Our Story: An Unexpected Move

We had always dreamed of living somewhere like the Lake District, but the timing of our move took us by surprise.  Having made the hard decision to give up primary teaching, Joanna loved her new part-time job and having more time available for us all.  Matt, having worked in management at British Airways but wanting a more community-based career, had quickly worked his way through the layers of school leadership and was running several primary and secondary schools in the Bristol area.  Oscar and Jasper were at a superb local primary school a stone’s throw from home, where we happily lived within a lovely and lively village community within the city of Bristol, blessed with wonderful local friends.  Our only experience of farm animals was the clutch of chickens happily clucking away at the bottom of our garden.

On Easter Sunday 2017 we were on holiday just outside Keswick.  It was a drizzly day and we waterproofed-up to climb to the ridge of the Riggs, which we had been gazing at from our holiday cottage.

From the top we looked down upon a stunning valley and agreed that if we ever did follow our dream of living a more rural life, this would be the spot.  A few paces later, Matt spied ‘Our Perfect Farm’, with a beautiful backdrop to the fells, a view towards the ridge we were standing on, streams to jump, woods for building dens and perhaps a tree house, rocks in the top fields for the boys to climb and a tree to hang rope swings on.  Perfect!

We continued our walk down to the charming church of St. Johns-in-the-Vale, laughing every time we saw the Easter Bunny (true!  An adult was out walking, dressed as the Easter Bunny!) and wound our way through fields of lambs back to the holiday cottage.

The following day we drove down St. John’s-in-the-Vale, past Our Perfect Farm, which we learned was called Fornside Farm, on the pretext of going to the tea-garden opposite.  We fell a little more in love.  Still, most farms in the Lakes are handed down through the generations and never come up for sale.  Still, it was nice to dream.  We returned to Bristol and life resumed as normal.

A few weeks later, Matt had one of those ‘bad day at work, our house is too cramped, where else could we live?’ moments and looked on the usual estate agency websites.  Busy cleaning the bathroom when he shouted, “Joanna, come here, quickly!” I ran downstairs (complete with rubber gloves) expecting some sort of disaster, only to see Our Perfect Farm on the screen.  Well, it wasn’t our farm.  But it was The Farm.  Fornside Farm.  For sale!

Decision time.  Would we be brave enough to follow our dreams?