The Three Barn Find

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If there is one thing that the pandemic did, it was to make my wife realise that she could change her life. After spending all her working life in the same university department doing the same job essentially the same way, she was forced to learn how to do that job online. So if she could work different, then maybe she could live different too.

In the middle of winter she searched the property market online and came up with a short list for me - but there was only one that came close to fitting what I would like. Fortunately the owners had halved the price because they could not find anyone interested, seeing as how it was in a small village in the back end of nowhere, with just the one road in, out and within. Having spent almost her entire life living in a city apartment here in Poland, choosing this wooden cottage far from the nearest shopping mall was a life-changing step for her. For me it was more like a return to my childhood.

There was a lot of snow, and we were not quite sure from the maps which of the roads there were tarmacked or not. We had competition too, as three other couples from other sides of Poland were also interested - but we had three aces - wifie's family came from the region, we lived only a couple of kilometres from where the owners now lived in the city, and our competitors were finding it hard to raise the mortgages they needed. It was like it was meant to be.

We went to visit and I can honestly say that I cannot remember the last time I saw wifie so excited. The cottage was very nice, but clearly in need of a lot of work. There was also a cellar under the cottage and another outside, a well, and three barns enclosing the yard (which we call the wooden, the brick and the big barn), beyond which was a small orchard and beyond that a field under cultivation. All the properties in the village have narrow frontages, and behind the house and farm buildings there is a long and narrow strip field.

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Wifie on the day we went to see the property, with the cottage and our Toyota Yaris 'truck'.

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A bit later in the year, with the brick barn on the left and the big barn straight ahead. Some of those doors can blow open in really high winds, hence all the poles and boards making sure they don't. The big barn houses some of the farm machinery of the cousins of the former owners, who also farm our field.

With all the formalities completed in a legal office, with wifie guaranteeing that she will not sell the field for at least 5 years and keep it under cultivation, we were ready. The cottage wasn't, neither was the weather, and it took nearly two months before the heating, water, IT and electricity were working well enough for us to stay for longer than a weekend.
 
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I gotta admit, I was hoping for three old bikes in a barn, but this story is pretty good too.
In North America, hundreds of thousands of people are walking away from their jobs. Seems as though staring mortality in the face has given people the chance to realize what is important in life. Nice to hear good outcomes
 
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Funnily enough, I was hoping for at least three old bikes as well - but I found one old bike, one gas-bottle cart fitted with two bike front wheels, one lonesomely rusty wheel, two unused pedals, a tire, an inner tube and a partly melted tire pump.

For us the idea of not returning to the grind of getting to and from work, and putting up with trash talk all day, is the best, especially as we approach retirement. We are not running for promotion, so we don't need to network for that kind of purpose, but instead we work all day from home, sharing all meals, and no manger-types to dice with on the roads - managers who cannot figure out that the only thing they need to achieve in their cars, that of arriving home safely...
 
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It is about an hour's drive from our city apartment to our farm, and since there was snow for the first month or so and no heating, we had two hours of driving there and back. We culd not stay overnight, which left not so many hours of daylight to get things done.

On our second visit, a few days before we signed contracts, various members of the seller's family were there to deal with stuff like selling off all the scrap metal they could find to a scrap metal dealers. I was not bothered, as most of it was real scrap, including the corroded-to-a-lump saw bench in the yard, and there was still plenty of stuff left in the barns that I would still have to deal with anyway.

Although the soil is generally sandy, there is a layer of clay that overlays the whole village, field and forest behind. As you can see from the picture of wifie and the house, there is a slope up into the yard, but what you cannot see under the snow is how steep it is up from the road to get through the gates, and it is clay. If it is really wet we park on the other side of the road, which is a meadow, but the problem is the number of Male Men who visit, see my car parked in the yard and won't listen to our advice to park on the other side of the road. The testosterone starts flowing, and the mere fact that I parked the car in the yard before the rain started is ignored, because as Male Men they must mount our drive to park in the yard too.

The scrap men were Male Men too, but in the end they had too had to admit defeat and allow a tractor to be used to tow them.


Even so, they had to keep spinning their wheels. None of us felt impressed.

Still, lurking in one of the barns was the faded remains of a Romet Turing, owned by a cousin, and never likely to turn a wheel again in his ownership, and so he let me have it.

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A genuine barn find, after I had already removed the front wheel. I could see by the markings that it was from the 1990s, and its restoration was my first BO (Ten Turing). These days it lives in the city, where unlike in the countryside the turing is today a rare sight.
 

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