Pennsif’s Progress – What comes next? Six decisions made

With big life changes come big life decisions.

The departure of our two eldest children off to start university today made us stop and think.

Although we still have one younger ray of sunshine here with us for another couple of years, we know our autumn has now begun.

Driving 500 miles over the weekend to deliver our two offspring to their new destinations gave us time to think a lot, to talk a lot and to plan a lot.

That interview classic is quite pertinent … “Where do you want to be in 5 years time?”

Alive would be a good start, alive and in at least moderate good health would be even better.

In five years our youngest will have just passed through university, and the elder two will be graduated and making their way in the world.

I will be 63 and my wife a bit younger.

Running our own business we live with uncertainty. And we have done so now for almost 25 years.

And my Second Life in steem is no more certain. In reality even more so.

So from our 500 miles of driving and thinking we reached some conclusions.

  • We must look ahead.
  • We must forms plans.
  • We must make changes.
  • We must take decisions.

Reduce and become mobile

Currently we are tied.

Tied to animals. Tied to the homestead. Tied to a business. Tied to steem.

All this gets us into knots of liability and immobility.

So decisions are being made…

Decision No. 1 – Animals

All the animals have to go.

Being over six years old the cockerel exited stage left today. The others will follow shortly.

No eggs makes the vegan easier.

Decision No.2 – Minimalising & Optimising

We are getting rid of lots of things, and optimising what remains.

We may sell some of it. But giving away is more fun. If you want anything just let me know.

Decision No.3 – Car out, Car in

The old petrol car is going. An electric car is coming.

We want to turn over a new Leaf with greener and cheaper mobility.

Desicion No. 4 – Business … cut & trust

Business changes. A story for another place.

Decision No. 5 – Homestead for sale

We are selling the homestead. That makes me sad. I had thought I would die here. Hopefully now I won’t.

Decision No.6 – Steem…

Steem. That comes next.

Pennsif’s Progress – As Steve said, “Do one thing well”

Do not try to do everything. Do one thing well. - Steve Jobs

We have spent the last couple of days moving two of our daughters to start at their new universities.

These are big days. These are important life points. These are times that are a-changing.

Long drivings mean long thinkings.

Right now I am sure I have so many pies, in so many ovens, with so many fingers in them, that none of them are tasting quite as good as they might.

And I am in danger of falling asleep at the wheel.

I cannot do everything that I would like to on steem. I need to focus. I need to do one thing well.

Or at least cut down a bit.

I know what makes the most difference – that is my work with A Dollar A Day.

I know what makes the least.

So I will no longer be broadcasting The Alternative Lifestyle Show on Fridays.

I will pick up the best bits of that and merge them into my longer and stronger Thursday show that currently runs with the moniker of Here Comes The News. But that might change.

With all the guests I have on my radio shows they take many, many hours to organise and put together.

So dropping one will free me a good chunk of time to concentrate more on A Dollar A Day. That can only be for the better.

Thank you everyone that has been part of The Alternative Lifestyle Show – both listeners and guests.

Since the show started in January I have had well over a hundred great guests on the show, who have given some extremely interesting interviews. I will miss you all. But not too far. Just move back one day and you can be on the Thursday show.

Thank you and good night.

[ Steve Jobs image and quote from ]

Pennsif’s Progress – Selling Up and Moving On (it’s not quite what you think)

The next couple of years are going to see major changes for my wife and I and our family.

I will turn 60, my business will have been going for over 25 years, and all three of our children will be passing through university and on their way to the big wide world.

We will be left be with 17 acres of homestead, 11,000 trees of all shapes and sizes, half a dozen chickens and one naughty little dog.

I love our land and I love our trees. And I have for the longest time assumed this would be my final resting place.

But what we have is a liability. It is difficult to get away when you have animals and land. And there is always something to fix.

And with the health of both of us deteriorating the physical endeavours of managing the homestead will become ever more challenging.

So we are beginning to consider alternatives.

I would love to keep this homestead for ever. But the realities are becoming different.

The costs of running the place, with local property tax, insurance, oil, electricity, maintenance etc etc are fast approaching $1000 a month. It is unlikely any of our children will want to live here. And the limitations it places on us are growing.

For the past 20+ years my focus has been on family, business and house. Holidays and travel have been very, very sparse.

Which has been sad. In my younger years I was a keen traveller spending many months hopping around the world.

But there is still much of it to see. Now time and health are running out.

Maybe it will soon be time to weigh anchor, don a pair of wings and fly.

I would like to think we could have our cake and eat it, but the likelihood is that we would have to sell the homestead to fund the travels and free up future financial liabilities from inheritance tax or asset seizure to pay care bills.

Maybe we sell, divide off a suitable chunk to put in to trust for our children and then stuff our pockets with the leftovers and take to the road, or the seas.

My daydreams are currently mulling over two story lines.

In one we buy an RV, sell most of our possessions, give away the rest and hit the road to nowhere and everywhere.

I have never driven an RV but if I can still manage it I would love to have a go. Maybe it could become a tour of all the steemians in Britain (and maybe even Europe). That could be fun and a half.

On the other side of my daydream record we take to the seas and just go cruising.

I really, really want to try a cruise. The prospect of living in a posh ship, with all meals provided and no washing up, and visiting new places every day or so really grabs me big time.

And I read a story recently about an elderly woman who lives on the sea, just hopping from one cruise to the next. By looking for  deals and being a regular cruise goer she found it cheaper than living than living on dry land.

