We met in Longleat in about 1982 – a school trip. I had a thing for blondes and Di was the loveliest coolest blondest girl I’d ever seen, sat with the ‘in crowd’ on the back seat of the coach…she says I was the cool rocker type sporting a leather jacket and long hair. We shared the back seat on the way home… not least because Di made it known that she wanted me there.
25 years later, we get back together… Di has seen all that life has to offer, from nightclub DJ in Hong Kong, art shows with celebrities, and eaten at the Ivy wearing her pyjama’s to pub chef and delivery driving for a living. I have had a life of extreme normality…not a roadie for a rock group as Di had always imagined, but a financial adviser.
So, it turns out that since secondary school history, Di has had a hankering for a simpler lifestyle more resembling the old days – you remember the three field system and paying a tythe to the landowner… that way of doing things.
I have dreamt of a smallholding lifestyle in a similar way, but also with a commercial perspective, and a retirement perspective – retirement in this instance meaning giving up the 9 to 5 and taking up a more 5 – 9 type of a job. Also though, a way of living that would see me enjoying life into my old age, and without the distress of having to work in a job that I already wanting to stop doing (paperwork and more paperwork).
So, with our stars aligned in about 2010 we decided that we were going to have a smallholding.
We didn’t decide we wanted to dream about it, or wait to win the lottery. We decided we wanted it. And that was it.
People comment we are brave, but here is how I see it. We both wanted to do it. We could now. If we didn’t do it, we’d regret it for the rest of our lives. We might not be able to do it later.
So, the decision wasn’t brave, it was easy – much easier than signing up for a lifetime of regret.
So, now, after 2.5 years of researching and looking for suitable land we completed on Axe Head Farm on December 2013, and now we are building a smallholding out of nothing but 13 acres of bare fields.
The way things seem to be panning out is that Di builds and creates things and I help. My main job is researching and sourcing plants and animals, trying recipies and generally pointing us in the right direction from a commercial and marketing point of view. We both do bits of each other jobs and both provide passion, imagination and make sure the integrity of our plans remain intact.
There are going to be ups and downs along the way. We hope you’ll enjoy following our story as it all unfolds.