The Cottage Smallholder

stumbling self sufficiency in a small space

Birthday Treasure Hunt


Photo: Birthday badge discovered by Jean on the clear up

Photo: Birthday badge discovered by Jean on the clear up

Danny usually doesn’t want things for his birthday as he prefers an experience. This could be a party, a trip to the coast, a meal out, even a bottle of whisky. But this year he announced months ago, “I would like a new pair of shoes for my birthday. These ones are worn out.”

So the experience part of his present had to be a bit of a budget affair.

If cash is tight, then a treasure hunt with a prize every two clues or so usually goes down well. I reckon that adults enjoy them even more than children. I’ve never before organised one for Danny so I spent the morning in bed working out the clues. Some very easy, some just easy – it needed to be fun and a bit silly after all. I learnt my lesson once when a past boyfriend couldn’t find the prize in the woodpile and broke down in tears when he discovered that it was just a plastic comb…

I designed D’s hunt so that he had to move about the cottage and garden a lot. The prizes dotted along the way were bought from the village shop and had a chocolate and crisps theme – all time Danny favourites.

By secretly examining the sweet and crisp wrappers stuffed under the car seats, DI Cottage Smallholder had quickly pinpointed his favourite bars: Galaxay, Star Bars, Peanut cups, Tunnock’s Tea Cakes, Lion bars and cheese and onion crisps. Danny tends to eat these treats in the car on the way back from the Newmarket post run.

He also has a fondness for tomatoes plucked and guzzled straight from the vine – this at one time drove me nuts. Where were the salad tomatoes that I had been examining for weeks? But today I was generous – one clue led him to the greenhouse where he was able to sample the first two ripe toms of the season. As if by magic, they just dropped into his hand. Warm and firm and packed with flavour.

Danny will get some shoes when TKMaxx throws up something a little more soft and simple than the eclectic range on sale this morning.

Birthdays are special. They are a celebration of your life so far and, as you get older, there is so much more to look back on and salute. There’s no point in being despondent about the passing years – much better to focus on the achievements that have made your life happier and more rounded and expand on these.

Happy Birthday Danny – let’s hope that all your projects this year will be filled with spontaneous laughter and fun. You deserve it!

  Leave a reply


  1. Claudia

    Its nice to find someone else who knows the value of doing little things to bring pleasure rather than spending loads of money. Hope you have had many more happy birthdays and shoes

  2. Happy Birthday Danny!!! enjoy your treasure hunt… 🙂

  3. Tamar@StarvingofftheLand

    I wanted to say Happy Birthday, but after Jo@LittleFfarm Dairy said Penblywydd Hapus, I think I’ll go with Mazel Tov!

    (An actual boyfriend burst into actual tears because the prize was a comb?? Please tell me you were six.)

  4. Happy Birthday Danny. Hope you enjoyed the treasure with chocolate treats along the way. What a superb idea!

  5. Michelle in NZ

    Belated Happy Birthday, Danny and well done Fiona. What a fun way to celebrate – a treasure hunt all around your home and wonderful garden. Did the Min Pins assist, or merely watch and ponder on what the heck their humans were up to?

    Sending care and huggles, Michelle and Zebbycat, xxx and purrrrumbles

  6. Captain Shagrat

    Happy birthday Danny hope you enjoyed the treasure hunt, what an ingenious wife you have

  7. veronica

    Happy Birthday, Danny! Have a lovely day.

    Fiona, your idea for a budget birthday experience is a lovely one, so imaginative and thoughtful..

  8. Shereen

    Happy birthday, Danny 🙂

  9. Jo@LittleFfarm Dairy

    Penblywydd Hapus, Danny! (That’s “Happy Birthday” in Welsh).

    May your new shoes – when you get them – walk you through a happy, rewarding & enjoyable year ahead: filled with tomatoes, chocolate & crips.

    Best wishes from Jo, Tony & the “Funny Ffarm” menagerie. xx

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