We have lived in Hallbankgate for 26 years and have fleetingly and occasionally thought about moving but can't think of any where else that we would rather live so recently we have renovated the house to make a very comfortable bed and breakfast and are really looking forward to receiving our first guests. The only bit left to do is the garden – so I expect that will be an ongoing project for a few years to come! Meanwhile the hens enjoy scratching around in the undergrowth and laying their eggs in unlikely places.
Peter has his workshop attached to the house from where he makes wooden boxes - jewellery boxes, desk boxes, that kind of thing. It sounds an odd sort of profession but you would be amazed at what people put into boxes and the demand for them from all corners of the globe. Until recently I was a district nurse in neighbouring Northumberland and both of us know the area well and are keen walkers and cyclists and so can offer lots of advice on local walks and attractions.
Hallbankgate is a small village, sort of at the end of the Pennines and squidged between the Eden Valley and Irthing Valleys in the north eastern corner of the beautiful county of Cumbria. We are on the edge of the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty the sign for which is about 100 metres up the road but we still think we are pretty outstanding and think they should move the sign back a bit. The village has a pub – the Belted Will, a Co-operative store and post office, a garage and a library so we are pretty well self sufficient and there isn't really any need to go out of the village at all. If you asked the staff at the Co-op if they would order in some caviar and champagne they would probably do so without even blinking an eyelid so who needs Fortnum and Mason?
The Old School House is one of the oldest houses in the village and we think dates back to the early 18th century. At one time it was both the school and the school masters house and had as many as 90 children on its roll. It is a solidly built stone cottage with plenty of character and interest. We've altered it a bit and added bits here and there since moving here in 1985 but I hope we've respected its character and just moved it on into the twenty first century.
If you would like to keep up with news and events or just general musings please look at my Facebook page