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. Hi Fiona,
    I have belatedly read your blog. I was on my own for 14 years and loved and hated it. Eventually, I decided that I really missed hugs just like you and having someone in my life was important to me (it isn’t important for everyone). I found a lovely man on the internet and decided he was the right one when we had in depth conversations about breeding hedgehogs to control the slug population in both of our gardens!!There is someone for everyone when they are needed and when the time is right. Enjoy your you time until you decide you want us time.

  2. mauramac

    Hi Val, I was so surprised to read the posts on this blog as I had no idea you and Danny had parted – but then why should I know? I am a regular visitor to Cottage Smallholder but only occasionally dip in and out of your blog so first of all I am sorry you are going through such an emotional upheaval and I guess it must help to talk about it through this media. I think you are very brave to bare your soul and thoughts in this way especially as Danny is still part of the CSH website. My Mum married at 29 and was a widow at 57, a relatively short time of married life and remained on her own till she passed away at 90. She worked till her 70’s and I would say thoroughly enoyed her life after the grief and loss had eased.Take care of yourself and try to imagine how you want to be feeling in 12 months time and aim for that. I do admire you as I know I could never open up my thoughts and feelings so publicly so good luck for ‘your’ future, it will be exactly what you want and no one else need influence it in any way.

    • Fiona Nevile

      Hello Mauramac

      Thank you for your kind response.

      Both Danny and I needed to move on and yes the breakup is sad.

      I have found that all the comments that have been left have been tremendously helpful in getting through this mourning process – which I know will continue for quite some time.

      Of course Danny is still part of the CSH website! There are no goodies or badies here. Just two people who didn’t fit together anymore.

  3. Fiona,
    Oh my goodness, I had stopped checking your blog after you started that “newspaper” and this morning I was deleting some blogs from my FAVORITES that I just never, or rarely, read. I got to yours and clicked to open it, just wanting to see your masthead one last time, when I was blown away. There was a Valentine’s post and below that your update. I sat here reading and then rereading it, warm tears flowed for you. Fifteen year is a long time, I remember, over the years of your blog, your loving mentions of Danny and your life together. There were good times, and, I’m sure, bad times. Your life was changing and I got the feeling, he wasn’t as acceptable of your changes as he might have been. I know, I know, that was a reader, thousands of miles away, who attempted to read between the lines – and was probably reading the wrong language in front of her eyes.
    My heart goes out to you and the min-pins – your life goes on and you without Danny it will be quiet for awhile. But, as my dear Grandmother used to say, “What God takes from you, He replaces with something better, its just our job to figure out what it is.”
    I’ve been a single mother my entire life, its only been Jenn and myself, then she went to England to do her A Levels and away to university and then to law school and moved out on her own. I lived with her cat and realized that it was just the two of us – she then married and had my granddaughter. My life went from a little old lady and her (now) two cats, to a Grandmother. I’m still the little old lady who reads, watches BBC mystery shows, listens to good music, bakes and cooks, and occasionally attempts to crochet and knit (am in the process of knitting a teeny scarf for my Little One’s baby doll) but I’m also so comfortable in knowing my life is defined by ME – not someone who I have to cook for, to wash their clothes, to listen to when I want to listen to classical music when they want to listen to jazz (Jenn’s dad). I know he went on with his life and it hurt at first. I now realize that was meant to be – we were not meant to spend our lives together. At some point, the crying in the parking lot, the looking for his head in the crowd or finding something he accidently left behind – that will fade into the good memories you will sit remembering when you sit at night with the dogs and your cup of tea and peace of your home.
    I send you hugs and love from the other side of the ocean, we may be far apart but in spirit we live next to each other’s heart.

  4. The more you post and blog, I think you will feel it is making a difference. Your own personal space, where you know that the people who come here have probably been coming here for years and support you through the interweb ether.

  5. Lucy @ Smallest Smallholding

    Perhaps the feeling better part is just realisation that you are free to pursue a new path, and that life is full of exciting possibilities 🙂

  6. Keep sharing your story with us. I always think that it feels good to let it all out. Life’s a work in progress. Your feelings for Danny will probably swing back and forth for a while. Don’t feel bad when you want to hit him over the head with the teapot! Hehe!

    He might still end up saying things that are hurtful. If he does it is probably not intentional but rather careless. I would not be able to stay in contact with an ex but maybe it’s a good thing that you do. You never know what kind of emergencies arise in life, and it’s good to have somebody who can be there in whatever shape or form.

    I hope that the coming spring and all the budding that comes along with it gives you the “umphf” to feel totally upbeat and ready to tackle anything!!

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