The Cottage Smallholder


stumbling self sufficiency in a small space

The love gallery

favourite love gallery printDanny and I are lucky. We are happy. And content with each other, most of the time. We lead pretty independent lives but always eat breakfast and supper together and share the king sized bed with its massive regal headboard, inherited from my aunt.

We also share the same star sign, Virgo. Danny was born at the neater end of the month – dusting wise. There is a neatness inside my head. If this is arrested, I am at sea.

We had a turbulent first year. Probably moved in together too soon. We were also living near Newmarket and working in London (70 miles) and Camberley (120 miles). Danny’s day started at five and ended at nine when we reversed through the gate and collapsed.

This testing time often erupted into Do or Die rows. Many a time D’s possessions were forced into a dustbin liner and tossed out of the front door. Now this would be impossible. His unopened mail alone would fill the sack.

But they were times full of tenderness too. Cards and tokens were exchanged. Danny was given the use of my aunt’s old desk complete with secret drawer. As I knew the mechanism, he couldn’t pretend that he was head of MI5.

Eventually it was clear that he needed his own room. I moved out of the Rat Room and gave the space its five yearly wash and brush up. When we were shifting the contents of his old desk upstairs I noticed that he had saved some of my cards. Delivered without stamp and laid on the mat when he was asleep. I had treasured his too. We sifted through them and decided that we should frame a selection.

“Let’s keep them all together.”
“Like the couples that put up their wedding cards.”
“We need a smallish, intimate space”
“What about the corridor to the bathroom? We could call it the Love Gallery.”

This tiny corridor was created before I bought the cottage to get around the UK regulations. There needs to be a couple of doors between the loo and a living space. Our gallery measures 7′ x 2′.

Even though I feel a bit embarrassed about the concept now, we had a marvellous day. We selected the cards, drove to Newmarket and spent a good hour choosing mounts and frames. We then drifted across the road to The Old Waitrose to buy the bubbly and canapés for the opening night.

Framing was quick but the hanging took quite some time and Fly, our old trusty Min Pin got quite fretful, sensing a party in the offing. But where were the guests?

And he was right. No one had been invited to this intimate soiree. None of the art would ever be sold.

Sometimes now I linger in our gallery and examine the pictures on the walls. Fresh, exuberant and bursting with hope and expectations. I remember that opening night when the three of us sipped Veuve Clicquot and supped smoked salmon treats. Heady, intense, with no room to even think of others.

We exchange cards on Valentine’s Day and sometimes one is added to the collection. It has to pass the selection committee. Just the two of us now as Fly has moved on to that boundless dog walk in the sky.


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7 Comments

  1. What a great idea, a Love Gallery, we have always kept our cards and I have never known what to do with them, except get them out and remember the lovely things we have written, a Love Gallery in our holiday home which we are currently renovating is a lovely idea. Thank you!

  2. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Sara

    We have decided to refurbish the gallery and hang a few more pictures!

    Hello Minamoo

    Isn’t it funny that it’s the little things that give the most pleasure, in the end.

  3. Thank you for sharing that with us Fiona. I look forward to the day when Peter and I have our own little love gallery. So far we have a gingerbread man we decorated together about 2 years ago, the heart shaped lebkuchen that he got me for my birthday present last year and a very kitchy little porcelain statuette I got from Holland of a boy and a girl kissing and everytime I see them round the house they make me smile.

  4. farmingfriends

    What a lovely place to keep your memories fresh in your minds.
    Sara from farmingfriends

  5. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Magic Cochin

    I love Penny Bhadresa’s work. This is just a card but a perfect addition to the Love Gallery.

    I tried cooking my first veggie creation for Valentines. Good flavours but needs more work!

    Hi Kyle

    I hope that you had a good Valentine’s Day too.

  6. What a lovely post. It actually gave me goosebumps! A very happy valentine’s day, to you both.

  7. magic cochin

    Your Love Gallery is a delightful idea – and I love that image by Penny Bhadresa (what a talented artist, fantastic work).

    Happy Valentine’s Day – are you cooking a special dinner?

    Celia

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