On many occasions I have really, really wanted to follow my dreams... for example
Ideal; To live in a gorgeous country cottage with roses round the door (this is clearly a Summer time dream... the roses are always bloomin' marvellous).
The cottage would be tastefully decorated in well-chosen colours, with perfect antiques and vintage finds. The uncluttered surfaces would be decorated by - three assorted but toning glass bottles with unusual seed heads casually arranged in and around them - or an array of seashells from that wonderful holiday in Wales - or a selection of quaint little hand-carved boxes - just like in the books.
Reality; You are miles away from shops, buses, schools, petrol stations. In winter you can't get out because the roads are snowy and icy and the gritting lorry never comes. In bad weather you lose your electricity (there is no mains gas). Broadband is woefully slow. The seed heads drop bits everywhere, the sea shells collect dust and the hand carved boxes just look really, really tatty.
However, I have discovered a realist's solution to another idealistic dream...
Ideal; to have chickens at the bottom of the garden, and live in a sort of small suburban small-holding with fresh eggs and a kind of farm type environment.
Reality: getting up early to feed and water and clean out said chickens and animals. Remembering to go out into the cold and feed and water and shut them up every evening. What happens when a fox gets into the run, or the chickens get old or sick, or they makes holes in the fence... and the noise, and the smell, and the inconvenience...
Solution! Continue to buy eggs from the supermarket as before, but invest in these:
We could have sheep, and baa-lambs, and sweet little piggies as well...
And as many donkeys as we wanted, without the fuss of vets bills and farriers and buying hay and collecting the dung up from the field, and having a field in the first place...
We can just go and buy concrete chickens and sheep and cows from the garden centre.
Every few days we could re-arrange them around the old apple tree at the bottom of the garden.
Foxes, and there are rather too many around here, would never be a problem.
I dunno, however. Concrete animals will never be as warm, and cuddly, and responsive as the real thing. No quirky personality, no amusing little ways.
I'm sure there's a moral in there somewhere, but tonight I can't be bothered to think it through. I think it boils down to what you get out of something, whatever it is, depends on what you are prepared to invest, time-wise, into it. This is the fatal flaw in ideals about fresh home-grown vegetables, or a beautiful garden all year round, or a clean and shining house. It takes the investment of time - and that's just not going to happen at the moment!