FIRE Escape – Devizes 16-18th October

Cheyne Cottage
We’re now less than a week away from our next UK Gathering or as they’re now referred to as the ‘FIRE Escape’

This Autumn’s gathering has been a little more rushed than I would have liked, and as a result, some people are unable to make the weekend. I plan on avoiding this situation in future by announcing the dates well in advance so people have time to book it off early. However, I’m really pleased to see it’s still attracted some familiar faces and some brand new ones too. There are 5 of us sleeping in the cottage and another 8-10 people either sleeping in camper-vans outside or visiting for one of the days. 

FIRE Escape – Changes

Self Catered Accommodation – I’m intrigued to see how the self-catered accommodation option compares to the last 2 which have been in town/city centres. My gut feel is it will be much nicer having our own space, where we aren’t interrupted by others, and we don’t have to move onto the next location and find another restaurant/pub that can seat 10-18 people each time. From a cost perspective, it should be much more in line with what most of us stand by too. The last 2 Gatherings turned out to be quite expensive in the end, and the bulk of the cost was eating out. By us providing our own Food and Drink it should make the weekends much more affordable. 

The counter to that change is that people might feel more ‘trapped’ being in a house all weekend. The thought of being in a house with complete strangers might actually put people off from going. I hope that by having a relaxed atmosphere, and limited scheduling that people can do what they want all weekend. Even if that involves spending most of the time on their own outside of the cottage. I don’t want anyone to feel pressured or uncomfortable. These weekends are about meeting people and having fun!

Scheduled Learning / Interacting time – There were some opposing thoughts on this topic. 

Some people felt that weren’t making the most of our time on these weekends and we could have scheduled in talks on investing, frugal living, making money, self sufficiency etc. Others found this type of structure off putting and too much like ‘work’. So what’s a man supposed to do?

I believe that we can still meet both parties needs on this one. If we structure in some scheduled ‘chats’ that are informal and relaxed, but we still have space in the cottage for people to do their own thing if they aren’t interested, then people can pick what they want to do. There’s ZERO pressure to attend any talks, and those that want to benefit from them can do so.

All that remains is establishing what talks people want to hear and which people would be willing to deliver them. 

Richard kindly volunteered to do a talk on how he selects stocks for everyone, but he unfortunately can’t make this weekend. I volunteered to do a talk on Kindle Publishing, and how you can earn significant money on the side. M from ‘There’s Value’ said she could share her strategies on keeping the cost of grocery shopping  down.  

What do you want to learn?
What topic would you be willing to talk about?
Let me know what topic’s you’re interested in learning about, and if you feel that you have experience or knowledge on a particular topic, please let me know and I’ll schedule it in. Just to set your expectations here – I’m not guaranteeing that you’ll definitely get a talking slot or we’ll be able to find someone that can talk on that topic but it would be great to hear your thoughts!

Speed Dating – Weenie came up with the great idea of having a a speed dating style ‘get to know you’ game with everyone in the house. 

I would like to give this a go. I was thinking that we could all have 2 minutes to tell the other person about what we do, why we’re here, and your area of expertise. The other person then speaks for 2 minutes on the same topic. Then, we switch seats and repeat the process with someone else until you’ve sat with everyone. 

I like this idea as it gives us all an opportunity to speak to everyone in the group on a 1-on-1 basis. On some of these weekends, I’ve barely talked to some people, while I’ve spent several hours speaking to others. I’m sure that’s inevitable to some degree, but if we do this early on, we can establish what strengths/interests we all have, and you can then make a point of speaking to particular people who you have more in common with. It should be a lot of fun too!

Food / Drink

As we’re going to be providing our own, some people might be interested in ‘group cooking’ or even ‘group drinking’. A&L previously mentioned that they would like to make a vegetable curry for those that are interested on one of the nights. It’s a great way to bond and save a bit of money so I’d like to put this idea out there. 

