More from Warland Farm

Ralph came over this morning with the original paperwork for the barn conversion plus, a bonus, a report he had done last year on the possibilities for developing the Shippen. The same guys who do the Council inspections say that, providing the parking and plumbing can be worked out, there’s a good chance of getting permission to turn the Shippen into a house, too. Don’t want to do it but it adds value and provides a way to earn from the place if we need to.

His mate, Jeff, came over this afternoon to chop logs and stayed for dinner. I haven’t had a lot of time to be lonely here!

I cleaned out the other garage and swept up lots of oily dirt. It looks a lot better. Had Jeff saw the logs on the place I’d just swept so that the fresh sawdust will absorb more grime. It won’t take much to get the place looking spectacular.

Also talked to Al. He’s off to Harrogate on Saturday, to a show all about oak-frame building. He obviously still has a hankering to find a place like this.

More treasure!

What have you always wanted? A bottle of mercury! About 250ml; very exciting. Chris was here today and I showed him the hunting knife. He remembers the one I used to have and agrees this on is very similar and that that is weird.

He arrived about 10:30 and stayed until after lunch. He had a good look around the farm before we went into Tod for lunch.

Kevin turned up for breakfast, as promised. I made him a couple of duck-egg omelets, which he enjoyed. He also took a good look around and is keen to help any way he can. It appears the real reason for the surprise visit was to ask some advice about how to deal with his bad treatment at work. From what he said, it appears they want him to leave without taking his 20 years’ redundancy entitlement. I suggested there wasn’t much using getting all legal, just to draw a line and not retreat any more.

While in Tod, after shopping at the market, I called at Viney’s and picked up the farm deeds. I haven’t looked at them yet but I’ll report anything interesting soon.

Walked home with my shopping because I’d just missed s bus. Waiting for half an hour then sitting on the bus would have only been a bit quicker and this way I got to test my leg a bit. Kevin has recommended a maseur who sounds about right for my ailment.

At Tod Market, I chatted with the foreign-goodies stall-holder. When he heard I was a baker, he was keen to buy some foccacias from me! Options, choices!

Got a letter today from GB Liners who will be handling the import and delivery of our stuff. How exciting.

The garage near the house is now empty except for the car. It’ll become a temporary workshop until the main area is boarded out in preparation for the shed stuff arriving.

Tomorrow, Jeff is coming to help take down the crane so that I can repair the wall and strengthen it. That way, we can use the crane to lift our furniture up into the Shippen loft where it’ll be safe and dry.

I’m glad Bandit is on her way. It’ll be a big adventure for her but I’m sure she’ll love it when she gets here. There were cows in the lower paddocks this afternoon; could have done with Bandit to discourage them.

There’s a pretty woodpecker trying to bore a hole in our power-pole. I wonder if I should mention it to someone?

Exploring and discovering

Just took 600+ photos of the farm house, barns and gardens for posterity. 

Should take some if the paddocks and springs; maybe if the dry weather continues. 

Just as me windows were getting spotty, up popped the window cleaner this morning. £6.50 the lot, once a month. A bargain, compared to cleaing the huge windows in our Tennyson beach house.

Chris obviously caught up on his sleep today after the drive from Aberdeen. I hope to see him tomorrow. 

Lancashire Hot Pot for tea. Don’t tell the locals!

Found a bunch of history books in a cupboard including a bodice-ripper, “The World from Rough Stones”, based on the railway’s arrival in the valley. 

We have three (3) Belfast sinks to our name; none of them are attached to plumbing

Monica got a new car today

I just got in from cleaning the Astra. I think it hadn’t had any love for a long time so there was a good deal of dirt to sweep out and wash off. Thankfully, no heavy smokers have used it. I also made a cardboard floor for the boot which hides the spare wheel and some ugly lining. When I get a jigsaw, I’ll make a proper floor out of plywood and carpet. I’ll check it for oil etc before I set off anywhere. It smokes a bit so I would like to get it assessed before I rely upon it for any long journey, say, beyond Al’s.

It’s almost the end of October and it still isn’t cold here. Any bit of sun warms up the courtyard so I can even go out barefoot with no trouble. I popped out again just now to try some random keys in the Shippen lock. I found the one but the lock needs to be aligned. The barn has a hasp for a padlock and the roller doors can also be secured with a padlock. So, with Ralph’s patent gate lock, the whole place can be secured if we go away.

I’m trying Kevin’s idea of washing powder on the stones to prevent slime. Some on the clear areas, some on the slimy areas to see how it works. It’s possible that the trick relies upon an enzyme so I must check what sort of powder Monica’s bro uses.

Early last week Kevin invited me to a drumming workshop and gig in Hebden this Saturday. However, he failed to respond to my acceptance and called after the workshop finished, then said he was going to the gig late. Perhaps the offer was only out of politeness; perhaps his style of arranging such events will make it difficult for me to join in.

Still waiting for t’Internet; also for the oil delivery. The Aga may stop if the latter doesn’t arrive soon. No biggie but I hope the seals aren’t damaged. Once those items are here, my plan is to head off for a few days to paint the flat and to see Al & Bev. That should be late next week. The weekend of 4 Nov I’ll be at the Treesponsibility gathering; then sometime in the next week I’ll head down to London to stay with Neil before Bandit arrives.

My left hip hurts again this evening. I thought it was getting stronger but I must have twisted it again. I can ignore it when I’m active but, now I’m still, it’s a bugger to get comfortable. I think it’s also aggravated by the hard single bed so, tonight, after a hot bath, I’ll move back to the double bed.

The clocks changed here; at half five it’s already pretty black outside. I hope Monica has Bandit trained for long sleep-ins!

