So how did it all happen?

 In January 2013 Mel and I decided that our life in London had become unsustainable.  We both had good jobs with a wonderful organisation (the RSPB) and I had found the city fascinating and exciting, but we were not really surviving the extreme survival course that is London if you are not very well paid, don't have your own home and spend two or three hours commuting every day to an exhausting job.

How did we get from here...
to here?

As with most people, I believe, the nine to five lifestyle along with other pressures made us ill, cranky and miserable - not all the time, of course, but for more time than we could successfully manage to cope with.  More importantly, we didn't really know why we were doing it.  Our lives were illogical.  When your dreams become too far divorced from your reality you can easily become angry and resentful, and we were no exception.  Looking back, I wonder we lasted the three years.

I don't live in this castle you know.
We had started down the fatal path to resignation and inertia, when we had the immense good fortune to be able to take a month off work and travel to New Zealand, to visit Mel's sister.  Four weeks of driving around mountains singing the Lord of the Rings theme in an ancient camper van with the battery about to fall out, the doors actually falling off and the tracking giving way at dangerous junctions, imbibed us with a new spirit of adventure, hope and recklessness and in the New Year Mel took the plunge of applying for new jobs.  One day in February she came home laughing.  "Look at this crazy job!" she told me, rushing over to the desk to open her laptop.  She showed me the ad:  "Vacancy:  Visitor Services Manager, Kinloch Castle, Isle of Rum."  "It's a castle!  On an island! In Scotland!"  Obviously, she had to apply.  "Where would we live?" I asked.  "In the castle!"

And a mere six months later - give or take a few major and minor wobbles - there we were.  Just.

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