The Cottage Smallholder

stumbling self sufficiency in a small space

BBC Radio Cambridgeshire interviews Cottage Smallholder

pear on treeSara Varey, a broadcast journalist for BBC Radio Cambridgeshire, invited me to do an interview for their Good Food fortnight.

I was really chuffed. I emailed her to find out what she wanted to talk about specifically. The topics she wanted to cover included the blog and why I had started it as well as my smallholding. My blood ran dim. We might be called The Cottage Smallholder but we are not proper welly wearing, sheep shearing rural folk. An email flew instantly back, informing her that we only have a third of an acre, keep chickens and bees, make wine and grow veg. The response was positive.

Sara arrived on Monday and when she stepped through the front door I realised that the interview was going to be fun. The Min Pins liked her. They only yapped for a few ear piercing minutes. All was well until I was filling the teapot and she produced various components from her bag that snapped together to make up a large microphone. Suddenly I began to feel a bit nervous.

We briefly sipped tea and then, leaving the microphone on the table, ranged into the garden to rehearse. Clearly an expert at making people relax, Sara, worked out a trail through the garden. She focussed on two things, what we would talk about and the sound effects. She explained that the latter were vital to set the scene. It was fun working out the extraneous sounds; the clangy lid on the grain bin, clicking open the gate to the kitchen garden and the enthusiastic cries of the keets when deluxe parrot food and swiss chard scraps were scattered in the run. As it was breezy, we talked with the background noise of the wind in the trees.

When we started recording at the kitchen table I felt a bit tongue tied but when we stepped out of the back door and focussed on the garden it was instantly fun again.

This six minute interview is being broadcast Thursday, September 27th on Sue Dugan in the Afternoon at round 3.30 pm . You can listen live to BBC Radio Cambridgesire from all over the UK through their website. If you missed it you can listen to the interview here.

I am also appearing on “Britain’s Best Dish”, ITV1 on Tuesday, October 2nd, 5pm, cooking my pot roast pheasant (gypsy style) . You may get a glimpse of Danny too as he was holding my story boards on the audition!

  Leave a reply


  1. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Jan,

    Hopefully the interview will be up on this site soon.

  2. Bugger. I didn’t read this till 11.05pm on September 28th.


  3. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Amanda,

    Thanks for listening in, it was fun doing the interview.

    Hi KJ,

    They are going to send me a copy of the interview to put on the site.

    Hi Tonya,

    Got the month wrong in all the excitement!

    Hi Sara,

    Thanks for listening in. Of course you and the keets got a mention, everyone loves hearing about the interblog breeding event. I just wish that I had referred to you by name. Sorry.

    Hi Pat,

    Thanks. It was a great experience and I enjoyed it enormously.

  4. Ohhhhhhhh Fiona!!!! That is sooooooo Cool!!!! Well done you!!!!

  5. farmingfriends

    Hi Fiona, back again – just listened to the radio broadcast and it was so interesting. From the photographs on your site, I felt I could picture your walk through the garden. It was interesting that so many aspects of your garden and animals were mentioned and wow the keets and I got a mention too, thank you. This has made my afternoon.
    Best Wishes
    Sara from farmingfriends

  6. farmingfriends

    Hi Fiona, Congratulations, like Amanda I am listening right now and ready to hear your radio broadcast. How exciting. I will also be watching in October. Well Done.
    Sara from farmingfriends

  7. I’ve got Radio Cambridgeshire playing as I type Fiona!

    For those who miss it today there is also a listen again facility, it’s the button next to listen live. This should let you listen to the show again.

  8. Hi Fiona you said This six minute interview is being broadcast Thursday, August 27th on Sue Dugan in the Afternoon at round 3.30 pm .

    Assume you mean today, Sept 27th?

  9. Wel that’s just exciting. I’m sorry I will miss here on the other side of the world.

  10. Fame at last! I’ll have a house full but will try and listen this afternoon. Well done Fiona, it all sounds like huge fun! Can’t wait to see you on TV too.

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