I have just read my last blog from the 26th June this year. I cannot believe where the summer has gone as I look out the window of our study at the strange autumnal half-light created by Storm Ophelia and the dust from the Sahara. What an amazing few months with both good and bad news. A very close family member has been diagnosed with Hodgkins disease so has just started chemotherapy and we are strongly supporting them through this process. We have continued to reap the benefits and hard work in the Borrowed Garden. We have holidayed in our camper-van all too briefly. We have decided to run down our baking business by the end of the year and have bought a house in France through a television programme! So just as you seem to have found a direction of travel in ones life things come along, both good and bad, causing you to change course.
I will not dwell on the family illness as it is all too personal to place within the social media network.
The Borrowed Garden continues to be a wonderful experience. We have produced vegetable and fruit boxes across sixteen weeks for the owners of the land, family and friends, plus ourselves. Jill and I have not bought vegetables or fruit from a shop since early June. It has continued to be hard work, but to fill up a vegetable box for yourself once or twice a week makes it all worthwhile. Neither Jill nor I have produced such successful cauliflowers, carrots and onions before. This victory, plus staples from our past like tomatoes, beans and potatoes being cropped in abundance has been very satisfying. We have had trouble with white fly on our brassicas, but by and large keep the insect parasites at bay.
As we now start to put the garden to bed for the year it has been a most rewarding twelve months and this experience has further fueled our desire to have land of our own one day soon.
We are now in the process of making jams and chutneys for sale in a local Christmas Tree Farm shop, loaves and rolls for the businesses we still supply and Jill continues to support a wedding business with a regular supply of focaccia and ciabatta breads. Our last hoorah for our produce this year was to join friends in the village (The Guilsborough Apple Corps – established March 2017) for a cider make using our apples and pears at our local pub.
Our commitment to the Borrowed Garden has meant that we could only go away in the camper-van for brief breaks from June to September. These trips took us to Leicestershire, the Peak District and Devon where the sun continued to shine on these couple of lucky campers. We both relaxed and also worried whether the garden would survive without us watering regularly (though Jill’s youngest son was on hand to water the greenhouse).
Now for that house in France story…….
Well back in February I sent an e-mail to a television company who were looking for volunteers to ‘be on a show’ about property hunting abroad. They made contact with us in May and a couple of auditions later we find ourselves in France with a presenter and film crew for five days of filming. They showed us 5 houses in Brittany and we actually fell in love with the last one and put in an offer, which was accepted. By the end of November we will know if we are the proud owners of a house with nearly 5 acres of land in the middle of the French countryside. It’ll need some renovating and updating but is perfectly habitable at the moment. We plan to start this French adventure in early 2018. We are therefore both accelerating our learning of French by various means; Rosetta Stone, Duolingo, CDs and books. One of these devices says that I am 41% fluent. I AM NOT!
We re-visited the property in September to have a second viewing which confirmed what a great find it was and toured the area to get a fix on what our new part time home will be like. We fell even further in love with the place and now have ‘frequent flyer’ membership with one of the ferry companies. We return to France later this year.
One last comment….the dolls house hobby is coming along slowly but surely; roof nearly complete and the lighting half done but working…..