It has been a while since I last wrote a post for this blog. I have been away on the farther flung British Islands in search of the space to write another book.
On the way back, I accompanied Joan and Susan on their tour of last years winners of the Delicious Magazine Food Produce Awards. They included Jakob and Anya, who are making venison salami from their Great Glen Charcuterie, Guy Grieve from the Ethical Shell Fish Company, hand diving for Scallops off the Island of Mull, Duncan and Cathie Smith, originally from Lewis, but have now based their fish charcuterie business on their Campsie Glen Smokehouse on an industrial estate in Kirkantilloch next to Mister Bubbles Car Wash, and finally Alison and Richard who are selling raw milk from Sizergh Farm in the Lake District. Although this wasn’t the purpose of their business, all of the produce was suitable for people with IBS; even the raw milk contained predominantly alpha 2 casein.
They had all started small businesses from scratch and built them up to be successful. It had not always been easy; they had all needed to take a risk to make the necessary change to succeed. Jakob and Anya had six children and nowhere to live when they came across an abandoned butchers shop in Roy Bridge and set up their business. Guy had gone to the Yukon River in Alaska, built a log house and lived in the wilderness hunting and foraging for a year, then bought a boat in Venezuela and explored the Caribbean with his family before deciding to settle down with his family on Mull and farm the sea bed. Duncan gave up his safe job as an accountant and returned to his roots by developing a unique process to cure and smoke fish. They all had something in common, a will and passion to succeed, a resilience that seemed to stem from an early experience of adversity which included illness. They each found a sense of purpose and identity from doing something unique for themselves.
What was the trigger? What brought about the change? It wasn’t my place to ask them and I did not wish to pry, but something clearly made them risk everything and go for it and then stick with the project for years until it began to work. Did the anxiety of adversity stiffen the resolve to succeed? It reminded me of the talks at The IBS Network anniversary event last April, when each of the speakers described how they had needed to find some sense of purpose to overcome their illness and become the person they needed to be.
Yes it was remarkable how each of these people had been determined to pursue something that was deeply meaningful and rewarding. They all were so comfortable with what they were doing and all the effort they had put in had been rewarded. Remarkable stories.