In the same way that scheduled talks aren’t compulsory, I feel the same way about cooking. People can be very particular about their food and they might be more comfortable catering for themselves. This isn’t a problem at all!
On the other hand, If you like the thought of being part of a group dish, leave your thoughts in the comments below. Some of you may prefer waiting until Saturday, when most people are present so you can speak in person, before deciding on what to do with grub. 

Arrival / Departure

Arrival from 1.30pm – Friday 16th Oct
Departure up to 12pm – Sunday 18th Oct

I’m meeting the owner at the cottage at 1.30pm on the Friday. This was originally 3pm, and I asked for the earliest possible arrival time. He said 1.30pm was the earliest he could do. 

The departure time was initially 10am, but he kindle agreed to give us a couple of extra hours. 


For this weekend, I took on the balance of the weekend myself so we could secure the dates. 

It cost £340 for the whole weekend. 

There are 4 people sleeping in the cottage for the 2 nights, and 1 person stopping for 1 night.

If I breakdown the cost to £75 for 2 nights and £38 for one night, we have the initial cost covered by the 5 of us. 

That leaves me with the difficult task of trying to find out a suitable charge for people just turning up for the day. Thank you for all of your suggestions on this. They ranged from £10-£50. 

I feel that £10 is too low in comparison to the £75 that people are paying for ultimately making the weekend go ahead, and I’d like to reward/incentivise the people that are stopping longer.

I’m therefore going to put forward a ‘suggested donation’ of £20. I will collect the money this week prior to the weekend and pass the donations back onto the people that are stopping over as they have the biggest fee, and they’re responsible for the weekend happening. 

I won’t be taking any money from the donations whatsoever to make that clear! All of the donations will go back to the people attending.

If you’re only stopping by for a short period and you feel this amount is too high, drop me an email with what you feel is more reasonable. I’d prefer that people come along and pay slightly less than being put off by paying and not turn up. Alternatively, if you plan on spending more time at the cottage and you’d like to donate more, you’re welcome to do so. 

Please contact me individually to organise payments whether you’re stopping overnight or a day guest. 

I plan on putting together the structure for the weekend based on your responses to this post. 

In order for me to do that, may I request the following information from you please:
  • What time and day do you plan on arriving and departing?
  • Would you be interested in talking about a topic?
  • What topics would you like to learn about?

Please let me know if you want further clarification on anything else or if you have any general questions. 

I look forward to seeing you all in 5 days!


  • Jim McG

    Reply Reply 11th October 2015

    Sorry I can't make it Huw, I'll be in Scotland visiting family. Wish you well with the event though, well done for organising it again and I hope to make one in the near future. Cheers.

  • Huw Davies

    Reply Reply 11th October 2015

    Hi Jim,

    Not to worry. I thought it was always going to be a big ask for you due to your location anyway. I hope you have a great time in Scotland!

    Thanks for the well wishes. I'm really looking forward to it!

    All the best

  • M from There's Value

    Reply Reply 11th October 2015

    Hi, an leaving cambs at 2.30, should take maybe 3ish hrs, so hopefully with you guys by dinner time on Friday. Planning to leave Sunday morning around 9.30

    Happy to speak about:

    Frugal yet healthy grocery/food tips;
    Moving from Blogger to WordPress;
    Setting up a website from scratch with WordPress;
    Growing your own – what's worthwhile and what isn't.

    I'd like to learn more/refresh my memory on:

    Corporate balance sheets;
    Kindle publishing;
    Consulting/coaching as a business

    Looking forward to the weekend!



    Reply Reply 12th October 2015

    Hi Huw,

    Looking forward to it. Can't believe it is this weekend, that's come around fast.

    I think I've mentioned before I'll only be there for a few hours on Saturday late afternoon to early evening. I hope people don't mind but for that reason, I'll just be sticking a tenner into the pot. If I receive any group food (veg curry sounds awesome btw!) I'll obviously stick a bit more in 😀
    There is probably a 10% chance I'll have to cancel last minute, won't go into full details but involves a mate whose wife is heavily pregnant and car sharing/lifts for an event I have on Saturday morning. If she pops on Saturday then I need to drive people home instead of naffing off to Devizes with you lot! (So will just pay on the day when I get there, if that's cool).

