The Cottage Smallholder


stumbling self sufficiency in a small space


The best gardening tools are not necessarily the most expensive

Posted in Discoveries, General care | 14 comments

The best gardening tools are not necessarily the most expensive

I’d cut down the rose bushes to large stumps and wheeled away about ten borrow loads of rose branches and quite a lot of bindweed roots. John Coe cast an eye over the warzone border covered with hefty skeletal stumps. “I can see what you mean. With this and the new potato border you will have a much more productive space for growing vegeatbles. Kitchen garden borders always fill up fast.” He picked up my spade and stabbed at the biggest rose root. “This’ll take some shifting.” Within five minutes the base of the spade had snapped...

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Save trees and money and scatter some joy with Jaquie Lawson e-cards

Posted in Discoveries | 9 comments

Save trees and money and scatter some joy with Jaquie Lawson e-cards

I received my first Jaquie Lawson Christmas card seven years ago. It was one of her Chudleigh (black Labrador) cards. I was thrilled. Great animation and top marks on the feel good factor. Then I forgot all about them. A couple of years ago an old friend started sending us Jaquie Lawson cards at Christmas and Easter. Margaret and her husband Tony had been our neighbours and had moved far away to Cumbria. Each card was a delightful reminder of an old and lasting friendship. There’s something very magical about these cards. This Christmas we...

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Valentine’s Day – a celebration of love

Posted in Cottage tales | 10 comments

Valentine’s Day – a celebration of love

I’m a huge romantic. I love this card that Danny sent me when we first met. He had no idea that it was designed and made by someone that I knew years before. It always gives me a small jolt when I look at it. The fairytale words “So they lived happily ever after” are so innocent, pure and hugely optimistic. I treasure this little picture. At boarding school I envied the girls who received lots of Valentine’s cards from real boys. There were shrieks. “Ohhhh. I think it’s from Henry!” “Where was it sent from?” “Taunton. But...

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St Patrick’s day brunch at Borough Market

Posted in Discoveries | 1 comment

St Patrick’s day brunch at Borough Market

A few weeks ago a generous client gave me a large tip. Not the ˜Fiona, why don’t you work a bit harder’ variety. Rather, she added a day’s wages to the final cheque and suggested that I could take Danny out for a meal. So when our friends Katherine and Paul suggested a foodie day out in London, we jumped at the chance. This would be the perfect way of investing our windfall. The day started with locating our friends at Liverpool Street station (how did we cope without mobile phones?), grabbing a coffee and jumping on a bus...

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Valentine’s freesias and heart shaped comfort

Posted in Cottage tales | 0 comments

Valentine’s freesias and heart shaped comfort

We don’t push the boat out on Valentine’s Day but we do get a tiny present for each other. It’s easier for me as I do the big shop every week and can see the supermarket displays for at least a month. Danny’s Valentine’s Hunting Trip is always on Valentine’s eve. Last night, he suddenly found that he was part of a large posse of men that were desperately searching the card racks at Waitrose. Eventually an assistant was called who explained that they had sold out at teatime. I don’t know where he found...

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