The little farm in Strathaven

When 84-year-old Chartered client, Andrew Stewart booked his annual skiing holiday, something he has done annually since the 1960s, he had no idea that 2020 would be different. After enjoying six blissful days skiing in Leich, Austria, Andrew and his friend Bruno literally caught the last plane out of Zurich.

He arrived back to a world turned upside down and was immediately put in self-quarantine for two weeks. During this time our national lockdown was announced, and it was at this point Andrew began wondering how he could fill the long days ahead. He started by arranging all his books but soon realised that he would need to do something else to occupy his time, so he turned back to his roots – farming.

Andrew had recently sold two plots on his property, and he decided that it was the perfect opportunity to build a hydroponic garden. Every single day from April to June, he spent the day digging in preparation. He also had to learn about hydroponics, so he embraced Zoom and learnt all that he needed to know. He used pieces of his old tennis court to build the structure and set up the irrigation system. When lockdown eased, he enjoyed the help of a bricklayer and welder to complete the structure.

Despite having a sore back, Andrew has found the process extremely rewarding and believes that had it not been for lockdown he wouldn’t be as fit and healthy as he is now. Health is important to Andrew, and he has always lived by the motto: health before wealth and fit to have fun.

While lockdown meant that he couldn’t regularly play squash and tennis and socialise with family and friends, there are many things he is grateful about. He is grateful for his community that has rallied together to help each other. He’s grateful for the WhatsApp groups that have kept the community connected. Mostly though, he is content that he has done his time spent in lockdown justice, he did it his way, and because of that, he has no regrets.

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