The financial equation does look tempting. If you find the best deals on long term cruises (3 months+) the daily cost for a couple would down around the $100 mark – and that includes all meals and utilities. And not a scrap of housework to do.

Tempting, tempting, tempting.

Oh I wonder. If steem went up a few notches on the money stick could we earn that $100 a day from steem?

Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. Might this be a Mary Poppins moment? Could the steem cruising dream be real…

Pennsif’s Progress – Finding my creed – Truth, Justice, Equality

Today I was looking at the website of one of our web hosting suppliers.

They offered up a page saying what their ‘Creed’ is.

I thought this to be an interesting use of the word in a business context. I would have generally only thought of using that word in a personal or religious context.

But it made me think – what is my creed?

Before I try to define my creed I think best to take a quick rain-check to ensure I am not about to use creed in the wrong context.

The Merriam-Webster online dictionary gives this :

Definition of creed

1 : a brief authoritative formula of religious belief

2 : a set of fundamental beliefs; also : a guiding principle

The second of these works perfectly.

So what is my creed ?

I have most certainly evolved during my 14 months on steem.

Steem presents at my fingertips the means to do good things. By doing good things I hope I can become better.

I do not think I was a bad person before steem. But I was contained in a micro world with only short distance vision and no panoramas of the world to inspire and drive me.

Now I have steem-powered vision and the whole world is coming in to view.

You might have come across a most ingenious new location system called ‘What 3 Words‘. With just 3 random words any 3m x 3m square on the planet can be defined precisely.

Taking that as a lead can I use just three words to identify my creed, my mission, my place on earth.

Here is my first stab at this but I am going for…   Truth – Justice – Equality.


I am always a seeker. I don’t believe what they tell me. I won’t to check for myself.

I want to turn over rocks, dig deep, and find the nuggets of truth that sometimes people want to bury away.

I love researching. I love getting the facts straight. I love making the point that needs to be made.

Now this is manifesting itself with my news show – Here Comes The News.

I want to find the news that others aren’t telling. I want to hear first hand from those involved and those affected.

The steem blockchain is a great place to start.


I’ve always been a supporter of the underdog.

For many years I was an environmental campaigner, doing battles to right the wrongs being done to the planet.

More often than not I would find myself on the weaker side, the underside, the downtrodden and kicked in the teeth side.

That usually meant I was on the right side.

There is still some good fight left in me. I’m just looking for what battles to pitch in with.


This is the one of the three that is perhaps hardest for me to stake my claim on.

I certainly always have equality in my sights when I am seeking the truth or fighting for justice. But I am not always sure I hit the mark.

This is my work in progress.

I must learn how to make sure I get the equality right every time.

All people. All equal. All of the time.

So that’s me. That’s my creed. In just three words.

What’s yours?

Pennsif’s Progress #563 – Don’t blame the media, become the media

In 1995 I set up one of the first online community networks in Britain.

The network grew quickly. 

To begin with it had what’s on listings, articles about local history, lists of local facilities like doctors and pharmacies and the like. I added a guestbook. And then I added the first service in Britain for finding old schoolfriends. The network grew even faster and started to attract an audience of ex-pats from around the world as well.

Results from local football games, and other sports reports were added. We started dabbling in match reports from main football team in the city.

The network grew even more.

By 1996/97 there was a growing number of these local community networks around the country. A meeting was called at Sheffield University for organisers, coordinators and editors of these networks.

I went. One lecture changed everything.The topic of local news was discussed. Real news had seemed too difficult for my network – you needed real journalists and all that jazz. That was best left to the professionals – the newspapers, the radio, the TV. They had real journalists who knew the law and wouldn’t get sued. They must be doing it right. Trust them, they are journalists

But the speaker at the conference had other ideas. He talked about ‘citizen journalists‘. That sounded interesting. I fancied being one of them.

“Don’t the media. Become the media.” he said. 

He knew what the community networks had at hand. With the web, with the internet, with our local online networks we had something very powerful.

We could make the news. We could become citizen journalists. We could become media. All by ourselves.

And so it came to pass. I became a chief editor. We got lucky and got European money. We contracted a real newspaper editor to train us. We employed real journalists as well. We built up a team. We went to courts and councils. We wrote the news. Lots of it. We became the primary online media for a whole chunk of the Midlands.

The traditional media didn’t like it. One little bit. They banned their journalists from reporting on us or even mentioning us.

We tricked them and got round the ban. Then we employed their journalists. They got more annoyed. They tried to buy us.

I declined.

Then social media came along. People started to look in other places. I moved to another place 200 miles away.

My little network grew to have a third of a million visitors at its peak. By then my focus was shifting elsewhere.

Wasn’t that just fun while it lasted. We were pioneers. We met Prince Charles. We arranged marriages. We got on page 3 of the Sun. That was fun too.

I learnt a lot. I learnt to be a journalist. I learnt to write news. I learnt to make news.

I learnt not to take no for an answer. I learnt to make our own stories. To set our own agenda.

I learnt to be the media.

And now I am back here again. In the same place, but in a different space. The crypto space.

The ‘real news’ is fake news. It is dumb news. It is daft news. And for the most part it is absolutely irrelevant news.

With the blockchain we can make the news ourselves. We can be the media again.

Here Comes The News. Tune in to my new news show on Thursdays, 8pm – 11pm UTC, MSP Waves Radio.