Shedders: The Prologue


Being with people is no easy matter. I have a love-hate thing going on about it.

Several years ago, with two almost-adult children and a husband, the house was always full of people, noise, activity, decisions to make, lectures to give, grievances to settle. The kids had developed minds of their own, interests that I didn’t understand, sorrows I couldn’t heal, joys I didn’t get to hear about. My husband Rick was either enchanting me with his humour, passion and good will or driving me crazy in the predictable way that only someone you’d been married to for twenty-odd years can. I was either melting with love for them or wanting to pack up and disappear to the other side of the country.

I had a company in the city’s core, with a staff of 25 or so. They were magnificent people and my working life’s purpose was empowering them to accomplish more than they ever believed they could. The sales team sold with passion, the trainers delivered the highest quality corporate training in the city. But if I looked under the surface of my respect and affection for them, I discovered that they were disappointing me: they didn’t do what they said they would, they fudged their results, they’d go off and start their own businesses.

I had friends with whom I had impassioned conversations and did exciting things. They supported what I was up to, they cheered me up, they brought out the best in me. But sometimes they were argumentative, irritating, boring. They brought out my worst.

 It was a warm and lazy summer holiday morning, the day after New Year’s, and five of the closest of these friends (including of course Rick) were having breakfast around the table with me.

Have you ever had the fleeting thought, when you are in the company of excellent people, that you would like to keep them close forever, perhaps even live near or with them? Well, we first expressed this idea on that particular New Year’s Day, and had hatched a plan that I knew in my bones was going to change my life. For better or for worse, for good or for evil.

What follows is the true story, told as well as I can recreate it, about how we got this wild idea and what happened as a result.