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How not to retire in one easy blog !

How not to retire in one easy blog !
3rd January 2020 Admin

Me during the “retirement” phase !!

Hi ! Here we are again. I still have lots to tell you about Ron and I and our transition from  suburbia to the small-holder life…  I think that this is the third blog …….. and if you haven’t read the others they are on our website……… You can read about how we used to live in the commuter belt, driving miles to work every day and coming home after dark. You can also read how we began to realise that there is more to life than the nine to five.

My previous blog ended around 2011 when I took early retirement from the local authority and Ron closed down his building business…..  We didn’t relocate to the beautiful island of Anglesey until 2013. So what happened between 2011 and 2013 that helped us make a step change to living on our 12 acre small-holding ?? This blog tells you about the first of the two amazing changes in direction which helped us move closer to our rural dream …….. Hope you enjoy the read ….

Well, those of you who shop with us or eat in Bryn Celyn’s Farm Shop café will probably know how Ron changed direction from being a builder to becoming a chef. I’ve told the story so many times to our customers…… if you’ve heard the story from

Ron’s homework !!

me, then just skip to the next blog. Here is how it went ……


Ron and I were beginning to relax into retirement……… but Ron was becoming a little bit BORED ! And, like a lot of people, it made him difficult to live with (what, Ron, difficult ?? I hear you say). I remember him sitting in the lounge getting really fidgety one evening, so, I suggested that he enrolled on a cookery course. Little did he know that I had checked with an ex-work colleague that a course was about to start and that there was a place available… !!

Ron couldn’t wait to follow up this suggestion …….. Now, Ron had always cooked me fabulous food, cooking was his passion. But he had had no training in cookery at all. I’ve included a couple of photos of the food he was making around this time

Anyway, he went along to Bishop Auckland College (here’s the link) …. and never looked back.

An early attempt at making bread.

Wynyard Hall’s dining room

A gorgeous pasta dish Ron made for me

The Level 2 Professional Cookery qualification took a year to achieve. He quickly followed this up by achieving a Level 3 course at East Durham College. But the next thing that happened was that he was sitting on the couch fidgeting again.…….. So then came my second suggestion………….I told him to go to the finest restaurant within travelling distance and get a job……… and this is exactly what he did – at 58 years old. You may recall that we were living in Sedgefield, County Durham at the time. The nearest fine dining restaurant to this was Wynyard Hall.

Here’s the link for you to have a look at




Ron telephoned the head chef – Alan O’Kane – and Alan agreed to have a chat with Ron face to face. The outcome was that Ron got a job in the kitchen. Ron’s cooking started to move to the next level. Wynyard has a couple of rosettes. Alan is a celebrity chef. The sous-chef who Ron was working with has been on Britain’s Best Dish and Masterchef – Danny Parker. Ron learned a lot.

And then Ron said………… that he would like his own restaurant……. hmmmmm !!!


Our dining room at home just before one of our charity dinner parties.

In the next blog, you’ll learn about how I changed from being a teacher to a business woman ! And how we moved nearer to opening our own restaurant.

Happy New Year !

Margaret x




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