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David and myself are both from farming families and fairly local to Presteigne, although just over the border in Shropshire.  I have known David all my life as he was my brother’s friend at primary school…poor fellow, but he did have ample opportunity to escape!


We both went to Ludlow Grammar School, but David left the year I started (see I told you he had chance to escape), and went to Hereford tech to study building and then on to Lanchester Polytechnic to do a degree in building.  Apart from a brief return home to farm, he has been in the industry ever since in the role of contracts manager and now Chartered Surveyor with McCartneys  a local firm of Estate Agents, Auctioneers, Valuers and Surveyors.


I went to Harper Adams Agricultural College and studied agriculture….not one of my brightest ideas…. And then was a tractor driver (and gofer!), on an arable farm for many years.


Having met again in 1980, the scene was set,  we built a house over what seemed like years and years, with a little help from various family members and married in 1985, my father uttering wise words to David,” are you sure you know what you’re doing?”… (see, another missed opportunity!)


Still tractor driving, in1990 and 1992, we had two little boys…..motherhood also wasn’t one of my better ideas and I returned to work with great haste, but after 4 summers of late nights and no weekends we had to make a change.


Putting the papers ready for burning, my eyes fell upon a lonely, deserted property for sale, no creature comforts that we were all used to, no mains water, no carpets or curtains that would fit and a huge amount of work and effort required…… along with a length of un-fenced river bank, no heating that worked or fireplaces that could safely be used, two small boys and two dogs!  So, naturally, having not thought it through…we moved in on August bank holiday 1994.


Having made the move, the boys grew up with wide open spaces and when not trying to kill each other, making a whole manner of inventions, mostly explosive,  and turning the river into part of their playground with dams, water wheels and rafts ,  it’s just that now they’ve grown up they are generally quite dangerous when anywhere near the barn.


I did B&B for a few years when the boys were small, but guests had to endure temper tantrums and being shot at with a whole variety of woodwork fashioned into guns, arrows or other missiles and they certainly weren’t going to be “ssshhhed”!.......NIGHTMARE!  So it was shelved for a few years, where only the few brave regulars dared to come, but now they’ve grown up and a degree of tranquility has returned. Having  up-graded our rooms and the boys  moved out (well mostly!!), I have returned to the B&B.


Jim has completed an apprenticeship in aero-engineering and mostly lives away from home, but has to come back for a fix of shooting, “spannering” in the barn (and repairing it when things go horribly wrong!)  Jet kart and rockets seem to still be his passion……just about anything that will fly or burst into flames or explode really.  He also has a helicopter licence, and is hoping to achieve commercial pilot status soon.


Matt is also doing an engineering apprenticeship,and too has a passion for shooting and fishing, and being very artistically talented often lends the finishing touches to the latest project about to be blown to pieces!   But I shouldn’t complain, all the early signs were there to be seen in their childhood, I just didn’t realize it.  That said, they are two very tidy young men who’s company is excellent and who’s stories and tales keep us in hysterics at the dining table!          


We have never really finished the house, but still seem to have done a fairly major refurbishment in amongst it all, odd really!


So, here we are, not entirely crackers…but close!!



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