1. Keep your cupboard well stocked

    There’s no benefit to being lucky unless you are prepared for its opportunities.

    The evolution of fforest over the past 5 years has more resembled a collage than a business plan. It has been shaped by a mixing of place, materials, resources, people, ideas, history, seasons.

    Each new building and structure has had its own story. Its own reason for being created. Its own notch on the history timeline. And its own deadline.

    I believe in changing your mind. I believe in keeping your senses open to the possibility of better, of less convenient, of responding to the accidental, the happy coincidence and the right time.

    But your ability to respond all depends on what’s in your cupboard.

    What I keep in my cupboard are all the bits I can create my collage from: people, buildings, boats, books, music, memories of great things, that’s the ideas bit. But I also keep lots of materials and interesting things ready to be used. In fact a big warehouse full of stuff.

    I like to keep things. I like well made things. I like things that have been used: a building, a tool, a pair of jeans. I like the memory of things. When I look at a dry stone wall snaking along the flank of a hill farm, I wonder about who built it, what they wore, how they lived. When you’re told by the architect, the builder, the mechanic, that it would be cheaper to knock it down and start again, cheaper to buy a new one, first think about what you’re really throwing away. Sometimes it’s a relationship.

    In 20 years you won’t remember most of the things you don’t have anymore. When something needs fixing try to fix it.

    Have you got an old screwdriver that belonged to your dad with a sweat burnished wooden handle that fits right into your palm, brass collar, oily steel shaft, great smell? I haven’t. I really wish I had.

    I remember my brother Brian taking me to buy me my first pair of Wranglers. He was 19 I was 13. It was my birthday. It was a right of passage. Wide straight leg Wranglers. That funny unique weave they have, more random than straight line, they faded more to baby blue than the grey blue of Levi’s and the even greyer Lee’s. I wore those jeans every day. The most comfortable, indestructible friends. They endured bike crashes, bog rescues, tree-climb snags, bonfire scorches. They were patched and patched again. Endeavour, adventure and learning. The story of my adolescence.

    I’ve had lots of jeans since then. I still wear blue jeans most days. And I’ve loved lots of them (including my white needlecord Levi’s) but the feeling I had when I bought my first pair of Wranglers.

    They’re still in my cupboard somewhere.

    Good luck David and Clare, you’ve got a lot to live up to.