We are Pumpjack & Piddlewick and welcome to our life.
Pumpjack, a.k.a. David, is an eccentric, mad scientist Oenologist (fancy title for he who makes wine) and who, I think, unknowingly acts as the creative muse to me, Piddlewick, a.k.a. Alycea, who finds most of the items for our shop, as well as writing for this blog.
In our middle ages we found each other and, due to varying circumstances, gave up everything, completely changing our lives to pursue the proverbial dream. And when we say, ‘gave everything up’, we mean literally everything we had, including a steady income. We jumped off the cliff and started down the wine making road on a Ducati touring motorcycle (since sold) and have not regretted one moment. And for those who think of wine as the exclusive property of the posh, rich and/or snobs, do read on. You will find we are the furtherest from any of these that anyone could be.
The choice to chase the dream was an easy one, but the lifestyle has been and is hard. The flip side is a real passion and true enjoyment in the day to day, and in what we are doing. We have never been happier and more excited about living life.
But why do it?
As for the Why, When and How? After David received his Oenology & Viticulture degree, in his early 40’s, we began travelling the world following the harvests (otherwise known as vintages) and making wine in such places as Northern Spain, New Zealand and California. With a dawning realisation that vintages were rather like a very exciting hamster wheel, we chose to get off and take the leap to pursue the dream of making our own wine.
France was the focus, in particular Burgundy, as a long held passion for Pumpjack. We arrived with essentially all we owned in 3 large suitcases, and no jobs or income lined up, but what we did have was an opportunity to look after a small Château, near Chablis, as Caretakers (Gardiens in France) in exchange for a place to live. So we were lucky enough to began our French life in a beautiful place, we just had to make the rest happen.
We are Making the Most
To make the most of the little we had we decided to follow a simple lifestyle, preferring, or, if you like having to, live a downsized life. We learned how to (had to) recycle, upcycle, forage, wildcraft and to make the most of a garden.
We used our first year here to begin learning French (as neither of us really knew much at all), to get a sense of the French culture (and whether we like it), and most importantly figure out how one goes about renting, buying or even finding a vineyard. Our story about wine can be found in our Wine posts: About Our Own Wine.
The entrepreneurial spirit
To support ourselves and the Dream, and with true entrepreneurial spirit, we put our creative juices (or should that be creative wine?) to the fore and put our hands to many and any tasks. In consequence we have enjoyed a great variety of odd jobs, such as pruning vineyards, cleaning, cooking, selling stuff on ebay, babysitting, giving wine tours, refurbishing shutters and ultimately setting up our own businesses.
Piddlewick started our Shop on Etsy with just a few cards made from recycled corks, but quickly expanded and focused on all the fab vintage and antique finds she’s discovered here (often with a particular focus on wine, surprise, surprise). The shop keeps growing, bulging at the seams with wonderful finds, and she has since expanded to a second shop centred on the French Silk Scarf (a particular passion of Piddlewicks). Her third is now underway as she develops her love of letter writing and creating cards in to her new shop Taking Time To.
And then there is the day to day. We look after 1 Cockerel, 3 chickens, 6 ducks (including the Chief Waddler, Maggie), 3 cats and a standard size dachshund. The frolics that this group of animals get up to means we are constantly kept in a state of laughter, bemusement and even the odd tears.
We also like to blog about the various humourous and strange goings on we encounters in our French Findings posts, as well as the additional cultural history we uncover as we research items for our shop. It all adds to our cultural journey as we discover our adopted country.
We hope you enjoy our story, our discoveries and join us in pursuing a new life.