‘My shepherd’s hut is my bolthole’
When the siren call of technology threatened to overwhelm her, Lottie Moore, 48, from Thame, Oxfordshire, found solace in a little wooden hut.
The first thing I do when I arrive at my little shepherd’s hut is turn off my phone’s internet and switch it to silent. Then I know I can relax and empty my mind of all the pressures of work and home.
Whenever I tell people I’ve got a shepherd’s hut, they’re always really interested and usually very envious. Originally used by shepherds tending their sheep, these days they’re very popular as an alternative to a garden shed or summer house. When I heard the business park nearby had bought two huts and placed them beside the lake behind the units, I jumped at the chance to rent one. Made from wood and insulated with wool, it costs £300 a month to rent. It had a little sink and seating area, perfect for my needs. I put some chairs, a desk and a rug inside and then it was ready to use.
I run my events and training business from home and always felt I could never escape the demands on me. If an email came in I felt like I had to deal with it immediately or lose business. Like so many of us, I was juggling a
million different things. We’ve all got so used to being on the go all the time that we don’t realise how stressed and tense we are until we have a moment to stop and regroup.
Having the shepherd’s hut changed everything. At least twice a week I drive the 15 minutes to the business park, open the doors to my hut and immediately start to feel calm. I’m a big fan of mindfulness and meditation, so I’ll often sit and just be still, emptying my head of thoughts. The hut has a split door and I keep the top half open so I can feel connected with nature.
Turning off my phone’s internet is a huge part of reclaiming some head space. We’re all slaves to our phones and the ping of an email coming in, but I’ve learnt that when you turn it off for a few hours, life still continues! Not having the internet for a while doesn’t impact my life. In fact, I’ve found I’m far more productive once I’ve had a digital detox. When I turn it back on, all the emails come in at once and I can deal with them all together.
Having a bolthole has helped at home, too. Before the shepherd’s hut, I’d often tell my daughter, Maddy, 18, that I was too busy or too tired. But now when I’m at home I’m fully focused on her and running the home. I feel much more in control.
Each time I visit the hut, I try to stay for at least four hours to make sure I’ve reconnected with myself and with the elements. It’s so important to be with nature but it’s not always easy to find the time, so my hut is fulfilling all my needs.
I love it when the doors are open and I can wander down to the lake behind my hut and take in the view, but I also relish the days when the rain is drumming down on the roof while I’m safely tucked away inside. There in my sanctuary, I feel calm, composed and totally at peace.
‘Having the shepherd’s hut has changed everything’
Lottie uses the space to meditate