…..there was a barn. An old Shippon where the cows lived. Not a tall barn, barely tall enough to make two floors in but two floors they made. Converted in a hurry and with limited resources, by the time we moved in some 10 years later the cracks were beginning to show. We bided our time after a big move from urban decay to rural idyll, saving our pennies and finding our feet amid the mud and what seemed like a baptism of endless rain. By the spring, when it finally stopped raining after 4 months, we discovered that we could see the sea from the top of the lane, not just fog. It was a revelation.
We took each day at a time, learning the unfamiliar ropes of rural life. The rapid information sharing of a close-knit community which was somehow invisible threw us completely. They knew all about us before we even knew we had neighbours! Still we loved it, and it was so peaceful after living under the flight path for too many years. The air was clean, lichen grew on everything, even the car.
Slowly our little family grew from just three of us, to four, to five and in that time we learned how to keep pigs (and how fast they can run), how to bribe chickens and ducks, how to hatch goslings (and rescue very small people from what grew up to be rather aggressive geese).
When our third small person arrived we knew we needed to expand our home, struggling with not just the detritus and laundry of 5 people but the lack of physical space needed just to BE.
After some expensive mishaps, we eventually found an Architect who ‘got it’, the need for space, reorganised from a corridor-styled conversion to something which actually worked for family living; the (desperate) need for light in a dark, small windowed building; and something beautiful to live in forever. Because this had always been the forever house.
We had fallen in love with the land here, the river, the trees, the something-magical, even the mud. A visiting friend called it our dingly dell. She came on a sunny day and it was definitely dingling and dell-like that day.
Other days, when the rain is coming sideways and the wind is making wild promises to carry you upcountry, you might wonder how anyone could ever think such a thing. But we know it happens, and the strange thing is, it often happens when no-one else is here to see it.
So you might just have to take our word for it, for now!