It's almost a year since we moved to Derbyshire from Nottinghamshire, and we have come a long way since then. We were on a wonderful livery yard, but with two injured horses it seemed silly to be paying for facilities we couldn't use. We looked at a farm in Lincolnshire, but it didn't generate enough income for both of us to give up work, and if Mr O still had to commute, it defeated the object. We looked at a very cheap livery yard, but it was cheap because there was nothing there, and they wouldn't take our lorry. Back to the drawing board.
Then one day we went to our local tack shop, and there on the board was an advert. A woman wanted someone to come and look after her horses, in exchange for cheap livery. We had nothing to lose, so we rang up.
We came to look round on a very windy day, not knowing that would be the tone for the next six months, and were satisfied with what we saw, including the tiny cottage we would be living in. On paper it didn't work at all, and yet, for some reason, we knew it was perfect.
And so we moved from a 5 bedroomed house to a 1 bedroomed cottage, so that we could afford to keep our horses. I can remember how foggy it was the night we came to sign the contract, and thinking we would drive straight onto the verge and into a dry stone wall because we couldn't see a single thing. No streetlights to guide us, nothing, just darkness. Anyway, we obviously did sign, and drank a lot of wine to seal the act, and the next day I handed my notice in at work and two days later we put our house on the market.
It was quite funny when I went into work on the Monday morning, white envelope in hand, as my Manager also had horses and knew the saga we were having trying to find somewhere to move them. I said, "We've finally found somewhere to keep our horses."
She said, "That's good!"
I said, "Not really - it's in Derbyshire." She looked confused. I handed her the envelope. I knew then there was no going back. It did give me a small degree of satisfaction.
All the girls at work were very encouraging. The credit crunch was in full flow. "You'll be living the dream," they said.
So this is the story of our dream, and the reality.
While I was gone
6 hours ago