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Slow + Steady + Self-Determined (Inspired By HMS Owl)

August 24, 2017

Sometimes I watch a show called Restoration Man while I’m doing my work. Well. I don’t watch watch it, but I have it on in the background and I catch glimpse of what’s going on and sort of piece it together.

What I LOVE about this show, apart from the houses and the people, is the very, very slow nature of the whole thing. They go visit someone who has a house and a gobsmacking (to me) budget. And then they pop back intermittently – sometimes years later –  to see how things are going (Grand Designs does this too, obviously!)

This appeals so much to me because it feels like the world is so focused on efficiency and speed and AI and KPIs and CGI and stuff at the moment. I like the idea of things taking a bit/a lot more time and being a bit more handmade / manmade /womanmade.

I think this slow and steady approach is why I like:

1. blogging (no end to it, if you choose!)
2. making blankets (slow – can take ages)
3. writing books (slow – may never end)
4. making bread (slow – but not super slow)
5. growing my hair (slow – also weird)

On Restoration Man, they look at a house that’s all scaffolding and muddy bits and then they say – without blinking an eye, without a trace of slow-progress shame – things like: “Remember Ted and Beryl’s old wheat-silo-turned-dream-home project? Well here we are SIX YEARS later and they’ve got the roof on and unclogged the sink. They’re still living in the caravan, but they’ve laid the most exquisite parquet flooring and the ballroom will be done any day now.”


Honestly, I find this very bolstering. Not everything goes according to plan (look at my life!) and not everything is within our controlling clutches (look at my life!) Not everything conforms to conventional ideas of efficiency or economy either (look at my life!)

So you see, this show is an allegory. Or a metaphor. Or a lesson. It’s one or more of those things. I don’t really know what an allegory is, actually…

Anyhoo, I watched an episode of Restoration Man this week about a house in the Scottish Highlands called HMS Owl which was once a broken-down World War II airfield tower. Complete with its own vintage airstrip. Because why not?

And I mean, just LOOK AT THIS HOUSE! Gasp! I didn’t want to steal more than one photo, so you will have to click through and see!

HMS Owl is owned by Justin Hooper and Charlotte Seddon. In the beginning it looked like an impossible task, but now it’s done (as done as any renovation can be) and it’s amazing and beautiful and cosy… like a ship in the middle of a paddock.

I got a bit obsessed after I saw this house for a number of very good reasons:

1. It’s cosily decorated by a clever florist (aka Charlotte) and a design enthusiast (aka Justin)
2. It looks – to me – like a big boat. I said that already but I really meant it, so I’m saying it again.
3. It’s now a bed and breakfast. Because you would WANT to eat a sausage in your PJs there. You just would.
4. They have a lovely Instagram account. Photos of paddocks, fish, pigs. CHAR-ming!
5. The top level looks like the loveliest place to be except…

6. … for if you were in the kitchen because it’s blinking gorgeous and is a dead heat with the top floor in the delightful stakes.
7. They did an interview about cleaning windows #CUTE!
8. It’s slow.

I found the episode I watched online – it’s actually a REVISIT episode –  (and the ORIGINAL ep where it all started is below or here).

I’m going to watch it again, not out of the corner of my eye this time, so I can take it all in properly. Maybe you want to do that too?

Do you like things that take a long time? Or are you more into quick things?

x pip

PS: Honestly. Watch this show because your world might just fall into place (don’t look at my life!)

PPS: Sorry for any typos. So tired. from westworld on Vimeo.


  • Reply Jo August 26, 2017 at 9:02 PM

    I loved this Pip, not one bit boring!
    Keep going…please x

  • Reply Saartje August 25, 2017 at 9:55 AM

    I’ve added the show to my to watch-list for this weekend. I’m a big fan of slow, Pip. And you know, nothing is ever truly finished, so we may as well stop rushing things and enjoy the process.

  • Reply Jessie August 24, 2017 at 10:27 PM

    Hey Pip…I love this show! ABC have it on again at the moment so I’ve been watching it on iview. Great projects and such painstaking work. Must watch HMS Owl again, it was a good one. I loved how they made a cosy house out of those cavernous spaces. And George Clarke is so passionate about everything 🙂 xx

  • Reply Sarah SDL August 24, 2017 at 10:00 PM

    Yummmmm! Thank you Pip, I’m a huge fan of Grand Designs – I’m excited to dive into Restoration Man 😀

  • Reply Isabel August 24, 2017 at 9:56 PM

    Hello Pip! I was just musing on this slow V quick question the other day. I like slow with pockets of fast. I am (also!) writing a book. It takes a loooooong time. So, in between the book-writing, I like to do short quick things, like an article, a blog post, to mix it up. Same with knitting/craft. I love making huge projects that take years. But in that time, I’ll have to make at least a pair of socks, or gloves, or a cowl, something that can be done easily and quickly…while still keeping the big project on the back burner, simmering away. I often wonder if there are many of us slow-lovers out there, in our fast-paced world, so I’m glad to know you are one of them. 6 years to work on a house, that doesn’t sound too crazily long to me…xx Keep writing Pip! I am reading

  • Reply Kate August 24, 2017 at 8:50 PM

    I’m still here, loving your words, thoughts and sharing.
    I like slow too, time to think, time to change my mind and time for tea breaks. I do agree though that some chores would be better done and dusted quickly.
    Hope you are taking care of yourself
    Cheers Kate

  • Reply Madeline August 24, 2017 at 6:38 PM

    I’ve been catching up on your blog (thank you for keeping it going and sharing the good, bad and funny).
    I’m generally all for the slow (except chores which I wish could be done super fast, blink of the eye all done!)

    • Reply Pip August 24, 2017 at 7:29 PM

      Thank you for reading and for encouraging me. I sometimes wonder if it’s all a bit boring, so it’s nice to know that people like YOU are liking it, still! xxx
      PS – Chores = bores!

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