Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Turnip Greens

This is the 4th week away from Trassey.

We're loving the sea, the 'nearness' of everything, and being in the buzz of Newcastle Weekends.

But there is a big hole - we are beginning to miss our country life, and the Turnip House. This is a good thing. Now we begin to form in our minds the next steps; to begin to make solid all the things we thought about over the last couple of years after we decided that we needed a 'new challenge'.

The general consensus is that now is the time that we should settle down, do the sensible thing, and go for comfort and ease (in our declining years!) I must say that the relief of finally getting sold, and then the drama of actually moving out, was so draining, that for a time, it did seem a seductive option.

I am happy to report that that feeling did not last too long, we are settled (and excited) in our determination to proceed with the greening of Turnip House.

Turnip Greens

Our desire is to continue what we set out to do in 1987 -

  • to shift the work/life balance so that we work to live not live to work,
  • to gain more connection with life, nature and landscape
  • to take less and give more
  • to focus on life's real priorities
What does this mean in practice? Well, that's the journey!

Sustainability and a small (carbon) footprint are all in vogue now, for obvious reasons. We bought the books 'The Self Sufficient House' by Brenda and Robert Vale, and 'Seeing Green' by Jonathon Porritt 30 or more years ago. Being hopeless romantics we have always been inspired by these ideas, and not embarrassed by that.

When we gave up the rat race in England in the eighties, and moved back to Mourne to found Turnip House, this was our attempt to move towards these principles. It was great, enjoyable, extremely difficult at times, painful, clumsy, imperfect but overall totally rewarding.

Now we have the lucky chance to have another go, older (and wiser perhaps)

So here we go!

We are reading, researching, and planning. We will try and find somewhere where we can put into practice our plan.

Watch this space!

“The truth is that if we all do our bit to go self-sufficient – some doing no more than insulating their homes, others trying to go the whole hog and work towards going off grid – then the country, the world even, will go a long way to solving it’s ever pressing energy needs.”

Alan & Gill Bridgewater

The Self Sufficiency Handbook

New Holland Publishers 2009

Monday, March 08, 2010

Carlingford Food and Craft Fair: Turnip House on Tour

We did the first fair at Carlingford yesterday; in our new format.

Now we both go to Carlingford, and do food outside and craft inside.

We will be 'live cooking' making and cooking food fresh from the stand each month.

This month it was onion bhajis, Lentil and Tomato soup, Broccoli and Leek soup and fresh wheaten bread.

Our next event in Carlingford is the

on 28th March 2010

(Yes it is legal)

So we will be inventing something that a Leprechaun would like!

Watch this space.

4th March 2010 Settling Down

Charlie and I are really enjoying the easy access to the beach (and just occasionally The Anchor Bar and O'Hare's)

We are beginning to talk about what we are about and where we want to be going.

Now that we have 'cast off' our old life, it seems that more possibilities are presenting themselves and cropping up in our minds, which are currently running in overdrive!

The plan is to reflect over the next few weeks, look at what's about, and do a bit of rational thinking, setting out our objectives and ambitions, and then seeing how they might be met by what we do next.

Monday, March 01, 2010


We are now residents of Newcastle County Down - Charlie gets his morning walk on the beach, and I get a coffee and breakfast from The Strand Cafe - life in style!

The mountains display all their grandeur in the snow today

These next few days we will spend acclimatising to our new life, and recovering from the move (after 22 years in one place we've forgotten how stressful it is and totally underestimated just how much 'stuff' we had accumulated).

We'll be doing Carlingford Food and Craft Fair on Sunday, the first of the year. This is a great opportunity for us to develop our Turnip House at Large strategy, we will be doing both food and craft at the Fair - Elaine and I will be there (as no-one needs to man The Turnip House Workshop any more) and we will have expanded, freshly cooked food offering - hopefully outside and all our craft products - with a few new things inside. More to follow...

Settling In 28 February 2010

After an unbelievably hectic week of moving out, with the snow against us - it snowed 3 inches or more three times last week, we finally finished moving all our stuff out on Sunday.

Furby Squeak and Tiggy, the cats, moved down with us to our temporary home with our friend in Newcastle As you can see, Furby immediately 'settled in' (big time!)