Four Years on an Island Farm

Updated: Mar 1, 2020

May 2015.

I left my job as a practice nurse, we sold our house and all moved into a tent in the garden of a very kind and accommodating friend.

August 2015.

A tearful but exciting goodbye to our family and friends as we boarded the plane to Scilly and began our new adventure on Bryher. Arriving at our new home Hillside Farm on a gloriously hot summer’s day, unpacking the containers that had been in storage for three months and standing in awe at the view from our front door.

August 2019.

Another beautiful sunny day. Four years into our dream of living on a small farm on this very special little island we now call home.

What an adventure it has been. We have learnt to breed pigs, I’ve watch piglets born. Calved cows, become a beekeeper and collected honey, learnt to drive a tractor, put up a poly tunnel, planted an orchard. I’ve eaten sea spaghetti, sea rocket, fat hen, pennywort and pineapple top. I’ve learnt to prune an apple tree, picked 2,380 courgette and 2,376 bags of spinach….and a lot more veg besides, but I won’t bore you with the figures.

I’ve learnt to live and work with my husband, started to paint again, begun writing and made so many new and interesting friends.

This afternoon I spent a little time on the most incredible boat with some inspiring folk from Cornwall. Their ship, and home is a 1946 herring drifter from Buckie in Scotland. A great and beautiful lady she is too, bursting at the seems with character and personality. Every nook and cranny is either a useful or beautiful space, the light, the smell all evocative of age and timber and a life at sea. The folk who inhabit and love her wanted to live a life not ruled by the grind of the rat race but to be adventurous, true to themselves and free. And they do, and it’s inspiring.

Herb salad on deck

We have tried to do the same, live a life of adventure, interest and follow our dreams.

I have learnt to understand the tides and to live a life dictated by those tides, being patient and content. I have a greater appreciation for nature and how gentle our existence needs to be in order not to ruin those plants and creatures around us.

I have also learnt to swim in the sea, been stung by a jellyfish, swum with seals and travelled between islands using no other power than my arms and legs.

This evening I swim from Great Par. The sea changes in an instant from sun dazzled green to cloud covered silver grey. The gulls shriek noisily and in the distance there is the calming hush of swell on the Norad Rocks.

I dive straight down and skim along the seabed. The marbled, mottled Sand Gobies dart away from me, their shadows on the sand.

Rain hits the surface causing a misty grey spray to bounce from the sea and the sound and feel of the raindrops hitting my swimming hat remind me of popping candy.

The cloud and rain move on and the sunbeams dance through the emerald green once again, making my heart dance along with them. Jets of streaming silver bubbles flow from my fingertips as they cut through the sea.

It’s a day for diving and tumble turning and revelling in this wondrous underwater world.

Four years on and I feel like the luckiest person alive.

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