    I will text you around midday Saturday to confirm whether I'm definitely coming or not but as I say 90% certain I will.

    Cheers and see you Saturday.

  • Huw Davies

    Reply Reply 12th October 2015

    Hi M,

    Awesome stuff. Thank you for providing the information, it's really helpful!

    I might take you up of some of your discussion points if you don't mind. My plan is for it to be very informal, and without the use of aids like powerpoint or whiteboards – More of a chat with a Q&A style.

    I love the suggestions on what you'd like to learn more/refresh your memory on.

    Speak soon!

  • Huw Davies

    Reply Reply 12th October 2015

    Hi TFS,

    Good to hear. Me too! It's gone bloody quickly hasn't it.

    I've just been speaking to you on Skype, I understand and respect your situation, and your suggestion sounds very fair to me. I hope everything goes well for you this week (and Saturday) and I hope to see you this weekend.

    Speak soon

  • Anonymous

    Reply Reply 12th October 2015

    Hi Huw

    Wish I could make it 🙁 … but hey there's always the next Northern FIRE Escape to look forward to:-)

    To those who might be considering going along to this one but feel a bit intimidated by the prospect of meeting a bunch of strangers : don't be! – I was a bit that way before I went to the York meetup and ended up having a thoroughly great time and met lots of interesting and friendly people.


  • EarlyRetirementGuy

    Reply Reply 12th October 2015

    It's just over an hours drive for me so depends what time I wake up.. Probably aim to leave around 10am on Saturday so be with you about 11. Drop me and email with details for sending over money as well as the address and your number incase I get lost!

  • Anonymous

    Reply Reply 12th October 2015

    Apologies if this appears twice, the initial post seemed to get lost.

    Really looking forward to it. Would love to hear from m about grow your own and what is worth sticking in once we take our garden.

    On the veg curry subject, z and I would be very happy to cook up a selection of dishes for the Saturday night…
    However, since making that offer to Huw, we have hit a snag. Our beautiful newly installed 5 burner gas hob has turned out to be faulty and is on its way back to the warehouse! We are back to cooking on a one ring camping stove, somewhat compromising the plan to cook it all up early Saturday morning before heading down (from only 20 miles away, since you presumably ask).

    All is not lost. Consenting diners permitted we will still endeavour to provide a (humble) feast. We can scope out the cottage kitchen and canvass enthusiasm and numbers on the Friday night, making a strategy for Saturday cheffery (is that a word? No It's a tongue twister)

    On a related note, is the rest of the weekend catering (predominantly Friday night and sat lunch) bring a bottle and dish/snack or two for buffet/tapas vibe? Remembering we can eat like kings for the price of one sit down in York.

    See you soon.


    P.s I will also bring football, Frisbee, boule etc for outdoor regression for us so called adults who are cooped up all week at work.

  • Huw Davies

    Reply Reply 12th October 2015

    Hi Guy,

    That sounds great, thanks for clarifying the details!

    I've sent you an email via your blog now with the details you're after. Please let me know if you need anything else.

    See you this weekend. Thanks again for coming along!


  • Huw Davies

    Reply Reply 12th October 2015

    Hi MikeS,

    Sorry you can't make it. Not to worry. Like you said, there will be another 3 next year and I'll position one up north too.

    Thank you for the encouragement Mike. It can be intimidating to turn up on your own to something like this, but I'd like to think we're a welcoming and friendly bunch!

    Please keep me posted with you debt free date, and I look forward to seeing at some point again next year. You'll be well on your way to saving and investing at that point – how exciting!

    Thanks again

  • Huw Davies

    Reply Reply 12th October 2015

    Hi A,

    I can't speak on her behalf, but I think M would be happy to talk about growing your own veg.

    Great news on the Veg curry front, especially considering the hob sitch. Your approach to the feast seems sensible and 'cheffery' is definitely a word!

