The Cottage Smallholder

stumbling self sufficiency in a small space

I’ve been tagged

I?ve been tagged by Lobstersquad for a meme in which the victim recounts what?s been going on in their life in leaps of five years (the years ending in 2 and 7). Also what they were eating at the time. Never mysterious in real life, I always hoped that this blog would adjust the balance. This plot has clearly failed.

I was born mid September 1953

1957. I was four, living in Cambridge and still avoiding school. My birthday fell after the start of the Autumn term so I was not allowed to attend as I was a few days under four years old. We used to rush across Jesus Green to Park Street Primary school to drop off my sister and brother, with me in the pushchair. This was a glorious year, playing with my sister’s best toys whilst she was at school. Puntuated with a short break for ‘Listen with Mother’ on the radio – “Are you sitting comfortably? Then I’ll begin.” My Mother was a reluctant cook. Can remember being sent to be early for refusing to eat rice pudding. Enjoyed liquorice sweets and ice cream.

1962. Nine now. My mother had remarried and the family had moved to Devon. I left behind my best friend, Twink, and we had to shelve our plans to become acrobatic missionaries in the jungle. We had spent hours doing press-ups and balancing on the ridges of roofs, practicing for our eventual assigments. Especially drawn to Chocolate Carnival ice cream and bubble gum.

Now I was living in sight of the sea. I attended the Marist Convent Preparatory School and I toyed with the idea of becoming a nun. I spent weeks with my cardigan draped over my head as a veil, hoping to find a vocation. Now saved my pocket money for orange ice lollies and sherbet dabs. Home cooking was unusual; brains in tinned mulligatawny soup was a memorable surprise.

1967. Fourteen. Not a happy time. Spots and boarding school. Pulled the buttons off my overcoat for the church collection to make a rattle, saving my coins to have cash for sweets (addicted to wine gums). Poor old Cannon Morcambe would totter up the mile long dive to return this flotsam and jetsam. They were laid out on a tray for an hour to enable secret retrival. Heavily disguised, I’d collect my button for the next Sunday. Enjoyed salted beef and mashed potato.

1972. Nineteen. First year at university (Hull, English and Drama). Discovered that it’s much colder north of Cambridge. Hull is well known for its fish and chips. The first step on the gourmet ladder – shall we buy Betty’s or Bobby’s chips?

1977 Twenty four. Living in London. Moved into a prime location flat in London’s Chelsea in exchange for my non-existent cooking skills (a steep learning curve here). During the day I was an instructor in a Day Centre for mentally ill adults – art, music, photography and a visit to the cinema every Wednesday afternoon. Saw some seriously inappropriate movies such as The Omen. Every evening I returned to Chelsea to cook uninspiring meals. Thank God for the happy glug of wine.

1982 Twenty nine. Had bought my first flat in Clapham, London (my aunt died and left me the deposit). I set up a handmade wooden toy company with my sister. Our main outlet was the Covent Garden Craft Market. Won a Design Centre award for a range of pull along toys. Decided to move to the country – bigger, cheaper workshop. Addicted to The Archers (radio show). Perhaps I might meet someone meaningful if I packed my fretsaw and left the city. Macaroni cheese was a favourite at this time.

1987 Thirty four. Having gone blonde at thirty, life was suddenly sparkling. Living in the country (Fordham, with my sister). Down to London twice a week, to sell the toys. Pear drops and roast chicken on Sunday.

1992 Thirty nine. Got married in 1990. It didn’t work out so I was happily divorced this year. Another aunt died and unexpectedly left me the funds to retrain and move to this cottage. Always interested in animation and thinking that I should learn how to use a computer, Signed up for a computer animation course (why not learn both skills simultaneously). This was an ultra near-death learning curve. Back to a diet of sandwiches and coffee.

1997 Forty four. An established computer animator with a London office in Wardour Street. Two high end custom built computers and a sleeping bag. Tough, exciting. Sandwiches and wall to wall work. For the first time in my life I didn’t worry about the electricity bill, just worried if I’d remember or have the time to pay it. Met Danny and suddenly the 16 hour a day animation business wasn’t an option any more. We started cooking together and a passion was born.

2002 Forty nine. Finally had got into making tasty food. Living with someone who loves eating (first) and loves experimenting with recipes (second). We take turns to cook and an element of competition whips us on to keep on improving our recipes. Briefly flirted with a normal job. Loved the paid holidays, travel allowance and sick pay. Hated the office politics and the mini work ethic. Was finally eating what my mother would describe as “proper meals.” We were cocentrating on classic dishes. I was more drawn to lighter stuff and was really enjoying Craster Kippers for breakfast on a Sunday.

2007 Fifty three and a half. Poser and blogger. Fill my days decorating houses. Also grow vegetables and soft fruit, cuddle Danny, host chickens, bees and fish. Play with Min Pins, make wine, design the occasional website and eat well. We have fun cooking, playing with flavours and developing our own recipes. Favourite lunch time snack, organic egg mayonaise sandwiches from our own chickens. Favourite dish is our slow cooked steak and kidney pie.

I don’t know five people with food blogs that haven’t already been tagged so my victims are just two people for this meme. I hope they don’t mind:


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