It seems long ago since I walked through the doors of Lower School, for the first time at the age of 12.  Some things that I was taught all those years ago, I have to admit, I have forgotten – any Latin that went in, I am delighted has departed!  Happily, there are many things that were instilled in me during those formative years that I have done my best to keep close to me.  The kindling of faith was one of those. During my school years I found faith, got confirmed and was chapel sacristan.  In my 20’s, I was very blessed to find a wonderful woman to be my wife. Our Christian faith has grown together over the 18 years that we have been married and we have been blessed with nine children, currently aged between 1 and 17.

Although both my wife and I had great school educations, we have been home educating our children for the past 10 years as we really felt called to do this.  I have also worked from home for the past 8 years.  During these years, we lived in Epsom in a typical 4 bed suburban house.  It did us well but with one bathroom for 11 of us, and all of us at home, all the time, it was getting a little cramped.

We felt that there was more to life than living in a box in suburbia and so in recent years we were searching Rightmove to find that idyllic pad in the country.  Many we inquired about had just been sold – doors were slammed.  We took a step back and realised we needed to find a church that fitted our family first and then a house nearby second.  The strategy worked and we found a lovely church and then one house that felt right, 4 miles away – and it was still available!  Trouble was – this was now in BREXIT time and selling our home in the south suddenly became harder than we imagined.  18 months later and many prayers, and the vendors turning down other offers, we were delighted to be able to move up to Shropshire to a large farmhouse with barns and nearly 3 acres.  

We moved last August and since then our lives have changed beyond recognition.  We are working on becoming more self-sufficient and now have 12 hens, a cow and her calf as well as a few pigs that have made their way into our freezer.  This, along with the seedlings we are caring for in the greenhouses ready for crops this summer, allows us to get milk (and make yogurt, butter and mozzarella), eggs, pork, bacon and gammon, as well as the vegetables as they grow ready for harvest.  In this time of lockdown we thank the Lord that he led us here – in His timing.

Our journey has been a turbulent, but truly amazing life changing experience.  It was filmed for a TV program, “A country life for half the price” on Channel 5.  You can watch it on My5 Catchup.

I have to say – phoning a company and asking if they can come and trim my cow’s hooves was not something that I ever thought I would need to do. However, our life now is really not what it ever used to be so last week, I was calling a company to ask if they could trim my cow’s hooves!

Mary being trimmed!


Shropshire Hoof Care came to our smallholding. We met Adrian as he was coming down the drive and he said to me – “am I really in the right place? It’s far too clean!” I laughed.

He set up in our courtyard and we then led both Martha and Mary out of the field and to his setup.

I was most impressed and Mary didn’t seem to mind at all! Martha is clearly too young so didn’t have to have it done.

Mary being trimmed!

Leading the cows to pasture

Wow – you would not believe how much has happened over the past year.

We are now in mid-April having moved to our lovely home in North Shropshire last August. Eight months of huge activity and a life change that you would not believe.

This is my first post – the first, I hope of many over the coming years. Vicki (my wife) and I hope that we can use this as a record of what we are doing in our new life in the country – as well as giving you an insight into our lives, our faith, our adventures and how we cope with all these new experiences that are continually hitting us.

There is much to catchup on, from where we came from, and our journey to date:

Over the past year, we have moved house during BREXIT (not to be recommended!), bought a house in the country that requires a lot of TLC, gained 12 hens, 3 pigs, a dog and a couple of cows! Found that 3 acres takes a lot of work to care for, planted 100’s of seeds which are now germinating nicely to help provide us with a veg garden and had to buy a bunch of tools (boys’ toys) to help us out!

Our current adventure started nearly 3 years ago. We were already home educating, working from home and living in a 4 bed house in suburban Epsom, UK (with one bathroom). Sounds lovely until you remember that we have 9 children with 3 of them being teenagers! A small garden was only allowing the children to ride in ever decreasing circles and build a treehouse in a holly bush!

Over the past 10 years, holidaying in the country on a dairy farm, allowed us to watch the children really grow and stretch out in the space. Christopher (our eldest) got in with the farm and started helping out milking the 500+ cows. It made Vicki and I realise that the dream of moving to the country could actually happen! Rightmove searching commenced and I have to say (to my detriment) house envy started!

One year we found this lovely house in Shropshire. We laid a fleece and said that if it was still on the market in a years time we would do something about it – one of those “nice dreams, but it’s not going to happen moments”. A year later, back at the farm on holiday and surfing continues and I show Vicki – “look – nice house”. She looks at me and say – that’s the one we talked about last year! Oh my! To cut a long story short, we looked at it, I loved it / Vicki wasn’t too sure, but was happy to proceed. We offered but as we had only just started to put our house on the market, they didn’t accept the offer and less than two weeks later they sold to other people!

Eventually we found another property – it had nearly 3 acres, 5 beds with potential to expand to 7, and loads of outbuildings. We viewed it and loved it. Our eyes were open and could see that it needed a lot of TLC, but the potential was awesome. It was also close to a church that we felt we were being called too (more on that in another post). We expressed our interest in purchase but were honest in that we had not sold ours yet! They said they would wait! WOW.

Wait they did – another 15 months before we were able to sell and move…..

During that time, Vicki found out about a lovely TV Program – a Country Life for Half the Price with Kate Humble. A new series that were looking for families to feature.

Vicki sent an email and I think the production team bit our hand off – Family of 11, homeschooled, wanting to get into small holding…..

So now we have cameras following the move and making a fabulous record of the our journey. You can watch it (if you are in the UK) on Channel 5’s My5 (its episode 2).

So jumping ahead to moving – wow – how to move 11 people and 16 years worth of stuff 200 mile away. All credit to Vicki for methodically packing everything! 

We have been at our new home for 8 months now and in that time we have started to build up a little smallholding around us.  The garden is starting to flourish and the blossom is blooming.