A sense of place

We live here. It’s the most beautiful place on Earth and I can’t believe that my dream came true. Like all dreams, the reality is different, and unexpected in many ways – but in the main, I am very happy here in the midst of my furry family and my patient and loving other half, Mr Pat.

This is Blea Tarn House – at the top of the Big Hill. One of the highest farmhouses in the Lake District. Our postcode says Little Langdale but it’s Great Langdale we belong to historically, and in spirit.

The house is 17th Century with a 19th century extension. We aren’t a working farm anymore – our lovely neighbours, Isaac and Kerrie Benson, from Fell Foot, farm the land. I take a keen, totally novice, interest and am always keen to help where and when I can. I suspect it’s an act of patience for them, rather than any real assistance. I ask lots of daft questions and often need a translation….But I like to bake and someone’s got to eat it…

The house looks quaint from the outside – and in summer, it is just beautiful – pure Lakeland. But it is quirky, to say the least… we are totally off-grid. No mains electricity – just a little diesel generator (Ivor the Engine) for lighting and power, and calor gas for heating. Our water comes straight off the Fell and we have a septic tank. We rent from the National Trust and pay ridiculous council tax for almost no services. There’s no street lighting, an occasional rubbish removal service…Our washing machine is outside in the wash house – access via the lane. We have no freezer, no electric kettle, no dishwasher, no hairdryers, no tumble dryer and no telly (despite the satellite dish), no mobile phone signal and the slowest internet connection in the northern hemisphere.

And we love it.

Mr Pat works a mile down the road at the Old Dungeon Ghyll. He has the best commute in the world. I am very jealous. I’m a nurse, working in Kendal. It takes me 40 to 60 minutes to get there and always longer to get home. We both love our respective jobs but I love staying in the Lakes on my days off. And I love being at home. We walk a lot – I like to be outside. The garden is a challenge this high up – it’s a constant battle…I’m never going to win, all victories are small but I’m stubborn…

I was brought up in Cornwall – another beautiful place. My mum first brought us up here when I was about 7. It was a defining moment – I love the sea but the mountains called to me. They still do. Mr Pat and I might be offcomers but this place is in my soul.