    We can talk about Food on Friday before dinner, and if the group wants, we can cook another group meal on Friday night. Lou and I are still up stopping by on Friday morning if you'll have us.

    Speak soon!

    PS. Great shout on the recreational games. I'll bring twister, oil, and a fish bowl.

  • Richard

    Reply Reply 13th October 2015


    Well done on sorting this meet out at such short notice. I don't envy you trying to find a solution that satisfies everyone’s needs.

    Work is flat out at present with some big installations of new machines into car production lines taking place over most weekends in October hence my reason for not being able to attend this coming weekend.

    Any spare time I have at present is sat at my PC working on Kindle which has seen some significant growth in the past few weeks (house building has come to a standstill to concentrate on Kindle). I currently have 6 books out with 3 more being written. It is surprising how much time is needed to get all the steps processed and the book out to market. I am currently looking at a VA to take away some of the workload as I want to concentrate on getting a steady stream of books out but also look at better ways of promoting them.
    It would have been great to be involved in the discussions this weekend, in particular on Kindle as there is so much to learn.
    On the dividend front 2015 is proving to be a great year. We have hit our target for dividends received already thanks to some simply but effective techniques that I picked up earlier this year.

    All the best to you and to everyone who attends the meet at the weekend.


  • FIbrarian

    Reply Reply 13th October 2015

    I plan to set off straight from work at around 4. All being well and assuming the Friday traffic isn't too terrible I hope to be there before 8 pm. That's probably a little late to eat so I will probably grab something on the way down. If I can try and bunk off an hour early I will do but I'll keep you in the loop Huw.

  • weenie

    Reply Reply 13th October 2015

    Hey Huw
    Shame I'm going to miss out on this one, sounds like it'll be a great weekend and quite different from the other two FIRE Escapes. Hope you all have a fab time and look forward to reading the update.

  • M from There's Value

    Reply Reply 13th October 2015

    happy to speak about veg gardening things with whoever wants to know about it

    am also happy to help with cooking of group meals.I'll probably bring some (organic) allotment veg to share

  • Huw Davies

    Reply Reply 14th October 2015

    Great stuff. Thanks for confirming M!

  • Huw Davies

    Reply Reply 14th October 2015

    Hey Weenie,

    It's definitely our loss, but I know we'll be able to catch up at the next one (dates permitting of course).

    I'm excited to see how this approach differs from the previous two, and I'll do my traditional follow up with everyone so I hope you'll get to know the true picture even though you can't make it.

    Thanks for the support!


  • Huw Davies

    Reply Reply 14th October 2015

    Hi FIbarian,

    Wow, you have a bit of a trek don't you. I'm sure traffic is one of the biggest factors in that. I'll pray to the traffic gods for the next two nights in your honour.

    I'm sure I've given you my number, but please drop me an email if not. Have a great week, and see you very soon!

  • Huw Davies

    Reply Reply 14th October 2015

    Hi Richard,

    It's no trouble at all. I love it!

    I hope that although you're flat out at work, it's still in a good way. I would have a guess that you don't actually mind being really busy at work…..

    Great to hear about your progression with Kindle. The business needs work (it's certainly not passive), but the returns are outstanding! The more you do it, the faster you get, and the better you become, and before you know it, you can pass that knowledge and experience onto VA's to do the tasks that you don't enjoy.

    If you'd like me to offer some advice/help on the books or even if it's just getting you a verified review, please let me know. I'm always happy to help. I know you can't make it this weekend, but please bear in mind that you don't need to wait until the FIRE Escape meetings to ask me about kindle. You have my email and Skype handle and I'm always happy to help you out if you need it.

    Congratulations on the Dividend Income! That's awesome news! There are 2.5 months left of the year too. I in turn, feel gutted that you can't make this weekend, as I was looking forward to hearing your views on investing in companies. Although I'm sure there'll be plenty of other opportunities.

    Thanks again for the well wishes. Please pass on my regards to Alison too!

    Speak soon

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