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Thinking Ahead

Many years ago we passed a milestone in our lives, we bought a house. That involved getting the dreaded mortgage of course. Well now we’re nearly 30 years on and can finally see the blessed thing being paid off, another milestone. I don’t why we put such significance into the idea of being mortgage free, after all it’s now standing at less than the credit cards have stood at in the past, but we do.

Anyway, going back to that day when we found ourselves the proud owner of a house, we also bought a copy of John Seymour’s seminal Self-Sufficiency. We dreamed of getting 5 acres and escaping the rat race but it wasn’t to be. As fast as we saved, the cost of property rose faster and the smallholding got further out of reach.

Now we’re a little older and pretty self-sufficient anyway. We cover nearly all our veggies from the allotment for a start. Having worked less than a tenth of an acre, the prospect of 5 acres is pretty daunting now but half an acre or maybe a little more would really appeal to us.

We even know where we want to live. Over the years we’ve visited Cardiganshire many times, we’ve friends around there and it is absolutely beautiful. We thought quite seriously about Spain and France when you could buy very cheaply over there, before the pound collapsed against the Euro but never quite felt able to leave Britain behind.

Looking around on the wonderful web, we’ve seen quite a few properties that fit the bill for us so it looks possible. Not this year but the next. So our next adventure is on the horizon. Even without a mortgage and living frugally, we’ll still need some money coming in. After all, there’s the council tax, water bill, electric and so on. Luckily we work from home so that shouldn’t be a problem as long as we can connect to the net.

By strange coincidence, I’ve been chatting to someone who did make the leap to a smallholding back in 2004. Robin and Carole moved to Green Farm, taking with them their video production company, dogs and horses.  Within six months they’d added chickens and sheep and now they’re making instructional DVDs aimed at people like themselves. They’ve made their first DVD series about keeping sheep and there’s more to come. I don’t think we’ll be keeping sheep but Val did mention a goat.. or maybe a house cow. Perhaps we’d better look for a bigger place! You can find out more from their web site www.smallholderseries.co.uk

Back to our plan. When we go onto the market with this house (will there be a market next year??) we’ll need to de-clutter. Yes I’ve seen the TV programmes about it being important to de-personalise and make it look bigger. So over this year we shall start to tackle the loft. We’ve a huge loft and it’s full so we might start our own branch of Freecycle! Next year the paintbrushes come out.

What is concerning me is the allotments. For a start we need to cut down on the freezers so this year I’ll be keeping production down but it may not sell in 2010 at all. You just can’t tell with houses, we’ve sold in a day and another house took 8 months to move.

I’m determined to leave them in good condition and hope whoever takes over gets as much pleasure from them as I have. After all, we never own an allotment and one day someone takes over. Hopefully they think how good the soil is and about those who have gone before.

Well, maybe we will finally achieve our dream next year but in the meantime it’s pretty good anyway when the sun shines on the plot.

Posted in Allotment Garden Diary
5 comments on “Thinking Ahead
  1. David says:

    Alot of what you say rings true with us. We too are looking for that special place, a run down property with an acre or two of land.
    Those with the least cash to spend seem to value this lifestyle the most. Must be a philosophy thing.
    Still we keep looking, waiting for a buyer for our place and hope the perfect place will come up. Keep looking and positive thinking.

  2. John says:

    Well David, it’s only taken us 30 years to nearly get there! Trick is to enjoy the ride!

  3. Alison Hill says:

    Cardigan Bay is really beautiful – I’m spending a week there in June because I loved it so much last year. What a place to live! (Will you be getting a spare room).

  4. Maggie says:

    I fell in love with the Isle of Man over 25 years ago and it took me until 2001 to finally get here. It was the best thing we ever did and, while we’d like to find a house with more land in the next 5 years, I’ll never leave. Keep working towards any dreams you may have – after all, if you don’t have a goal, what’s the point in moving forwards!

  5. John says:

    We loved the IoM but I was working in London & Oslo so the travel on and off the island was adding a day to every trip. Here’s where we lived in Onchan
    – our house is at the back, sticks up over the terrace
    http://www.onchan.org.im/onchan_history/photo_galleries/old_gallery1/pages/governors_rd_tif.php

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