The Estate

Sunday March 8th, 2020

The interview at the bank went very well but after a few weeks I received an email saying that they didn’t need anyone after all…

Working in a factory is… I don’t know what word will describe it best. You don’t see the light of day; everything is monitored, even the time you spend on the toilet! Your breaks are announced by the horrible sound of a bell that makes you feel like you are in a prison and, after your first two weeks, if you are not productive enough, you are fired.

I don’t remember how long I worked in the factory, maybe a couple of months, but I remember very well going to the second interview for the caretaker position with Aidan and staying overnight in this tiny little cottage with the feeling of being home; like this job will be for us no matter what. I didn’t want to share this feeling with Aidan at first, but after a while I did and he told me he had the same feeling. We knew deep inside that the job would be ours. It didn’t prevent us from feeling stressed waiting for an answer though. And after a long wait of a few weeks, we had the confirmation we were waiting for: we were the new caretakers of the estate!

We started our new positions in August 2018. We were staying in the tiny little cottage from our second interview and it felt like paradise. We spent nine months in this cottage as the official caretakers’ cottage was being renovated. Once the work was done, we moved in and it was a blast. It is a little cottage, a “dolls’ house”, as the chairman of the estate likes to call it. But big enough to allow us to have Lucy, our Labrador, who we got a few weeks after getting Patch and Smokey, our little cats. They were all born the same week of the same year so it was nice to see them growing up together. All of them are now ten months old. We are a family.

Work on the estate is good. Sometimes quiet and sometimes hectic. I love working outside. It is not a conventional estate, it is quite unique; my caretaker role consists of being a housekeeper, a gardener, a beekeeper, a cook, an electrician, a car cleaner, a farmer, and so on. I am a professional in none of these categories, except for housekeeping, but I am learning as I go, with the owner of the estate paying for all the training that we need.

Despite all of this, after almost two years working on this estate, I call it being “stuck in paradise”. As I am still on duty I can’t say much more, but a month after our start Aidan and I understood that we had fallen into a trap, and since then we have been planning our “escape”. Me more than Aidan, who seems to cope better with the downsides that come with working/living on the estate. The problem is mostly human relations related and it affects me more than him. Yet a feeling of guilt has seized me as I recognise the beauty of this place and the luck we have to be a part of it. Not to mention how flexible our jobs are, and after working in a factory I have absolutely no right to complain!

Now, four days after my 37th birthday, we are back from the Highlands and the plan for the future is to buy a piece of land to build our house and start our own business, which would consist of a little bit of everything: campsite/wigwams, café, beekeeping/selling honey, growing/selling fruits and vegetables, and so on. In order to do that, Aidan needs first to sell his flat, which will be free by the end of this month when the tenant moves out. And that will be the start of our new adventure.

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