot created from paved over ground

When we moved into our current home, large areas of garden were buried under plant-suppressing plastic sheeting, paving or concrete – they were dead. The previous owner said it wouldn’t support a lawn or plants. We immediately ripped up the plastic and pulled up the paving. We sifted the dead soil in the front garden … Read more

Colossal consequences of crab sandwiches

St James Tea Rooms, Ilfracombe | Robert Zarywacz @ robzlog.co.uk

A crab sandwich from this tea garden triggered our move to Ilfracombe 20 years ago. The chance offer of a week’s holiday for my aunt and mum had brought me back to North Devon, after I offered to drive them down to Fremington with our spaniel, Felix. I stayed over a day which we spent … Read more

Thawing on Blue Monday

Blue Monday | Robert Zarywacz @robertz @ robzlog.co.uk

Freeze! A human response to threats. At one time, I had nightmares where I tried to escape from a threat but was literally glued to the spot – at which point I would wake up startled. I also went through a time of grief when I found it tough to do the simplest things: getting … Read more

50 years of a most unwelcome partnership

Batteries | 50 years of a most unwelcome partnership | @robertz @ robzlog.co.uk

In 2022, I am celebrating 50 years of a most unwelcome partnership. It was that long ago that I was struck down by Crohn’s disease: great pain, long school absences – two whole half-terms – hospital stays, physical examinations, blood tests, x-rays, barium meals, a blood transfusion, powerful steroids and, a year later, major surgery. … Read more

The slow economy

Cutlery | The slow economy | @robertz @ robzlog.co.uk

When we bought our first house, interest rates rose 2% between making our offer and completing the sale. We barely had any money left to live on each month. Moving in with furniture donated by families, we bought a set of cheap stainless steel cutlery from Woolworths with a view to buying a more expensive … Read more

Take one step at a time . . .

Ilfracombe | Robert Zarywacz | robzlog.co.uk

Over the past year, I’ve come to exchange greetings with an elderly couple who go out for a daily walk, stopping many times to rest. They put one foot in front of the other to keep walking, to stay mobile, to experience life as fully as they can. But it can seem the most difficult … Read more


Christmas tree lights | Robert Zarywacz | robzlog.co.uk

Attitude. It’s really important. Today, I was sad to start taking down the Christmas decorations, but I had time not to rush it. This year is different to the past seven or so years when we have barely celebrated Christmas because we couldn’t bear the thought of it. I used to love Christmas, but things … Read more

Rest for the year

Ilfracombe Harbour | Robert Zarywacz | robzlog.co.uk

Rest. For the rest of the year, rest.  It’s important. In this winter scene, all appears at rest. The shops and cafés are closed, the boats have been lifted out of the harbour for safety, the trees have withdrawn and shed their leaves. But there’s a lot going on. How many of the business owners … Read more

My three words for 2021: character – honest – light

My three words for 2021 | character – honest – light | Robert Zarywacz | robzlog.co.uk

In 2016 I chose three words to focus on during the year, following a suggestion by Chris Brogan, and I repeated this in 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020, when I chose: vital – work – jigsaw. How did I do in 2020? Vital – My aim was to live more in the real world and … Read more

The sufficiency enigma

Pedometer | The Sufficiency Enigma | Robert Zarywacz

This is my pedometer. It’s 10 years old. Occasionally, I think about buying a new one. Once or twice, I’ve considered an Apple Watch. But this old pedometer is sufficient for me. While I’ve used a pedometer on and off for 20 years, I bought this one after an emergency operation where I lost 12lbs … Read more

Momentous change

Sometimes we don’t realise how much we can change our own lives and need to be shown the way. We could not have foretold the impact that an event taking place on 21 April 2000 would have on us. That was the day our first cocker spaniel, Felix, was born. I wanted a dog, an … Read more

The value of understanding feuding families

After completing my MA in History, I have continued my attempts to fill in the gaps in my knowledge, although for every little bit learned I discover even more still to learn. One of the topics I am interested in is the Wars of the Roses, which confounds me with the complex relationships, and twists … Read more