About Us


Meet me, Russ, and my beautiful wife, Debbie, who are the current custodians of Bumblebee Cottage! On this page, we'll spill the beans about who we are and where we came from and what our hopes for the future are.

We married in 2002 in North Kent having met when Debbie was a branch manager of a Barclays branch of a town that Russell was living in at the time in Surrey. Debbie obviously couldn’t resist falling for Russell’s charms and 6 months after our first date, Russ proposed to Debbie on a promenade in Southern Spain.

Unknown to us at the time, but a few years later, we ended up selling our home in Kent, right on the border of Sussex and we moved to the exact same area as where we got engaged. The ‘Spanish years’ were perhaps the most intuitive for us, because until then Russ never really ate fish, never cooked and saw his future firmly in digital media. But the seeds of outdoor cookery, smells and ingredients neither of us had ever experienced before became a constant learning experience and we also learnt to use what was fresh and local. Spanish neighbours would give us surplus produce, more often or not including their own potent home-brew of wine and we learnt to cook with it.

Having returned back to the UK just as the credit crunch was underway in 2008, and relocating in Kent, near to Hever and Chiddingstone Castles, and with a reasonable sized garden now under our ownership, Russ create a vegetable patch and bought a greenhouse. It was also during this period that we started to explore other parts of the world, and relying on our new found Spanish language skills.

We spent a lot of time in the Caribbean, visiting Jamaica several times, but also Tobago, Cuba, Mexico and Grenada too. From each visit we grew to learn and respect the different cultures and so too, the culinary specialities. And upon every return back to the U.K, we wanted to try growing something we’d experienced overseas. We even had cookery lessons on the roof of a building in the Medina of Marrakech, an experience neither of us will ever forget.

In 2014 we decided we’d had enough of the hustle and bustle of the South East and this time moved 250 miles West, to Delabole, on the North Cornish coast. We bought a small garden-less cottage initially and then Bumblebee Cottage. But Bumblebee Cottage hadn’t been lived in for several years and was in a very poor state. The ‘formal garden’ was nothing more than very overgrown boggy waste ground and we didn’t even know there was over of acre of field behind us until a couple of years later when we’d finally got on top of the overgrown vegetation.

In 2021 we were incredibly fortunate, thanks to the kindness of a local family that own the field behind us, to purchase that and slowly start to restore it back to its former self. Walls had fallen down in places, areas of the field had become very boggy in places and hedges were in need of replanting and tidying up. This all coincided with the covid years and lock down meant that we assigned ourselves to working the ‘orchard’ as we’d now named it and continuing work and restoration of the cottage too. As we knocked through to 2 inglenooks, we removed over 8 tonnes of VERY dusty waste and we used an old camper van that we’d had restored during covid, to camp in on occasions in the orchard so we could avoid all the dust and debris whilst the worst of the demolition took place.

Having not taken a proper overseas holiday since pre-covid at the time of writing, and looking forward to the future, Debbie and Russ have a shared new love for Western France. This, aligned with our passion for the orchard and a burning desire to slowly introduce indigenous Cornish apple trees has meant we can use climate change to our slight advantage by, for the first time, growing food and shrubs that had previously been impossible in the South East and which we discovered, are much more aligned to the more milder climate of Western France. Some of the trees we’ve carefully sourced for the orchard were literally from the last known remaining apple tree of some varieties! We also brought the bees back to Bumblebee (see our Bee blog section) after a previous owner, Ted, had kept them decades earlier.