The Cottage Smallholder

stumbling self sufficiency in a small space

Preparing for a gap between cars


Photo: Romanesco cauilflower - we'll be growing these next year

Photo: Romanesco cauilflower - we'll be growing these next year

We discovered this week that Danny’s company car is being replaced by a monthly car allowance. Panic. The car goes on Tuesday. Paying the tax will go on for another year as it was paid a year in arrears. Grrr.

“Why don’t we get Jalopy repaired? She might be old but she’s a good car.”
“I only get the car allowance if the car is suitable for carrying clients.”
During a really hot summer a couple of cans of paint exploded in Jalopy’s interior giving an interesting patina to the roof and seats. And of course there’s the creeping rust and noisy exhaust system.

We’ll find a car but it might take some time. So I’ve been stockpiling heavy stuff that can’t be delivered. Chicken food, crates of diabetic dog food, compost and so on. We can use online shopping for the bulky supermarket shopping and of course there’s the village shop. Luckily we still have loads of vegetables in the garden, dehydrated fruit and vegetables, bottled fruit and tomatoes and a freezer packed with meat. So we’re reasonably self sufficient on that front. Suddenly all this beavering away – growing and storing produce has proved to be so worthwhile.

There is one return bus on four days from the village to Newmarket – with a two and a half hour gap to potter in the town.

I’m so pleased that I have the bike – now with a really comfortable gel seat that I got quite cheaply on Amazon. It has good lights and is all set to go. Now’s the time to invest in a bike trailer I reckon as most emergencies seem to be dog shaped. I wonder what the Min Pins will think of this chariot?

These are going to be interesting times.

I haven’t posted a mouse count for some time as they were proving very hard to trap. Last night I decided to start our Annual Christmas Mouse Sweep. Trapped 12 (!) between midnight and eight o’clock this morning. During the relocation mission one teeny tiny mouse escaped through a vent in the trap and made a daring leap into the foot well of the car and vanished. I did search for this valiant beast – but without success. So on Tuesday the car will leave with one small invisible passenger aboard. Brave and looking for new adventures.

As animal lover Danny pointed out this evening.

“He will be fine eating my cheese and onion crisp flakes and will be able to creep inside your sheepskin gloves if it snows tonight. And the apples that you left on the front seat will give him a drink if he’s thirsty.”

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  1. Mice in cars are not good news so get it back to the company ASAP. One of the little furries ate through the wire to my fuel pump a few years ago resulting in dead car and very large bill as the garage had to strip out the interior to find the break in the wire.

  2. don’t know if this link helps about your car tax – I may have misunderstood …
    (came to your blog from Celia)

  3. We are currently down to one car, and a big challenge it is too – so no car looks pretty brave to me!
    I didn’t realise one of your dogs was diabetic, our sheepdog has just been diagnosed, and has just started insulin shots.
    We’re not troubled by mice any more, since we have two industrious cats on staff. Rats are a different matter. Last week we had one joyfully playing in the back garden. Ugh!

  4. One might almost think that you and the mouse were in cahoots! Reluctantly returning a company car with a resident mouse is so much more original than peeing in the air vents. I have heard about this happening but as I have never had – nor am I ever likely to have – a company car, I had no idea that people stooped to such behaviour!

  5. Tamar@StarvingofftheLand

    I love the idea of returning a company car with a mouse in it. You’ll be sending a memento of your rusticity on to the next company man. Well done.

  6. Joanna Cary

    Hi Fiona
    Sorry to hear about the car. We had car dramas this summer, and bought one at the auction. You can get a real bargain if you don’t want the things everyone wants – buyers cluster round the kinds of cars youngsters want, ie small engine superminis, the kinds of cars families want, ie estates, and, sad to report, round here, the kind of swank cars we all love to hate. But while we were hanging about getting our eye in, and waiting for the cars we’d identified to come up, we noticed that a lot of good clean saloons were going for much much less … and if Danny’s getting a car allowance, that might go some way towards paying the probably slightly higher insurance and petrol. Rather to my surprise, I really recommend going to an auction for a car …. it’s nothing like as scary as you’d expect (although we did go once just to look,before taking the plunge on a second trip, and then worrying the whole way home that we’d bought a dud …. it turned out that the semi-professional buyers didn’t want to be bothered putting in a radio, or – and this is a hot tip – buying a car whose tax had run out, because there’s extra admin involved, which took us about a month to finally resolve. But the car cost less than half what we would have paid if we’d bought it through the small ads, and it’s a gem

    Good luck

  7. Nice to know that I’m not the only softie in this world, Danny!

  8. I’ve wanted a trailer for the last 2 years, but the big one I wanted was much too expensive, so I checked the net regularly for a secondhand one. During summer one day I noticed a trailer had been thrown out at work, and it was a HUGE trailer, so I hooked it up to my bike on the way home, having asked the security guard if it was OK I took it. It needed mending, and now I haul all my garden waste to the recycle center, I’m going to sew a new rain cover for it, I can’t believe I was so lucky, because I would never have dreamt of buying one this big, it is so practical, I can haul 100 kilos (if I ever have to, I’m so glad the Copenhagen area is flat!!!)

  9. Can you guys use the car allowance for a leased or rented vehicle? Here in the states we have Zipcar, which is a shared use vehicle company.

    Hope you guys get it all figured out soon and comfortably.

  10. What you really need Fiona is one of these, one of these sufficed for us for three years in Denmark in a carless household. We still have ours but I am afraid it is down in the basement as we have no where to put it where we can easily get it out.

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