One of our favourite parts of Autumn is a bracing walk and then returning home to a toasty house to warm up, lighting a fire, and hunkering down. And with everything that’s happening in the world at the moment, we suspect that similar nesting instincts will be keeping a lot of people going over the coming months.


There were many big decisions when renovating the Long Barn and one was how we’d heat the building, as well as have sufficient hot water for big groups of people, all wanting to shower at the same time. We’d stayed away in places before with friends and been on the receiving end of erratic water pressure, and even worse, hot water running out completely. We also remember a stay in Staithes in a wonderful but freezing fisherman’s cottage. Every time more than one fan heater was plugged in, the power tripped and we were plunged into cold darkness. Only our British grit and copious quantities of red wine made us decide to stay rather than just drive home.



After much research into boilers and high pressure systems which Ian loves (he should have been an engineer) and Jackie feigns interest in, Eta our Biomass boiler was chosen and ordered. It meant the conversion of the pig pens opposite the Long Barn, something we hadn’t bargained on. Suddenly we were having to measure out the spaces for a pellet store, huge water storage tanks and the boiler itself. These buildings were mainly derelict and one of the internal doorways was propped up to stop the roof falling in. We then had to dig trenches across the courtyard to put in the super insulated pipes to get hot water across the whole site. Ian’s mum Jean had lent us the money to buy the boiler and so it was only fitting that she should be the one to cut the ribbon at the official opening of the boiler rooms.



Biomass is a green energy, wood is grown specifically to make the pellets, as the trees grow they absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. The wood is ground in to sawdust which is compressed to form the pellets, the natural oils hold them together. We get pellets delivered by tanker and can take up to 10 tonnes at a time. Its all connected to the internet and if the boiler is unhappy about anything it sends us an e-mail. We can then log in to the system on an iPad anywhere in the world.

Whilst the whole system cost an eye watering amount, we haven’t regretted it once. Constant hot water and toasty central heating for the whole site at the touch of a button means the perfect heating for guests. We also installed a Swedish Morso wood burner in the living room  – if we are honest, more to add to the feeling of hygge  and cosiness than to heat the room. And with a glass of sloe gin, and your PJs on, it’s the perfect space to relax in.