• Steven Bennett

Part 7 - Are We Actually Doing This?


There have been big changes in the last 12months. Emma and I moved not only the nursery but out home from South Manchester suburbia to the rugged mountainous scenery of Snowdonia in North Wales. Living on the nursery, growing our own food and expanding the animals that we kept had been our aim for many years. We began 2016 searching for the place we were going to live and travelled far and wide, including a long days travelling to see several remote houses in Dumfries and Galloway. Eventually we found Maes Mawr, a smallholding with 5 acres and a chocolate box cottage with view of Mount Snowdon in one direction and the sea in the other.

Now we say found, well you had to be shown, Maes Mawr is accessed down a track..... through a gate...... up a track across a field.... through a gate way across the other field, through another gateway and on towards the cottage. During that drive you may have encountered some sheep, or maybe a cow.

It's a remote cottage with its own private water supply from the top field. The view from the drive up has stunning views towards the mountains. We loved it and on the drive home we put an offer in, well we tried to after pulling over on the hard shoulder but the office was shut so we had to wait till the morning.

We sold our house and in July 2016 moved ourselves and the animals we had to North Wales.

Moving house is supposedly one of the most stressful things to do and so it proved for us. We decided to do the move by hiring two large vans and enlisted the help of some volunteers to drive one of the vans. So after loading up and saying a final goodbye to our home for the last 10 years, we collected the goats from the nursery and set off for Cymru.

Everything went smoothly (well as smoothly as moving house can go, and after collecting goats in the pouring rain after misplacing the gate key for the nursery) until we arrived at Maes Mawr.

As mentioned the track from the house to the road is across fields and over the years, despite being laid to stone and chippings wasn't used much so grass and soil had built up over the top. So after the mornings heavy rain, which was heavy the surface was less than ideal. The landrover and trailer drove up no issues, The two vans however, fully laiden were another matter. As the incline increased after 30yrds the front wheels could do no more and began to spin.

That was the beginning of our problems.

The trusty landrover was unhooked from the trailer and reversed back down the track with a tow rope. I don't know how, but I managed to drag a fully loaded long wheel base van up the now slippy track, the van wheels spinning all the way.

Our issues were not over. When we viewed the house, the previous occupants car, being small was the only car on the driveway made it appear huge. On our move day, a landrover, animal trailer, our parents van containing the dogs and a large van all trying to find room it wasn't quite so spacious.

After the time it took getting the van to the house we were behind schedule, but we weren't about to gain any either. The van was e,emptied and then to gain some room the Landrover was dispatched back to the bottom of the hill to rescue the second van. After an aborted and failed attempt to reverse the first van out of the driveway there was then a 3 point turn to execute. I don't know how many points there were in the turn it was significantly more than the usual 3 and took a long time. By now the second van had been dragged up the hill, still raining, it arrived in an already over crowded yard. This one took even longer to turn round and its now empty partner was taking up a lot of space. After a well earned brew break one of our helper drivers volunteered to take the empty van back down the fill.

Off they set.... in the unmerited full van.... with me in hot pursuit waving my arms like I was being chased by a swarm of angry bees. It was at this point as the second, and still loaded van disappeared out of sight that Emma had what could only be termed as 'had a sense of humour failure'. We eventually managed to get the second van to the top of the hill. Again. It was finally unloaded of its cargo.

We had planned to have the house sorted and everything in its place by tea time ready to collect the poultry from the nursery the following day. As it was we left for the return journey at around 10pm leaving Emma to the chaos that was to the all consuming centre of her life for several months. I fell into bed at around 1.30am after the longest, hardest and most stressful days I have ever or ever hope to have.

Emma slept on her own in her clothes - didn't seem much point trying to find pjs in the mess. She woke to a beautiful sunrise. A small pleasure to the joy of waking in a damp bed clothes and a damp, old house.


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