Updated: Dec 14, 2021
In November 2020 we embarked on a small project with the simple aim of adding a second self-catering unit to our offering. Aim high, start small and keep going is the mantra. However, like much of my planning, it could have been better planned. It was more a case of aim low, start big and get interrupted with too many other things along the way.
When we arrived here in 2018 there was an old, neglected plum orchard completely surrounded and overgrown with scrub and vigorous growing willow. The privacy of the site, the views over the rolling Berwickshire fields and the morning sunrises were enchanting and it seemed such a waste of a beautiful location. After weeks of cutting back, lots of burning and firewood chopping we managed to sort out the site ready for a new roadway, power, water and data.
Planning took longer than expected during the height of Covid. I'm not sure what caused the delay but whatever it was it was frustratingly slow. And all for a development that is hidden from view and would only affect the aesthetic sensibilities of the sheep and hens. It reminded me of a song by Eddie Barclay, a Shetland singer/songwriter, who laments the bureaucracy involved in his application for a 'Peerie porch above the door' of his house.
Although, the planners worked with lightning speed compared to SEPA who took over eight months to process and approve the septic tank application. On the other hand Building Control were excellent. All the while we just tried to jolly things along and fund our works as best we could.
By May, we were back on track and it was all hands to the pumps. I had a target of going live by the end of October but I soon realised that I was going to have a heart attack if I kept going with that deadline. Thankfully, Alexa sat me down and talked some sense into me. We are now pleased to report that our first guests are booked in for New Year. Those first few bookings are always nerve wracking. Hopefully there won't be too many teething issues. At least I know the building's not going to fall down as it managed to withstand the 100mph winds of a few weeks ago while trees were toppled around it and neighbouring farmers' sheds were less fortunate. Maybe building surveying taught me something after all.
This has been a fun project although in all honesty I think I bit of a little more than I could chew. Not technically, just time wise. 12-14 hours days seven days a week is too much. Even God takes a day off, I'm told. Alexa said that she felt like a single-Mum over the summer even though I was just 200 yards away and coming up for meals. Plus I feel like I almost missed out on six months of the kids growing up and was living a solitary life, and for what? Well, a fantastic relaxing rural retreat with wonderful outdoor living, cracking views, a really cosy interior, powerful shower, wood-fired hot tub, fresh plums at harvest time and a chance to bond with the nature around. I hope you agree.
Until next time.