We’re 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 makes 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.
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 now we had a beautiful home, we just had to make the rest happen.
To make the most of the little we had we decided to follow a homesteading lifestyle, preferring, or if you like having to live to no waste principles. We recycle, upcycle, forage, wildcraft and make the most of a large garden, now with vegetables, as well as long standing orchard and large selection of herbs.
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 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: What About Our Wine.
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 also making items to sell. As a consummate letter writer, Piddlewick started our shop with cards made from recycled corks, but quickly expanded to upcycling what ever she could get her hands on and has since added in many items made from the herb garden. You can find our Shop on Etsy, and more about what we make ~ the background, stories, and how she goes about making her gifts and what nots ~ on our What’s in Our Store posts.
And then there is the day to day. We look after 1 Cockerel, 3 chickens, 3 ducks and 3 rabbits as part of the care of the Château. We also have our own recently arrived kitten, Gigi, and a Duckling (almost duck), rescued from an abandoned egg, called Maggie, who follows Piddlewick everywhere. The antics 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 manage a large vegetable garden, complete with 90 grape vines, which has been an eye opening, learning and fun experience as Piddlewick (who looks after much of the garden) was/is a Garden Virgin and opts to simply try her best, hope for the best and await the results.
Piddlewick blogs about the various humourous and strange goings on she encounters in our What We’re Up To posts, whether it’s the animals antics (particularly Maggie Duckling), the garden, food, foraging and cooking or the things she tries putting her hand to as part of our new lifestyle.
We hope you enjoy our story, our journey and join us in pursuing the dream.
Oh, and PS: feel free to shop in our Pumpjack & Piddlewick Shop (blatant advertisement) as every little bit counts and goes towards helping us buy equipment for the vineyard or winery ~ truly joining in with us to pursue the dream.