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  • Writer's pictureJosephine Birch

Keepstone Barn and Press

Updated: Oct 9, 2023

In January, 2018, we moved out of our home in Cambridge and aboard a boat in Woodbridge. It was the year of the Beast from the East, and we arrived at the boat in deep snow, - temps and the door frozen solid. We slept the first few months aboard hugging hot bricks straight off the stove under piles of duvets, working to get the old steel hull and the windows sealed and ready to set sail. We sailed around the East coast, through storms and into the first of the warm spring weather.

Sailing may seem glamorous, but we were aboard an old steel boat, that stayed afloat due to hard graft and constant work. We lived on boiled rice and foraged greens, noodles and tinned fish throughout the year, scrimping and saving ready to buy our barn.

When we finally arrived in South Devon it was Spring and the primroses were out on the banks, with daffodils pushing up close behind. Our plans to buy a small industrial barn fell through and our hunt began again. I was illustrating a children's book, sitting cramped at the charts table and with no connection to internet, our lives slowed right down; we spent our time finding firewood, fishing, reading and drawing. We would hitch or walk up the hill from the river to visit the local town to shop, and on one such day we saw the sign for another barn for sale, just up the road from our anchorage.

This barn was large, much larger than the previous property, with space for both of us to have workshops. It also had electricity, water and foundations, which would save us money.

Keepstone Barn

We've been building Keepstone for just over a year and half now, and moving in (and out of our old caravan) is on the horizon, even if it is just into two rooms.

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