The Cottage Smallholder

stumbling self sufficiency in a small space

Peace and or conflict: I‘ve realised that it’s down to me

The cat that probably has the upper hand

The cat that probably has the upper hand

We still haven’t switched our rooms. The blocker on progress is down to me. I just have too much stuff in my areas for Danny to move any of his things into my ‘old’ space at present.

The situation reminds me of a toy that I used to love when I was little. It was a square plastic frame filled with individual plastic tiles. On each tile there was a letter. There was one square left without a tile. The idea was to manoeuvre the letters around, using the free space to create a word. Back then it took me ages. It probably would take the same time now if I continue using the kitchen table as my desk.

Yes, there’s very little free space in my present ‘grid’. There were vague plans afoot to shift stuff that I no longer need. Piles of books have been earmarked for the Church Fête. Other mountains have been sorted into, Perhaps, Maybe, Keep and this is a bit of a first for me – Rubbish.

The Rubbish pile is just unwanted papers. But the rest is Keep – well I am the girl who made a fruit cage out of inherited giant 6’ 6”stair rods after all! They had festered in the barn for 10 years and suddenly sprang into action when my hand met old forged iron.

The other problem is that I’m busy at the moment. Immersing myself in my new project, also concerned with sowing seeds and all those early summer activities that I always forget over the winter. I’m juggling projects and to be quite honest with you, today I realised that I needed a bit more focus and proper planning. I’m managing to shoot myself in the foot and I don’t even have a gun.

Late this afternoon I sat beside the pond with Inca and Dr Quito. Sorting through my seed boxes and enjoying the sun. A happy domesticated Min Pin and human scene a far cry from earlier in the afternoon.

Back then I’d booked a place on a free webinar at 2 pm. A lot of the best webinars come from the USA and are aired at slightly unsociable times for the UK (i.e. midnight). I just needed one hour with no distractions to concentrate 100%.

In the first five minutes D came down to get a cup of coffee – our kettle announces its presence loudly. Poor D crept out of the room. After a minute the dogs started to bark and the telephone started ringing with a minute’s break between calls. The telephone was tossed into the next door room and the door slammed shut.

Meanwhile Dr Q had inveigled Danny to carry him up to my bed and decided within a few minutes that this was definitely a place that he didn’t want to be. Yap, yap, yap. And simultaneously Inca had got herself trapped between the old broken down fence and the new chicken wire fence on Anne Mary’s side of the garden. I could hear her weeping. The new fence needs to be erected soon.

I flew around the cottage and garden in a rage.
“I’m missing important stuff on the webinar!” Huff Puff. Grrr. “I just have to fix these things soon.”

I settled back in my chair to soak in the webinar.

After half an hour or so there were sounds of a serious conflict just out of sight beside the pond. Inca and an unknown but interesting beast were muscling up. She went on calling.
“This is a monster. I can’t give up.”
The yaps and yelps were clear. Could it be a hedgehog? Min Pins neither like or understand these creatures. I just had to go down.

I shot down the garden and a large tabby cat and Inca careered down the garden. This was a brave cat – she turned on Inca and spat before she climbed over the fence and disappeared with a flick of her tail. Inca was cowed and astonished.

Tomorrow, I will not be studying online. I will be climbing those mountains of Rubbish stuff. There will be a large bonfire in the back garden. And then I’ll be examining the other hills.

If I want peace now I need to create the ideal space for myself quickly. I missed out on valuable information today and I totally blame myself.

The cat card in the photo above just happened to be sent by my mum this morning. Synchronicity or what!


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  1. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Jon

    I appreciate your comment and have thought long and hard about it.

    We are very lucky and I do think that we realise that.

    After nearly three years off ‘regular work’ I’m now very eager to fly the plane rather than being on auto pilot.

    I’m enjoying this new phase but it’s building on what we already have created. I’d like one yard boots if I can’t have the ten league ones 🙂

  2. Fiona Nevile

    Hello Maggenpie

    It’s been an exhausting month! Spent this afternoon steam cleaning the kitchen – my sister is dropping by on Sunday 🙂

    Mess is so easy to accumulate and so hard to get rid of.

  3. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Veronica

    Danny used to be the tidy one now he’s caught the hoarding bug – very virulent in the cottage.

    Once D and my sister got together and ordered the largest skip available to be parked in our drive. They filled it and I emptied it in a trice!

  4. I am under the impression that you are not too happy with your life at the moment, some times it is good to take a step back and appreciate just what we really have and value it before moving on in another direction, Good luck in which way you choose

  5. maggenpie

    Thanks Fiona, reading this today encouraged me to tackle my own piles. Lots more to do but at least it’s a start and so much better than looking at it and thinking “I should…”. Thanks for the nudge and you have my sympathies for the interruptions – it’s always the way, unfortunately. When you get your sanctuary make sure you have a lock on the door and a big “Do Not Disturb” sign!

  6. veronica

    Yes, you are right …. it is really important to clear yourself an uncluttered space where you can concentrate on your project. As another “can’t throw it out” person I sympathise 🙂 Luckily S is the opposite. So the best solution for me is to wait for one of his tidying frenzies and then leave the house so I don’t see what he’s throwing out 🙂

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