There were two key events.
I went to an event via Greenpeace in the Take 5 pub in Norwich in 2011. This changed my life. There were only a few people there and I think most were Greenpeace. It was in an upstairs room. A man was doing a talk on the situation in Ecuador with rainforest destruction and the planting of palm oil plantations. This was new to me then, palm oil that is. The man was called Raul. He did a slideshow of the rainforest destruction. Then he told us he owned 50 hectares of rainforest himself. He also mentioned that he had volunteers come to him to help out. The following days at work were tricky as I wanted to go and volunteer. I worked out that it would cost me more than I could afford to take unpaid leave.
Then something happened that changed everything. I simply bought a car. However much came of this purchase and was to change my life completely.
The car was a Citroen 2CV which I bought via ebay for £1000. 30 years old and a Black and Yellow Charleston, a fairly rare car. I collected it from Bournemouth and soon realised I had a tired old car and it battled its way back to Norwich.
I took the thing into a chap with a little checklist, thinking the rear wheel bearing needed looking at. Asked him a few other bits, nothing major. To cut a long story short I ended up with the car six months later and a £7000 bill. I had to get a new credit card with a free balance transfer and a few other ticks to come up with the money.
After this I realised I could not take the car to a man like that again. I had been given a local contact through the 2CVGB owners club. Some one called Eleanor. I was told to go and visit anyway as she had a garden full of 2CV’s. Truthfully I had this contact before the man, but had failed to do anything about it. The £7000 bill made me realise I had been an idiot.
I met Eleanor. She lived with her mum and dad in the sticks in a very big house. I’m talking mansion size house. She is half Indonesian as her mum is from Medan. So I saw the yard with 2CVs, made acquaintance and went.
Later she contacted me again asking if I could do some web design for her. She was involved with the Tortoise Club and needed the site revamped. After doing this I asked her if I could see her tortoises. Many years before I had met some big ones in a friends garden and wanted to see tortoises again.
After this, because I was in a volunteering mood, at the time I was volunteering with the RSPB too, I asked her if she needed help looking after the tortoises.
So followed some time picking weeds from the roadsides and so forth. I got good at recognizing tortoise food. In fact I learnt a lot about tortoises.
Then my company offered redundancies so I went.