The Cottage Smallholder


stumbling self sufficiency in a small space


The Witch at the bottom of our garden

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The Witch at the bottom of our garden

We moved to Cambridge when I was two years old. Initially to Hertford Street and later to Chesterton Road. The latter house had a much bigger garden with apple trees to climb and a camp behind a blackberry bush, just enough room for two to crawl in and sit close together. We spent a lot of time playing by the compost heap. This was the furthest point from the house and well out of my mother’s earshot. It was also the perfect spot for observing The Witch. The Witch lived in rather a grand house around the corner. Her garden backed on to...

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We replaced the city commute with the good life

Posted in Cottage tales | 2 comments

We replaced the city commute with the good life

I found the cottage fourteen years ago. It stood quite a way back from the road, with dormer windows and a low terracotta pantiled roof. The plot was a third of an acre with most of the land lying behind the cottage. Everybody said that I’d be mad to buy it. The ceilings were too low, less than six feet in places.Tall friends stood hunched silently at the back door gazing at the long garden. Shaking their heads, they would explain that maintaining a garden of this size would kill me. Back then, it was nothing more than a field with a...

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