A Castle in the Sky

In March 2013, after years of talking about it we eventually sell up and move out of the city with our 2 year old, Gracie. We both grew up in the countryside and this is what we want for our daughter. So we swap a 2 bed flat in London for a small country pile on the west coast of Scotland that needs a lot of work. I've done a bit of interior design and my partner, Ed has a good knowledge of the outdoors – but we're on a tight budget and we've both got a lot to learn. It's a life time's project and this is a record of our adventure…

Reality Check..(Mar 8)

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It’s raining when we arrive (of course), miserably grey with a freezing cold wind that feels like a slap round the face as soon as we step out of the car.    It’s only marginally warmer inside (we keep our coats, hats and scarves on all day) – a fact I try to ignore by focussing on where all the boxes should go and sorting out our beds.

The removal men are very taken with the place and keep stopping to take photographs.   There’s no doubt that moving here is the stuff of fairy-tales but today all my romantic feelings are trumped by the reality of just how bitterly cold it is.

There’s a big woodburner in one of the rooms and the previous owners have left us a message telling us there’s plenty of logs.  But when we eventually go to look for them there’s nothing in the shed, so we resort to the local garage who sell small bags for a fiver.  They fill the burner (and the room) with grey smoke that stings our eyes – and when Ed chops one open with an axe, found in the empty shed, it’s soaked all the way through…

So we go to bed early, freezing cold and smelling of woodsmoke. Not quite the first night I’d imagined.

In the mayhem of all the half unpacked boxes I manage to find a set of very thick thermals. The last time I wore them was camping with Ed on the side of a mountain at extremely high altitude…

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