Regular Life

Regular Life

In three words I can sum up everything I've learned about life: it goes on. – Robert Frost

If These Hay Walls Could Speak

What if someone you knew stacked huge hay bale walls and built a castle inside, unbeknownst to everyone but you? Would you tell? Would you use the word “unbeknownst” when telling about it?

How about this… could you keep it a secret for more than four years?

Well, unless Robert Fidler, 59, of England had absolutely no friends, or friends who never visited his home, somebody managed it. Now that the wall of bales is gone, authorities want to tear down Fidler’s castle.

This story (more on it in a minute) reminded me of a man I know who has a piece of land with forest around the perimeter. You’d never know by walking the property line that within that forest is a meadow. In that bare patch, he has a small place with running (well) water, a bathroom, a bedroom, a full kitchen, electricity, and climate control. He can watch wild turkey and deer wander into the field each morning and sometimes at dusk, unless he just wants to watch DishNetwork.

Admittedly, his place is function over form, not something that onlookers would slow down to see. There’s a much more important distinction, however, when comparing him to Robert Fidler.

Fidler’s home was deemed illegal because it’s in an area that prohibits construction. Apparently, the very thing — the hale bay hay bale fort — that allowed Fidler to build and move his family into his castle, is the thing that may be his legal undoing. Although the law states that a structure built without approval can stay if it’s been in place at least four years, the hidden state of the home has drawn the ire of the local legalrati (made up word that it turns out has been used elsewhere). No fair if it’s not in plain view, they say. Legally, I’m sure that will be difficult to dispute.

Update: On 2/3/2010, Fidler was ordered to demolish his castle.

It’s a fascinating story, and my other source‘s additional pictures (including an interior shot) make it even better.

10 Responses to If These Hay Walls Could Speak

  1. What an interesting story! I am off to your “source” to read more!
    Have a good week Mark!

  2. Amazing story… he should be able to stay!

  3. Um…what did folks THINK was happening inside the massive stack of haybails into which this guy and his family disappeared each evening? How could they be totally unoffended by a huge hay stack and tarp monstrousity but be so mortified by a beautiful home? I have to assume they’re just ticked off that he got one past them.

    Cool story, Mark. Thanks for sharing it.

  4. It does seem that it would be sort of a tragic loss if that castle were demolished. All that work and effort for naught. Bully for the guy for having the balls to take that sort of risk, and I do hope he gets to keep the castle, but he also has to realise the sort of venture he had and that it could still go wrong for him.

  5. I hope he gets to stay in his home!

  6. He must have built very, very quietly.

  7. That’s a case of the people in charge of the legal side trying to make an example of someone, because of their very ill-thought out legislation. As someone else mentioned, no construction is allowed, but they’ll allow a huge eye-sore hay-bale tower?

    Someone got one over on them, and they’re embarrassed. I hope there’s a public outcry.

    “Wow…look at that 4 year old massive hay-bale structure. Are they saving that for when they save up enough money to buy a field of cows to eat it? Ahhh…who cares, we’ve got some stupid laws to uphold that are more important than worrying about that.”

  8. Mark, I love your last paragraph when you refer to it as a hale-bay fort. I read over it twice and thought….that doesn’t seem quite right. I’m not even sure if it’s haybale, hay-bale, or what it is, and I’m not looking it up. I just thought it was funny that even after I wasn’t sure, I still wasn’t going to look it up.

  9. I’m glad everybody seems to support the castle builder guy. Well, except maybe Jay. She’ll commit to an opinion on her Quickie Book Review site, but not here.

    Charles – That was a bad flub, and one that I had made and corrected in the first paragraph. Wow. Just not good. But, easily fixed (I left the error in strikeout so your comment wouldn’t make you look like an idiot — I’m just too nice sometimes).

  10. You totally need to take him bowling! It is probably my favorite family outing! Thanks for your comment…I love reflections as well!

    Make sure to take pics if you go!


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