The beginning - trading urban life for country life.
On many levels and in many ways, we had been subconsciously thinking about this moment for a while. We loved, and still do love, the buzz and energy of the metropolis, the hustle and bustle of everyday city life, the culture and immediacy of living in a big city. Even the dust and dirt have an appeal.
We quite enjoyed living cheek to jowl with our neighbours- an urban community spirit. So we weren’t particularly craving more personal space. It was a big business decision that pushed us to move, and it was then like many I imagine who take this journey, once we had launched ourselves over the precipice, we realised we loved all the things a city has to offer but we were just going through the motions of city life. It was fun but a new adventure beckoned. We could always visit, which we do regularly.
Moving out of London is something that many do, so waxing lyrical about the pros and cons I won’t do here, I think they are perhaps obvious to those who crave it or do it. We had started a business, and always thought that London would be the place to be. We’d lived there for 23 years and couldn’t imagine not being close to the action, inspiration, culture, and ease of travel that London offers but strangely as soon as we drove away, we didn’t look back. An exciting new chapter had already begun.
In London, our office was in the basement of our house and employees worked there with us. Our warehousing was outsourced and 3 hours away from our home, a long drive and time out of the business with weekly drives to and from. Our vision of a business that was flexible and spontaneous was proving difficult to achieve. We’d also decided to pack our own products which meant this was happening miles away from where we were based.
So we decided to move. To move to a location that provided space to live, work, store and create our products. This task however proved more difficult than we thought.
We spent over a year up and down the motorways of Britain, within a radius of 2 hours from London, looking for a place to live out our dream. At the time there were many equestrian facilities on the market that suited the work and storage spaces we were looking for, but the living accommodation was always way too large.
Over a year passed and our ideal was proving too difficult to find and so we decided to split our search and look for a separate home to office and storage.
On our daily trawl of online websites a property in an area of the country we knew quite well popped up and on screen we were smitten. Our friends, who lived locally, viewed it first on our behalf and with a big thumbs up emoji we hot footed it to Somerset the next day and fell instantly in love. It was of course way over 2 hours away from London.
Our perfect home Plum Tree Farm was old listed and in need of a caring new owner. The house a simple medieval farmhouse was built in the late 16th Century and built from local Hamstone – a lovely honey-coloured stone. The garden had very obviously once been magnificent. Full of flowers, plants and trees that had been loved, nurtured and planted over time with lots of research love and care. Its current owner was 103 and had lived there for over 70 years. She was reluctantly moving out of what was a treasure trove of memories of a life there with her husband and family. We knew as soon as we walked round that these most recent caretakers of Plum Tree Farm had created something special, and it was for the next owners to continue, and we desperately wanted to be those new owners.
When we were finally handed the keys to the farm, there was a very emotional moment when we were given a few photographs of the property when the parting owner had bought it in 1942 along with copies of her husband’s diary entries for the first few months of their ownership. This seemed like the last farewell to a home that they had built together and their overwhelming passion and love for something they had created. We have kept this parting gesture, and will hand it over to the caretakers who take over from us.
We now had somewhere to live but we had to quickly find somewhere to store our products and set up our office. We set up a work space for the team in London so work could carry on as normal, and we shuttled back and forth from Somerset to our warehouse in Andover. Several frustrating months passed until a fortuitous visit to a local farm promoting cooking classes led us to the perfect location to work from. Tenants were about to exit an office space on the farm and potatoes were about to exit a barn that became our warehouse. The transition to Somerset was nearly complete.
The first chapter of our new life and new business was at times stressful and challenging but also very exciting and motivating. A journey we don’t regret and one that was well worth the wait.