Saw folk cycling the skyline across the top of the gully opposite today. I didn’t take that route to Kevin’s, though it’s the most direct, because it doesn’t appear as well marked on the map. When my hip is better, I’ll head up there to take in the view of the farm.

First days at Warland Farm

I’m in at the farm and loving it; would love to show folk around.

Been here since Monday, though I stayed a few days last week to learn the ropes. Just seen my first visitors out of the gate: Kevin, Molly & Stacy. An old friend from London may be up this weekend, so it’s already getting busy, even though the place is a bit sparse.

I was left a double bed, with bedding, plus two singles, only one with a mattress; two armchairs and a dining suite; plus bits and pieces of cutlery. Enough to survive but I need to visit a few op shops soon.

The Aga and the fire keep me warm, of course, so the place is cheerful. First visit to Todmorden Market today to get in supplies. All good.

To cap it off, we’ve had an offer for the Adelaide house so fingers crossed we get through the cooling-off period and Monica will be on her way. The furniture will still be a couple of months off but, if you folk camping indoors, visitors are welcome to stay.


I’m staying at the flat in Manchester while the farmers take leave of their home of forty years. I return to Warland on Monday to collect the keys after they’ve finished their removals. The time I spent with them last week was remarkably valuable for making friends with them, for introductions to the neighbours and for learning how (well) the farm works. It was also quite emotional for me because I continue to discover many resonances that bode well for the way the farm will receive me. For example, the Pownalls are leaving a home-made fire-poker very similar to one Uncle Freddy made for Gran; plus a tiny brass three-wise-monkeys exactly like one Gran had. Also, they’re leaving a wall clock with a wonderful ‘tick’ like the one I enjoyed at Aunt Pauline’s Stank Farmhouse.

In fact, the Pownalls are very generously leaving most of their major possessions behind because Karin is determined that their new, smaller place will be furbished and furnished to her liking. She’s grasping the opportunity to please herself with new and more labour-saving stuff. That’s great for me because I like all the old things she wants to leave behind. I’m sure there will be some regrets about moving on their part—they have already expressed some to me—but any doubts I may have are quickly evaporating.

The flat is over a bar in central Manchester: sexy but noisy. I think I can improve it quite a bit in the imminent renovations but, for tonight, there’ll be little sleeping until 2am even with ear-plugs and eye-shades. Hence I had a snooze earlier (not good for the jet-lag) and will now eat before going out to watch a late movie. I think a bottle of malt may add to my comfort, too.

Messages from Warland

My first week of life here at the farm has been a dream, for two reasons. First, I’ve had a wonderful time; second, it’s very hard to get a message out!

A friend in London has kindly offered to help collect Bandit from Heathrow, so no worries about that. I’ll still try to stay with Neil a while when I go down in a couple of weeks from now.

It’s just over a week since Ralph and Karin handed on responsibility for Warland Farm to us. I see them most days because they seem to have adopted me, plus Ralph keeps returning bits of machinery that won’t fit into his new garage for storage here. 

The neighbours have all been welcoming and I have already found buddies among them for cycling, brewing and other pastimes. All of my requisites have been met by the local shops without recourse to a supermarket; the Aga and I are becoming friends; and the log fire is better than a telly. The Pownalls left me two beds, two armchairs and a dining suite so the place isn’t bare and life is, mostly, sweet. 

My only frustrations are with the bigger world that provides miserable mobile coverage, can’t get my phone and broadband going and won’t deliver the insurance certificate that would get the car on the road. I’m sitting in the bow window to try to squeeze messages out so that folk know everything is fine with me.


So, a tentative, “Congratulations” upon selling the house? No news is, I hope, good news.

When I was a boy, I had a small hunting knife. Uncle Freddie gave it to me and I had it for years. Of course, I’ve no idea how to hunt with one; it was just a boyish delight to own such a thing. It had a layered handle and a handsome curve to the blade. About a year ago, I realized that I missed it and determined to look out for a replacement. Well, I just found its sibling at the bottom of the gun case in the Dairy, which was empty last time I looked…

I’ve decided not to tidy the barns because there’s so much treasure to discover and you should share the adventure. I foolishly suggested the antique dealer might like to look but, thankfully, he forgot or didn’t believe me.

I keep giving the clock encouragement by tapping it’s pendulum and holding my breath until it stops ticking. This evening, I had to let my breath out. It’s still going and has just chimed, grandly. Hurrah!

Jeff, the odd job guy, called in today to ask if he could saw up some of the scrap that was left for the fire. I agreed, so we should have enough to see out the winter.

I’ve a Newkie-Brown in my hand, a stew in th’oven and a happy heart.


I’ve been at the farm for one week now. It’s a true delight to be here after such a long period of expectation. It would be perfection if Monica could be here to share the daily discoveries but it’ll be a month before she arrives.

We’ll know on Friday whether the Adelaide house is sold: we’ve accepted an offer but there’s a statutory cooling-off period. Fingers crossed.

Ralph and Karin, who lived here for forty years up to last week, have adopted me and I see them most days. The neighbours in the Warland hamlet have all been charming, especially after I quashed the rumour that we were opening a motor cyclists’ hotel.

All my needs have been met by the shops and markets nearby, though I must live very simply until our container arrives. The Aga is lovely, though I can’t claim to be in charge yet, and the log fire is better than t’telly. 

It’s hard to believe I’m living in Yorkshire again; my cheery “g’day” must confuse the natives.

Communications and transport aren’t sorted yet. When they are I’ll visit folks further afield. Of course, they’re welcome here at any time. It isn’t completely bare: I was left armchairs, beds and a dining set so you could stay over. 

Chris promises to visit next week, which will be a delight. I’m sure I won’t be lonely here.