"Live adventurously. When choices arise, do you take the way that offers the fullest opportunity for the use of your gifts in the service of God and the community? Let your life speak."
- Quaker Advice
It was this philosophy that led us to give up our jobs after 27 years in Cambridge to take over the Dell House in September 2014. We’d been looking for a B&B for a while. We’d not envisaged anything the size of the Dell House but we fell in love with the character of the house and the potential of the overgrown garden.
Kevin was an embedded software engineer and project manager of 30 years experience, with a career spanning radar, computer graphics, speech recognition and mobile phones. Interests include photography, "Euro-style" boardgames, science fiction and garden railways. Bodhran player and 3rd Dan black belt in Shotokan karate.
Elizabeth was a town planner, most recently working on major development sites on the edge of Cambridge. Current interests include walking, gardening, folk dancing and music. She owned a beautiful skewbald mare for over twenty years, winning innumerable rosettes. Danced with Gog Magog Molly.
What do we want to do here? What we have always done: sharing what we have; whether that's our professional skills or our house and garden. The only difference is that it's now our livelihood. We have always been people wanting to give service to others, and if we can combine this and still have time to walk the hills then we've achieved everything we need.
We see ourselves as custodians of the house; but it is a house and one to be shared; not a museum piece. It needed a lot of structural work to preserve it. We've replaced the entire roof, restored leaded windows and refurbished twenty-or-so sash windows. We want to bring it up to date (well, into the 20th Century at least) as far as reducing its environmental impact. That will take time; respectfully insulating 19th Century windows is not easy.
The garden offers huge potential. It has many magnificent specimen trees but much of the rest had been suffocating under tons (literally) of laurel, bramble, bindweed and holly. It's taken two years to 'clear the ground' and it's a pleasure now to be taking the garden forward with new landscaping, planting and sculptures.