The Story So Far
AUGUST 2016 - Mungo returns from working with the Arajuno Road Project in the Ecuadorian Amazon, is flamboyantly unemployed; sets up Beech Hill B&B; has a dollar and a dream, receives financial backing from visionary funders willing to take a risk because they too believe in the long-term vision.
NOVEMBER 2016 - Friends Kit & Gem move in to help develop the nascent perma-project; mulled wine is served.
NOVEMBER - MAY 2017 - A herb garden is somewhat chaotically designed and implemented; we discover kindred permaculture project Mere Brow Farm (waaay ahead of us) on just the other side of town, where Mungo volunteers and subsequently labours part-time; Mungo becomes qualified in Swedish followed by NO HANDS massage.
MAY 2017 - Mungo spends 8 days in silence at St. Bueno's as part of a 'Retreat Exchange' with Iona; experiences greater peace, clarity and self-forgiveness.
JUNE - JULY 2017 - Mungo completes his Permaculture Design Course at the beautiful Applewood Permaculture Centre, followed by a Forest Gardening course with Gem at Karuna. Pint-size tractor Gilbert joins the family along with a wealth of CSA advice from the wonderful Nikki Giles.
AUGUST 2017 - Kit & Gem move on to pastures new in London, Iona becomes more involved in the project.
SEPTEMBER 2017 - Mama & Papa Dalglish retire to Cornwall to support from afar; the nest has flown the birds.
SEPTEMBER - NOVEMBER 2017 - Bumper harvest of apples is pressed into sensational raw juice; elderberries become wine, jam, and winter tonic; tree 'seed balls' are wantonly scattered; Mungo & Iona visit other communities including Findhorn and Hillfield Friary.
NOVEMBER 2017 - FEBRUARY 2018 - The long dark winter of the soul; sourdough baking intensifies. Longstanding family friend Jill masterminds the expansion of B&B with the new 'Morning Room'.
FEBRUARY 2018 - Sophia arrives to WWOOF, becomes indispensable collaborator; Mungo and Sophia attend a Regen-Ag course in South Wales, discovering the truly inspiring Mountain Hall micro-dairy. Interior design consultants Cousin Alice and Captain Jack visit on a whirlwind photographic tour; B&B decor and pics improve by 57%.
MARCH 2018 - Work on the land progresses; beds are made, an unholy amount of open-pollinated seed and organic compost is ordered, rabbit-proof fences are exhaustingly hand-dug; Siberian 'beast from the east' kills Rosemary bushes and Japanese Yuzu tree; losses are mourned.
APRIL 2018 - Spring blooms, the land comes to life again; apple trees are optimistically grafted; Iona's work with the Jesuits starts to move towards Spiritual Ecology and Laudato Si; there is much rejoicing.
MAY 2018 - April forgets to shower, and May follows suit; Mungo begins to learn the meaning of the phrase 'water of life' with a hosepipe in hand; apple grafts come back from the dead.
JUNE 2018 - Suntans and stargazing distract from parched veg and shrivelling morale beneath still cloudless skies; reliance on veg box of more successful local growers Riverside Organic continues; summer B&Bers roll deep; Mungo gains certified 'Advanced' levels of handlessness.
JULY 2018 - Reinforcements! 8 extra legs arrive belonging to our Nominally Resident Artist (now actually in residence) Maya, Iconoclastic Dr. 'what about herbalism?' Morgan M.D., and Junip; Ian's 'perma-pipe with holes in' is replaced by Si's proper dripline system; leafy greens breathe sighs of relief; newly-liberated Mungo attends 'Spiritual Ecology' retreat in North Yorkshire with St. Ethelburga's Centre for Reconciliation and Peace.
AUGUST 2018 - Cancellation of the veg box! Dripline + rain = mouth-watering watered veg, all ripening at once; to(o)ma(ny')toes = the healthiest and most delicious way to drown; Mungo and Iona surface to visit Sophia in Berlin.
SEPTEMBER 2018 - Mungo and Iona deliver inaugural Ethelburgas-sponsored day workshop on 'Sole: reconnecting with mystery' featuring meditation, sensory games, nature connection and lunch from the land; Mungo returns to Ecuador to help with the absolutely essential work of the Escuela de Wayusa; hears stories, receives medicine and dreams, spends time in the forest; carries home the flickering flame of an ancient knowing; Sophia comes back to us now at the turn of the tide.
WINTER 2018/19 - The Woodland Trust subsidise... trees! (Surprise, surprise). 1,000 new barky brethren join us as part of our shelterbelts and native woodland expansion; an experimental planting features clusters of canopy species (Oak, Crabapple, Silver Birch, Rowan etc) protected by rings of thorny shrubbier species (hawthorn, blackthorn etc); planted with the help of local friends and volunteers. Soup was served.
SPRING 2019 - Mungo goes tetris-mad with the Ladbrooke Soil Blocker, only to watch hundreds of little seedlings stagnate in rubbish bought-compost. Those that fight through to juicy three-leaf stage mostly succumb to Slugmaggedon '19.
MAY 2019 - Family friend Jill's cousin Phil and his Japanese wife Wan appear over the eastern horizon, turning Beech Hill's DIY and culinary skills up to 11. Workshop and house spaces are mercilessly reorganised, shelves are built, beds are weeded, and soy sauce consumption trebles.
JUNE-JULY 2019 - Last summer's drought a distant memory overwritten in slime-trails and fungus. Slugs and potato blight abound, although thankfully not before a good crop of tubers. Dawn of this year's signature dish: salad and chips. Iona becomes a woman ever-wilder with the Wild Rites folk; Jesuit quaking intensifies. Mungo visits No Dig visionary pioneer Charles Dowding and learns the ways of successful market gardening (in theory).
JULY 2019 - Mungo trains in the art of nature-connection mentoring with 8Shields, and begins descending into the School of Myth. Big questions: how deep is the wild land buried beneath the quaint 'Shire? What might the old gods be saying to a well-tuned ear?
AUGUST 2019 - We host a 'forage and feast' day with Totally Wild UK, plus our inaugural residential 'experience week' run in collaboration with Eco-magis and St. Ethelburgas. 9 people, 7 days, 5 mornings' land-work, 3 square (largely home-grown) meals a day, many games, activities, and imaginative exercises, no phones, clocks, or watches. Deep and nourishing work enjoyed by all.
SEPTEMBER 2019 - Jill and Mungo visit regen-ag 'mob grazing' cattle farm and micro-dairy Smiling Tree Farm in Shropshire; fall a little bit in love with long lashes and creamy Jersey udders; get unexpectedly blitzed with compelling evidence of the monied agendas in the veganism, climate change, and farming debates – there are no 'magic bullets', and lots of people selling them.