A Clean Sheet


A COUPLE are searching for their forever home. That dream cottage with roses around the front door and a chimney puffing smoke. A place where their dogs can run free (because let’s face it, the ill-trained mutts wouldn’t come back when called anyway) and their children can free range (and probably not come back when called either).

Thumbing through the local paper, an ad for an old stone cottage stands out. It’s got land, they rejoice because if you’re moving to the country who wants to tend a garden and grow gnomes when you can have land, to work and live off.

The house, in some forgotten corner of North-East England, is remote and inaccessible. So remote the electricity company never went to the bother of dragging cables all the way down, so the house has no mains power. The only vehicle access is a potholed dirt-track that twists down a steep sided gorge before tipping you out at the cottage, deep in the woods.

Is it a sensible choice of home for a modern family? Probably not.

Will they be happy living with only a diesel generator for power, denied modern conveniences like a dishwasher, a tumble dryer, an electric kettle even a hair dryer… I don’t think they’ve worked that one out, yet.

It’s also at the top end of their budget. “Never mind, we can plant trees and grow money,” she suggests ambitiously.

“Our children will be deliriously happy building dens in the woods and I will fall in love with you all over again watching you chop wood for the fire.

This was the dream. A dream of self sufficiency, environmentally-friendly family life and freshly laid eggs for breakfast.

Did it work out like that? Of course it didn’t, but when does life every work out quite the way you dreamed?

This blog is their story.



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