The Cottage Smallholder


stumbling self sufficiency in a small space

The Rat Room

tiny ratThis is a three bedroom cottage. The smallest one is only accessible through our bedroom. It is not the standard Pink or Blue Room found in so many country houses. The name alone sets ours miles apart from any other bedroom. We tend to forget this when we casually refer to this room. I’ve spotted the nervous glances. Perhaps our visitors imagine that they’ll be sleeping in a room lined with cages and a thousand bright eyes sparkling though the gloom.

My sister lived here for a few months, between houses and this was her bedroom. When it rained and the wind blew horizontally, water collected in one of the walls. After a few days there was always an overpowering smell of rotting rat. My sister christened it The Rat Room. My pal Tony repaired the wall and all was well. The name stuck.

After my sister moved away, it was transformed into my study. It’s a lovely room overlooking the garden, with mansard ceilings and so well soundproofed that it’s like stepping into a tiny separate world. It has the big worktables from my London studio and a very plush chair that was tailor made for me when my back started to play up from endless hours propped on a typist’s chair that my ex husband had pulled out of a skip.

The Rat Room changed hands again, three years ago. It is now Danny’s domain. Swapping this prime rural office environment for the kitchen table was a bit of a wrench. Danny’s company sometimes lets him work from home and he needed space away from recalcitrant Min Pins and the distracting clatter of the average cottage smallholder day.

Broadband and a company mobile have given Danny a freedom undreamt of five years ago. He could be working from a tepee in the Tesco car park, no one would know. I did suggest this option but he’d had his eye on The Rat Room for years.

Update 16th January 2013.

Danny and I went our seperate ways at the beginning of January this year. I have moved back into The Rat Room. As in the past it’s a quiet space that has a cretain magical element. So happy to be back.


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1 Comment

  1. ‘cretain’ magical element’……Freudian slip or portent for the future.

    The good and bad Fiona….keep them in your heart. I had a similar break-up. He had met her during his first marriage. It was his boss’ wife and I think they were angling for wife swapping which is so alien to my thinking.

    He was out of the marriage by the time that I met him but I don’t know if he was seeing her throughout. Again in our relationship I think he tried for the swaps but I missed all the signals and was a complete failure on that count. The husband got cancer and on his deathbed I linked with him and told him it was time to go. We had that spiritual bond and twenty minutes later he passed over.

    When the affair started up again when confronted he told me that he fell in love with her the first time that he had met her. My comment was that ‘he had settled for second best then the twenty years or so we had been together’!! Boy did he try eat his words but it was too late.

    I’d saved enough money to still keep my investment in the house that we had shared, bought three houses in BG, had the money to renovate and still have enough to live very comfortably on and now I have my pension. I did it all out here and without his input. He comes out for holidays…I assume my caring role but wave him off on the early morning bus to the airport with relief on my face.

    I wish you God speed to get to my stage.. but as I heard the other day….’If you love them let them go and if they come back it’s because no other f*cker wants them’ (Please excuse the language.) Big hugs for the healing process to be swift….

    E

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