My husband and I bought the plot in May 2011 after more than six tense months of hoping, dreaming and scraping together all our money.
The first thing we did was invite all the neighbours round for a good look at us. I imagine it would be alarming to have people about to build a house in what has for decades been a semi-abandoned walled garden, so we wanted to put everyone at ease and give them an opportunity to ask us about our plans and to get to know everyone.
The place was pretty derelict when we took possession of it. Harry and Peggy Gordon, who lived in the house down the hill from the plot, had run a flower growing nursery for years and years, but as they got older the place got away from them a bit. They sold it sometime around 2000 and it had a couple of different planning permissions on it but nothing was ever built.
It’s a gorgeous site, the perfect place to put a home, but the access is a tiny, narrow, steep, rutted lane with a hairpin turn and technically no public right of access. So I guess it took a crazy couple of optimistic self-builders to take it on.
And luckily, that crazy couple found the place. Even more luckily, we had a wonderful community of friends to help us make some kind of order begin to take shape.
So began a tradition of bringing together old friends and new to get work done in the day and get a lot of eating and chatting, singing and playing tunes done in the evenings.
Our trusty marquee saw us through the first summer and winter as a cooking and socialising space, and although its demise last winter was probably overdue (it was *well* manky in the end) it will live forever in our memories of our first year at Boggart Hall.