The Cottage Smallholder

stumbling self sufficiency in a small space

A quick update on me

The cottage in the snow

The cottage in the snow

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 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. Feeling a failure. 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 do some people need to be 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 but don’t want to pry. A long distance relationship with an ex can be so deceptively easy.

It’s when he backs his car, new to him,  into the drive that I quail a bit inside. For the first few minutes I hate him. Want to prove that it was right to split up. Long for the dogs to growl and snap when he reaches out a hand to .them. In fact I’m beastly on the inside as I offer D a cup of coffe.

Within half and hour I’m enjoying the fact that we are now just two people with a lot of good things in common.

Our exclusive one to one relationship had run out of steam. I must admit, I do mourn that, more than I can say. 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. Often returns are  unexpected and  surprising. Yesterday, in the supermarket car park, I was knocked back by 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 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. After fifteen years it’s hard to trim my shopping list.

Apart from the sobs, 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. With tears of relief, I cried.


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  1. Debra Lloyd

    Writing from faraway Canada, on an island in winter wonderland.
    Refreshing to hear of single lives…makes me feel more normal.
    Fiona, you have a lovely smile, and people must welcome you when you
    enter any room with such a welcoming face.
    Been widowed since I was 39, and living on my own now since 2001.
    Can’t quite imagine having someone share my space. I eat with the
    likes of Desert Island Disc people…quite the show. At this time of the year
    I’m simmering up Dark Chunky Marmalade, and pondering my garden, to start
    seedlings or not….Although I still haunt the singles sites…

  2. Amen. Crying is OK and there is lots to be said for living alone or even more to be said for living with a pet or two!

  3. Fiona, living alone is not bad, as long as you are not lonely. Crying is fine too. Some days will be awful and others will be wonderful. You always make me happy when you have blogged, thank you and hugs.

  4. Joy Clark

    You are right, there are a lot of advantages to living a solo life, something I have now done for nearly half my life (not counting the children). Disadvantages too, yes, but then so there are for those who live with a partner too. Many of our advantages are their disadvantages, it works both ways. You take what life sends and run with it (as you are doing).
    For me, it was the sense of rejection that hurt the most. Being discarded because of not being ‘good enough’. That did a lot of damage, much more than living on my own could ever do.

    I am heartfelt glad about that tingle . . .
    And ((((((hugs))))))
    J x

  5. I moved to Suffolk last year, my family were of the age to have flown the nest, so to speak, so going from cooking for 4 to cooking for one, well i can understand where you are coming from but the freezer is a wonderful thing, portions, cooking for 4 and freezing 3 meals, Cooking different things and not relying on those meals for one from the Supermarket.
    A lot of the Recipies that i cook come from your web site Fiona, try them they are really good and some day that meal for one may well very be a meal for two, we both live in hope as do many others who blog on here. Best wishes, Jon xx

  6. I think you should consider selling your cottage and move on yourself. Really. Tally up all the things you hate about it, all the things you have trouble living with, and all the things you could or would do differently if you could just start over somewhere else.

    Then tally up all the things you love about it and all the things you couldn’t live without that it and only it provides and bang it up against the first list. I get you’d find that moving to a new place would far outweigh staying put. Especially if the new place was a place where you’d always wanted to be or if the new house had everything you always wanted a house to have.

    Even if you had to build it from the ground up.

    Start over somewhere new and make yourself too busy to cry.

  7. Badcat666

    Yay to tingles in your tooties!!!

    Sending more hugs your way. If you need to cry, cry… sod everyone else. Am so glad you are feeling a bit better. 🙂

    I know what you mean about hugs. And not just hugs from friends or family, but hugs from someone you love and who loves you. Rumpy pumpy doesn’t feature in my life anymore either (I too am not as slim as I was..) but hugs mean the world to me. When I was single it burnt a hole in my heart not to be held like that.

    My method of getting me through many a bad patch when I was alone was listening to music I loved growing up and singing. Loudly. And in silly voices (try singing Abba songs with a french accent! LOL) This also includes bum wobbling and generally kitchen malarkey during dinner making. The cats did look at me oddly but they still loved me and helped me with their kitty cuddles.

    I hope the tootsie tingles continue. *lots of hugs*

  8. Hi Fiona,
    For the 11 years of my adult life, I’ve lived alone for 9 of them. I was usually in a relationship, but lived alone and LOVED it. I love eating chicken for breakfast if I want to, not having to set my schedule to anyone else’s. Leaving things a mess until I felt like picking up. Having everything exactly the way I want. I can listen to one song on repeat all day and not bother a soul. I’m glad to hear the tingle in your feet is back and hope you will take full advantage of all the lovely aspects of living alone. I would also say that a change of scene (a visit to a friend?) might be a good idea too. Danny is lucky in that he is actively building a new life away while you have to stay in the place you once shared, surrounded by memories. Having your own adventures might help.

  9. Toffeeapple

    I guess I should add a few more hugs too. It is good to know that you are slowly getting back to being you again. Keep at it, it will happen.

  10. so glad to hear Fiona – sending more virtual hugs!


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