The previous owner of Orchard Farm was Tom, a character well liked in the village but a complete stranger to soap, hammer, paintbrush or any home improvements. He was renowned also for his pack of boss-eyed dogs which local children apparently found rather frightening. After years of dogs and neglect the house and barns were in an unbelievably awful state although Tom had been living here happily enough, apparently.
Tom died in December 1982. We bought Orchard Farm at auction in April 1983. Most people thought we were mad, including just at first our own children then of a fairly impressionable age. They soon rallied round but it took us months just simply getting the house and outbuildings reasonably habitable, before we were able to start on the rather more exciting and certainly very rewarding transformation process.
It was twenty years before people stopped referring to Orchard Farm as ‘Tom’s place’, hence Tom’s Barn. We now have an Australian grandson, Tom, who at just five assumes – from Sydney – his role to be that of absentee landlord.
He seems quite happy at present with the way we are running things for him.