With it's nesting swallows, freeloading field mice and furry neighbours, could Owl Barn be a contender for Airbnb?
Lake District

Airbnb meet Owl Barn

Once I’d popped my Airbnb cherry I started to wonder. Owl Barn. Could I? Would it be weird?

I’ve lived at Owl Barn for just under two years now. Like anywhere else you move into, I had a big long list of all of the things that needed repairing, changing, doing. Like most lists, I didn’t get far. Let’s be honest, those lists are mostly wishful thinking and no one seriously expects you to do any more than glance at them from time to time, right? Well, you know how it is.

I’m probably the only person who would find Owl Barn endearing. As I write there are swallows nesting in the attic. Each time the front door closes they spring to life and it sounds like there’s an entire horrisonant flock of them up there. I don’t need an alarm clock. They start their morning chorus at 5.30am each day. They’ve taken refuge just above the bathroom. I like to say good morning amidst their hungry squawks when I go in there for my early ablutions.

We chat. I ask them how they’re enjoying life, if the neighbourhood is meeting their expectations, that kind of thing. I leave them with a reminder to avoid next door’s huge black and white bruiser of a cat when they eventually decide to venture out into the ‘real’ world. Although I’m starting to wonder if I need to warn the cat. Sometimes they chirp back at me sometimes they’re just plain cranky and refuse to respond.

Here’s one I made earlier with sticky backed plastic

My house is old. Really old. An eighteenth century barn with a tiny kitchen that pretty much looks as though it hasn’t been touched since then. Let, me set the scene. I was going backwards and forwards with work for the first year, so it took me an entire 12 months to realise that the bottom of the kitchen cupboards are in fact taped together rather than securely attached. My own DIY is pretty lame, but you know, there’s YouTube and stuff so there’s really no excuse for tape. Tape? Whiskey. Tango. Foxtrot.

The deterioration of those badly taped cupboard bases has created a side entrance minus concierge for the local field mice to enter the premises at night. From time to time, usually whilst I’m working away, they like to let themselves in. They have a bit of a nosey around, probably rifle through my clothes “So last year, how can she wear that?” kind of thing.

So far the little interlopers have nibbled an old plastic bag and had a couple of mouthfuls of a silicon ice cube tray. Neither have been to their liking. The only thing that has met the approval of their sophisticated palette has been a knock off Pomegranate Noir candle from Lidl. They loved that. How do I know?

Back from a week of working away, I opened the door, switched on the light, adjusted my eyes and squinted. “Did I have a lavender candle before I left? Only, that wasn’t lavender sitting there in the candle jar. The mice had generously left me a little something.

Think of it as an homage to Jo Malone if you will. Or maybe it was just their review of designer dupes. Who knows? I Googled field mice and turned up ‘Order of Rodentia’. Cue a mental image of a freemasons society for mice. They might like the venue for their gatherings but they clearly think the refreshments suck.

Yup, Owl Barn needs fixing up before anyone else would consider it charming.

The Good Stuff?

The good stuff about living here? For reasons known only to themselves, the previous owners took half of the kitchen to install a sauna downstairs (probably the same rationale that came up with the taped cupboards. Again. Tape. I ask you?). Having a sauna is pretty cool though. It means I don’t need to join a gym and pretend to exercise just because I want a sauna.

The field behind the barn, which is currently home to new born, soft, chalk white lambs, skipping and bleating in the spring sunshine. There’ll often be a cow stood chomping on the hedge outside my bedroom window. Full marks for furry, friendly neighbours.

It’s right on the border of the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Lake District National Park. We’ve got stunning fells and deep, blue ethereal lakes on our doorstep. If you’re into hiking, paddle boarding or canoeing, there’s Bassenthwaite lake only a few minutes down the road. It really is a beautiful, peaceful place to pause a while and really notice the world around you.

My task before Paris? To simplify. To let loose with a sledgehammer and a crowbar (see photo). Install a new kitchen and revoke that VIP pass for those cheeky, freeloading field mice. To sort and sift out my belongings. Pack away what I’m keeping and give the rest away to charity. To declutter.

So, Airbnb. Would it be weird? There’s only one way to find out.


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