It’s the roof of concept.

The moment the barn proves it’s a viable dwelling.

The incredible realisation that this conversion is 100% going to work.


The new roof rafters are on.

And they’re sound.

It shows that the barn is definitely structurally solid and the conversion will be a success.

In the next week or so we will have a building ‘in the dry’.



So we finally have a roof over our heads.

And it’s got me thinking.

We are so incredibly lucky to own somewhere like Rowan Farm. It’s going to be a knock out pad. It will be where we earn our keep. It will feed and water us. It’ll host some cracking parties.

And I can see how it would be very easy to pull up the drawbridge.

Recently one of our objectors complained to us that a delivery driver to Rowan Farm “came from a very rough area”. She had seen his address on the side of his truck and was convinced he was heading back to his insalubrious lair to plot some sort of criminal attack. “It only takes one conversation in the pub,” she said, “And the next thing we know we’ve been burgled.”

Now, put aside the fact that this is an outrageous slander on a seriously decent bloke, with whom we do a lot of business and know pretty well. Put aside the fact it is snobbery of the very worst kind.

This is a fear that keeps her awake at night.

And I’m genuinely sorry for her for that.

Because one of my greatest fears is succumbing to this sort of middle class terror myself. I can see the danger of isolating myself within my very great privilege and losing any sort of perspective.

Bourgeois guilt is what keeps me up at night. And it’s just as cliched.

There will be no drawbridge at Rowan Farm.

Having been inspired by Jamie Oliver’s charity, Fifteen, Oli and I plan to set up a young offender apprenticeship scheme for our company. But I confess we have failed to get very far with it yet.

So when I received a message this week from an old friend telling me about her family’s organisation Farm Buddies, it seemed like a god incident.

I know only too well the restorative abilities of being outdoors, physical labour and hanging out with four-legged friends.

Farm Buddies offers those benefits to people in challenging circumstances. The social enterprise finds placements on farms for people in the care sector. Whether it’s a ten year old kid in danger of exclusion, somebody struggling with addiction or a vulnerable elderly person, they place them with farmers to learn the agricultural ropes.

I think it’s a genius idea. They have had major successes in improving mental health. We’re meeting Farm Buddies’ founders next month.


In other news, the pigs’ palace is very nearly complete ahead of their arrival. Man Mountain Vince and the crew from Kiwi Fencing have been putting up Huff, Puff and Snuff’s pen today.

Oli is taking time out of building our house to build the three little piggies one instead.

They will be Rowan residents before we will be.

Lucky little blighters.