Graham and Fiona live in the neighbouring farmhouse with their teenage children, dogs and cat and think of The Malabar as an extension of their home. They moved to Sedbergh in 2015 having bought Garths Farm the year before when the idea of a “project” in a location like this was too good to pass up. Working in Mumbai at the time, a rural existence in Cumbria didn’t seem possible: they didn’t know the area, hadn’t run their own business before and weren’t sure if they could pull it off. They had lived and worked in Singapore, Taiwan, India and Hong Kong, where they first met, and had made more than a few leaps of faith in the past.
Fiona has hospitality in her blood having grown up in hotels where her father Tom was general manager: Kyle of Lochalsh, Tregenna Castle, The Station Hotel in Aberdeen and The Bath Priory. Her own career began at Walker Books and she worked in various publishing jobs before joining the Straits Times, Agence France Press and then CNN in Asia.
Graham grew up in the southern Indian state of Kerala where his father and grandfather were tea planters. After university and a year as a bank clerk in London Graham was back in India, this time behind a desk at ABN Amro. A move to Hong Kong followed and jobs at Merrill Lynch and RBS, before he returned once again to India to work for Credit Suisse in Mumbai. He has surprised everyone with his gardening and patisserie skills, but putting an extensive tea menu together has come naturally to him!
With any challenge come moments of doubt, but Graham and Fiona find their new home just as exhilarating and exciting as anywhere else they have called home. They live in the farmhouse opposite The Malabar with their two children, Hannah and Finlay, two dogs (who have also travelled far and wide), one cat and a few (local) chickens.
Monty and Pluto both had a hard start to their lives, abandoned by gun dog breeders in Cyprus. Monty had to be carried out of the farm where he was found, he was too weak to walk having been left to starve to death. They both had to adapt to a chillier climate and learn chicken and sheep etiquette, which wasn’t too much of a problem! Now they love their new environment and are so at home in the hills. If it wasn’t for a group of dedicated people who set up Rehoming Cyprus Pointers they wouldn’t be free. If you are considering bringing a dog into your family please do look them up!