Spent Sunday in Brooklyn for a very happy wedding of 2 friends, but also got time to do a Smith St./Carrol Gardens/Court St. walk with Mrs. 10e. Smith&Butler check. Yacht Club for a break, check. Good times. Got some housemade pickles (horseradish and wasabi) from the stalls there and popped into a shop for a tasting of artisanal chutney... reposting the below extracted from The Midlife Manual by John O’Connell and Jessica Cargill Thompson. Painfully spot on I'm afriad...
“Chutney fantasy” is a generic term for escape-route dreams, many of which genuinely involve the dramatic quitting of a job in order to forge a new career making artisanal chutney over open fires in copper pans reclaimed from National Trust properties.
Typically, it takes root shortly after the onset of midlife, growing and growing until suddenly you’re phoning up banks to ask about business development loans. “It will be really special chutney,” you say. “Pear and ginger, but with prunes, too. We’ve got this idea for specially shaped jars, a bit like that St Peter’s Ale which comes in replica 18th-century beer bottles.”
You explain that it will be a premium product, designed to be sold in the sort of delis where people won’t mind paying £6.95 a jar. Yes, it is a lot, but start-up costs will be high. And obviously you’ll be paying yourself the salary you were on when you were doing crisis PR for Tesco.
Other popular chutney fantasies include:
Opening a B&B, but a really good one. “People get it wrong. The trick is making sure the sausages you serve at breakfast have a high pork content – nothing less than 75 per cent will do.”
Landscape gardening. “I read this great biography of Capability Brown. He was amazing, the way he tamed unruly nature, moving trees around and stuff. I could do that. And I’ve found these great ‘gardening’ trousers on the Jigsaw website.”
Teaching. “I know people say teaching’s hard, but it can’t be harder than managing the supply chain at a small Leeds-based manufacturer of burglar alarm components – and I’ve done that for 15 years! It’s time to put something back... Kids just need to be inspired and reassured that they can really do something with their lives.” [see public librarian -ed.]
Setting up a market stall... The other day I saw this really cool retro Citroën van for sale. We could convert it and take it round festivals selling proper coffee! And gourmet pies! And that artisanal chutney my mate makes!”