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…

It’s bloody cold but we do have deer…(Mar 10)

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It’s snowing. I’ve never been this cold inside a house since I was a kid and we had no central heating. Before we moved up here I wondered whether it would be so cold in the winter that we’d be able to see our breath when we woke up in the morning – another childhood memory (also one of Ed’s) and not one that I intended to repeat. Ed thought not, given that the side of the house we are living in is partially double glazed – but I’m sad to say that this morning he was proved wrong. I’m going with the ‘just wear another jumper’ theory but I’m wearing thermals, several layers, a hat and 2 pairs of mountain climbing socks – and I still can’t get warm.

So yesterday we dared to put on the heating. It’s oil powered and it costs a fortune. The previous owners advised only 6 hours for 6 months of the year (which cost them 6 grand a year!). Perhaps not surprisingly, 3 hours in the morning and 3 in the evening is making very little difference – and also feels totally extravagant as for now we’re only using a few rooms. There’s a window seat in the main room with a huge old cast iron radiator underneath, so when the heating’s on it’s an obvious place to take refuge.

So here we are at dusk this evening, wrapped up in our layers, watching the snow fall on the lawn ….and almost warm. It’s a view that takes in the sea and distant snowy mountains. The fire in the woodburner (we had a delivery of dry logs earlier today) is cracking loudly in the background and suddenly 2 roe deer come scampering out of the trees…

IMG_0925 deer

They stay for quite a while – skipping about in the snow and locking their baby antlers. It’s a magical scene.

I’ve no idea how we’re going to live here comfortably in the winter  – but a sprinkling of fairy dust like this does make me feel optimistic that we’ll manage to work it out.

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