The Cottage Smallholder

stumbling self sufficiency in a small space

Duck pond drama

I‘m back. Broadcasting from Danny’s laptop. First of all a huge thank you for Danny taking up the blogging reins – I really enjoyed his posts and his meals and the endless cups of tea.

There is no photo as D’s laptop doesn’t have the upload software. So you have to just imagine these scenes. The best photos of course.

My slimline wide screen friend is waiting in A&E at the Newmarket Computer Company. She will be examined tomorrow and a prognosis delivered to my phone.

Hopefully she will be fixed by an outpatient procedure rather than an extensive operation and a session in Intensive Care waiting for parts.

I feel bereft without her. She is my best friend and confidante. So wise that she can point me to any fact that I need to know. With her beside me I keep up to date with the latest breaking news, the weather forecasts (vital if I’m working outside) and the joy of receiving and answering emails. Despite enjoying D’s posts but have missed writing my own. Suddenly dumb I longed to put fingertips to keyboard.

Danny has lent me his laptop for the time that it takes him to cook supper – fish pie, French beans and carrots. So it will be just this post and the answers to few urgent comments. Emails will be answered when my old pal recovers or is replaced. Many apologies.

I’ve finally finished (almost!) my work on the big estate. I’m now happily up a ladder in a nearby village where I used to live once upon a time, working on a lovely old cottage beside the village pond. I’ve been painting windows which reflect the pond view perfectly – with me wearing a sunhat and holding a brush in the foreground. Unlike The Lady of Shallot, I can turn and look at the real thing.

Yesterday, nine House Martins put on a spectacular air show for a good 20 minutes. Curling and swooping to snatch a glide through the water and catch the mosquitoes that dance just above the surface. A duck and two young daughters dived for fish, the strong ripples eventually combining into a mirrored surface when they hopped onto the bank and the sun. 

The panicky cry of a Moorhen drew my attention this afternoon. Four teeny fluffy babies had hatched and ventured into the middle of the pond. She called for several minutes until all four had returned reluctantly to the protection of the reeds. Then mother hen proceeded to swim up and down the large pond checking for predators, her head bobbing in time with her strong feet.

This evening there was a meeting beside the pond. I recognised some local County Councillors ( as a decorator I get to know local people). The rest of the group were probably Parish Councillors. There are plans to restore the pond to its former glory. When I lived in the village 20 years ago someone vandalised the clay lining of the pond and removed all the ducks one fateful night.

Let’s hope that they spotted the Moorhen babies and will allow them grow up before they start the work. I think that I’ll make a phone call just in case.

  Leave a reply


  1. Fiona Nevile

    Hello James

    Thanks for dropping by. Yes, I’m much better!Spent Friday crawling over the roof at the back of number 19.

    Love your paintings. Always a joy.

    Thanks for the tip about the clipboard brigade.

  2. Glad your well’er, Elder cordial will set you fare, I saw you up the ladder at number 19, (I live a stone throw away) windows look lovely. I was off for a juant on my bike around the local lanes. The clipboard brigade are looking to chop down the ponds giant of a willow, the trunk has a big split in it, keep up the good work.

  3. kate (uk)

    Good to know you are back on form Fiona.

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