Remember when we had just 3 channels and if you wanted to know how long it would take you to walk to the moon you’d consult an encyclopedia? Remember when we sent letters and all telephones were plugged into the wall in the hallway?
Many of us have welcomed the technology boom that we have experienced over the last 20-30 years. It has made communicating and reaching out to the world as easy as tapping a screen and has provided us with so much variety and choice of media and different ways to shop. Who’d have thought in 1988 that, 30 years later, you could be making lunch in the kitchen whilst asking a speaker to order a new set of pans?
Not everyone is enamoured with this fast-paced, constantly switched-on world that we now live in and so the appeal of getting away from it all, for some, grows stronger. The demand for ‘Off Grid’ properties is therefore increasing.
If you don’t know what the term ‘Off Grid’ means then you probably don’t need to know; you’re too busy snapchatting pictures of your dog wearing a Mexican hat to worry about leaving the technological highway behind. But, just in case your interest has been piqued…
The term was coined to refer to living in a way that is not dependent on publically available utilities, especially electricity, ‘grid’ referring to the National Grid. Now though, the meaning extends to living without things like smart phones, the internet and television and, if you truly want to live Off Grid, you’ll only ever need to go shopping for things you can’t make, find or grow yourself.
A blissful life of rural self-sufficiency may sound like a dream come true for those that seek it, but in reality how possible is it? Also, who really wants to be totally cut off from the world outside?
Take East Stonefolds as a great example. A charming Northumbrian stone built farm house in the middle of the Northumberland countryside. As the crow flies the property is only a couple of miles from civilisation. However getting to it by car takes a good hour from the main town of Hexham and involves a twisting journey over single forest track with Forestry Commission gates to unlock on the way. You’d almost certainly want a 4×4 to ensure safe passage in all conditions. Once there however, you wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. It is so peaceful and the views over the fields towards Hadrian’s Wall are truly jaw dropping. There is no obvious evidence to suggest that anyone else exists in the world and the only people you are ever likely to see are people trekking along the Pennine Way which runs along the front of the house.
The water comes from a spring under a tree half a mile away and is heated by an AGA which is run on gas that is stored in a cylinder in the garden. There is central heating provided by a multi-fuel burner which heats the hot water for the radiators. Electricity is by way of a petrol generator in one of the outhouses and whilst that would be no good to provide everything needed in a suburban detached house with a family of four, it should be more than enough for an off gridder to get by. There is a telephone line so you wouldn’t be completely cut off and you’ll still have the pleasures of the daily PPI calls – there’s no way of escaping them! If the prospect of living without access to emails or the last episode of the latest big series is just a step too far, the internet is available through the phone line.
This is about as Off Grid as you can get without living in a tent and in terms of being able to survive, there is plenty of space to grow your own fruit and vegetables and wood for the fires is plentiful. You could go further and keep hens and perhaps a goat; this is not the kind of place where you want to get home only to discover you forgot to pick up some milk!
In case you were wondering…it would take approximately 9 years to walk to the moon at a speed of 3mph. Now there’s an Off Grid location right there!
What do you think? Could you live Off Grid? What couldn’t you live without?
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