Where did you learn to do that? Is a question I get asked about all sorts of things, and the answer is always the same. “I just sort of did it”, I reply. Of course, when the person asks the question they are usually looking at a successful end result of whatever it is, and don’t see the litany of mishaps and disasters that inevitably occured during the learning process.  For whatever reason, these days there seems to be an emphasis on learning ‘on a course’, or through some official channel, and a lot of people are reluctant to have a go, for fear of failing.

Month of mud - day one

Of course there are some things that proper training and official channels are vital for, and that is important to remember, but if all you have to lose is your pride, your money or your time, there is a lot to be said for getting stuck in.

My own preference is to get a good book on whatever subject it is, read as much as possible, and then have a go. Our wind turbine installation is a good example. It took several sets of electronics and a replacement generator before I got that one right. Our solar panel installation has been through several incarnations but involved less pain. Some parts of our cottage roof are better tiled than others. The list goes on. What all these things have in common is that yes, there is someone out there who has been doing them for years, could do them all quicker, and in many cases, better.

However, I have the satisfaction of having created something, or fixed something, and the feeling of having that knowledge is really quite powerful. Not everything is up for grabs – I had a guy who had been leading chimneys for 40 years do ours, and watching him cut perfectly angled grooves in my chimney with a petrol saw whilst balancing on a roof ladder made me glad I hadn’t attempt it.

On the whole though – don’t be afraid to get stuck in. Have a go.Go on.