The Cottage Smallholder

stumbling self sufficiency in a small space

A quick update on me

Wyandotte hen named Hope

My favourite hen named Hope

I sat down and worked out that for at least half of my adult life – having passed the magical ‘adult’ age of 21 – I’ve spent exactly half of my adult life living alone.

That’s actually 19 years. So I’m not a stranger to that solo state. There are benefits. At home you can be horrifyingly selfish. Watch trashy TV. Eat sandwiches for every meal. Never have to get that resigned nod when you want to buy something. Not brush your hair unless you’re going out.

And of course there’s the flip side. No longer part of a team when two people to work out the best course of action. No one to say that I’m being ridiculous when I actually was being a bit silly. No one to eat with when I’ve pulled out all the stops to make a great meal. No hugs.

There’s the rub. Hugs are really important.

Your virtual hugs have given me so much solace. The stories that some people have shared have made me weep. Why are some people so cruel?

Danny is a good guy. I’m fond of him. He is still clearing out his stuff so we meet regularly. We chat on the phone. He is building a life way outside the boundaries of my life. Of course I’m curious. Long distant friendships are deceptively easy.

It’s when he backs his new (to him) car into the drive that I quail a bit inside. For the first few minutes I hate him.

Within half and hour I’m enjoying the fact that we are now just friends.

Our exclusive one to one relationship had run out of steam. I must admit, I do mourn that. We both tried valiantly to keep it going.

Since he left the tears that used to dominate my day have gradually dispersed. They’re still there and their return always surprises me. Yesterday, in the supermarket car park, I was knocked back by unexpected tears. Thank god I’d done my shopping and was sitting in my car. So I just let go and sobbed – hoping that no one that I knew would spot my car and approach with an encouraging smile. People are frightened by upsets and avoid disasters, so it was unlikely.

Of course I feel very low sometimes.

I’ve joined the gaggle of single businessmen looking for a tempting evening meal for one in the local supermarket. Gradually I’ve stopped overbuying food that I just can’t consume – Danny always ate for at least two.

I’m now feeling so much better than I’ve done for years. A very long time ago I used to feel a tingling in my feet – it made me think that I was charged with some sort of super energy.

Last night when I was relaxing Min Pins on lap, my feet tingled.


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  1. Just found your site, hope you are alright and still going strong.
    Please don’t give up. Love and hugs from Phil.

  2. Barbara Tyler

    Came across this blog whilst looking up details about a sloe bush as want to make sloe gin.the last date seems to be 2014 so I do hope you are going to write more. I live alone my partner passed away 7 years ago . I would love to have a cottage smallholding and was inspired reading your blog. I will read what you have written and the comments. You seem so popular. Please write some more.
    September 2016

  3. Hi stranger we both retired now so enjoying the garden veggies smoking and fishing only caught 2 but still learning get in touch would be good. Lots of hugs xxxx

  4. Well Fiona you are never far from my thoughts and i often wonder how you are and how the situation is at home. You have been an inspiration to me as far as Sloe Gin, Raspberry Vodka both red and yellow, Pickles and Chutneys are concerned and i am always looking for tips on your site. I do hope that you will return at some stage when you are ready to, i can only speak for myself but i am sure there are many others who feel the same way. Take care of yourself Fiona and please remember, if you feel alone then you are not alone as there are many here who care for you and about you. Regards Jon xxx

  5. Celia B

    Hi Fiona, returned to your blog today as I wanted to make piccallili , and there’s only one recipe to use which is yours. I’ve made it several times now over the last few years, and always get compliments. Since we moved to the south of France 2 years ago, I have introduced our french neighbours to the delights, and always get asked when am I making some more. So today is the day. I miss your blog, but am glad to have your lovely recipes . I do hope you are doing ok and maybe one day will come back to share some more delights with us. Celia B

  6. I’m confused. This appears to be the last post and it’s nearly a year old. It has a photo of a favorite hen named HOPE. There’s the selling of the lead toys (which must have sucked), the break-up, the tingling feet, and then…? Please do not tell me that male menopause of all insipid things annihilated this beautiful dream of self-sufficiency and cottage industry by a very lovely lady or I’ll get really miffed. Regarding the feet-tingling, it might indicate a calcium deficiency linked to parathyroid dysfunction. I’d get my TSH level checked. Regarding any other perceived deficiency in life, meh, it looks like you were grinning and bearing the bulk of the work for this project, anyway. You can gather a community around your dream, and communities don’t skip off to be Clooney wannabes.

  7. dantom

    I have only just come back on after a long pause of cottage smallholder banter. Sorry to hear that yourself and Danny are no longer an item but I am glad to see the spark of friendship still there. Big hugs to you both.

  8. Hi Fiona, I like your blog. I have some broody chickens and I’m about to put them in an anti-broody coop I have fashioned. Thanks for your great info. I really hope you are doing well. Post and let me know. Thank you! Becky

  9. I just remembered I hadn’t visited your blog for a long time, and looked it up. Was v sad to read this post. I hope you’re doing ok. Big hugs from a friendly stranger xxx

  10. Debbie Finn

    Hi Fiona hope you are well and have rekindled that wonderful exuberance that compelled me to visit your blog all those years ago. Your blog was one of my favourites listening to your plans and accomplishments and of course the antics of your doggy friends. It would be nice to hear how you have been getting along but of course I understand why you don’t blog like you used to. I myself have only recently started to do a few posts having lost the desire to share some of my thoughts with other bloggers. Take care Debsxx

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