Boredom is not a lack of things to do.

I used to tell my 2 children this when they were growing up. Its a neat little aphorism which cannot be argued with – or at least couldn’t be by them at the time.

Since we moved back to my wife’s family home (farm) and particularly since I retired from my job as an NHS Consultant I have come to realise that the neat aphorism is very true.

We came back here in 2007 ostensibly to look after Shelly’s ageing and increasingly frail mother but in reality took on the task of renovating a 150 year old cottage and maintaining 10 acres of farmland. There is never a lack of things to do. Hopefully what we’ve done will get documented here.DSC_0017


….is almost inevitable in 150 year old house. The larvae of a number of beetles eat the wood and poo out the result – some of which can be seen on the lower right of the photo which is a piece of one of our floorboards. The result is wood that is essentially hollowed out and brittle.

Sadly the entire top floor of our cottage was similar to the photo and needed replacing.


The Swiss Army Knife

Well although we live at Oak Farm, its more of a smallholding. Nevertheless with 3 horses and 4 fields, a Tractor is a must.

Yes I would love a big John Deere or Massey but they are just impractical for this amount of land.

The answer is a small tractor – most of the affordable ones are imported from Japanese rice farms and have done a couple of thousand hours of work.

The beauty of these little tractors is that they are mechanically simple and generally bomb-proof.

My current tractor (below) is a 3 cylinder 25hp Yanmar with a semi-automatic gearbox. I can top (mow) the fields, harrow (spread) the horse poo and roll the land with no problems.

The front loader means I can move heavy stuff (well rotted manure/tree stumps etc) easily and the engine is dead simple to service.

Cost about £4k – without the dog!IMG_20170712_115625