Invigorated by our moorland walk and bursting with new ideas to discuss , we roused the men from their post-lunch drowsiness. We chattered excitedly as we loaded the kitchen table with crusty olive bread, local cheeses Sloe Gin …………and more wine…….about our ideas for bringing tourists to Mistlehall Farm for birdwatching or walking holidays.
Whenever a picture or article resonates, I file it: sometimes I will use it years later for something undreamed of when it took my eye. So my ‘brainstormers’ gasped in amazement as out of the file tumbled pictures of yurts, igloos, huts and follies.
‘Posh Camping’ appealed, though with the sodden weather of the last two summers in mind, I was disinclined towards canvas. Although we were essentially discussing very basic, low input accommodation I wanted something robust and cosy, where you could retire in comfort after a long day outdoors. Perched on the edge of Chatsworth Park and with no redundant buildings to convert, we would struggle with planning consent so our choice had to be low key and mobile. The wooden igloos were discussed at length but skids were dismissed as impractical on our steep hillside. Sadly, we had to agree that the wild terrain wasn’t suitable for children, nor did we wish to spoil the magical quality that had just inspired us, so numbers would be kept low.
Slowly, as the skies beyond the open windows turned from deepest purple to ink black and the robin and song thrush sang their clear, haunting notes into the stillness of the late summer evening , the ideas began to take shape.
Three or four secluded sites, set into the hillside, with a loo and shower block and cooking facilities: so much was agreed on. I have had a passion, since childhood for garden sheds and am always inspired by my daily update from the Shedworkers Bloghad http://www.shedworking.co.uk/ Our own Bodran had set me thinking, last year, about the possibility of a quirky caravan kitted out for visitors.
And there, in the middle of the pile of cuttings, lay the answer: it was a pretty picture of a fisherman’s hut: a kind of garden hut on wheels with French windows in the side, painted duck-egg blue with a ‘half-timbered’ appearance. We looked up ‘Fisherman’s Huts’ and ‘Shepherds Huts’ on Google and found some beautiful interiors, complete with cream Yorkshire boarding, chintzy fabrics and woodburning stoves.
It was after midnight by the time we cleared away the files of clippings and empty bottles: the debris of our evening’s work and I fell wearily into bed. As I lay watching the stars from the deep, soft comfort of my duvet, I relished the exhilarating prospect of getting the new project underway...........