The Cottage Smallholder

stumbling self sufficiency in a small space



Photo: Another photo of the lerder. The mole is third along, second shelf up

Photo: Another photo of the larder. The mole is third along, second shelf up

Kooky girl from Always Tri-ing My Best tagged me yesterday. Tagging other bloggers is fun as you can find out more about a blogger and also be introduced to new blogs.

The rules are that you answer the eight questions posed to you and then you send your own eight questions to eight other bloggers of your choice.
1) What do you most enjoy about blogging ?
I love writing and being read. Blogging has opened up the world for me and has taught me so much about life. So it’s the two way communication that I enjoy most – sharing ideas and being part of a community. I also enjoy visiting our forum but as waking time is limited the blog itself has to be my core activity.

2) What is your personal achievement or moment that sticks in your mind and why?
Winning the English essay prize at school. It was a story that totally consumed me as I wrote it, for the first time I experienced living in the world of imagination through writing.

3) What is your favourite party drink?
Champagne or light chilled beer (out of the bottle preferably).

4) If you could go on holiday tomorrow, where would you go ?
The Shetland Islands where my paternal grandmother was born. I’ve never been there and am curious to see what it is like. Sometimes when things are getting me down, I have a yen to relocate there. But not having ever even visited – this is crazy. I feel very drawn to Scots people that I’ve met over the years.

5) What is the most unusual ingredient in your store cupboard right now?
Well it has to be pine needle vinegar and if I’m allowed to add another – Dona Maria Mole (a Mexican condiment) donated by an American client who was moving back home. It has stood bravely on our larder shelves for ages but I have never had the nerve to try it.

6) What do you do in your ‘free’ time?
Having had to stop working for the last 14 months or so with this ME type condition all my time in and out of bed is ‘free’ time in a way. Yes I’m working like mad on building lots of different streams of income but it doesn’t feel like work in the traditional sense as these are all things that I would normally do in a small way in my free time.  I suppose that the only thing that I do that is totally for me is develop my spiritual side. This does have a beneficial affect on my life, and my ‘work’ although I tend not to talk about it. I’ve realised when I don’t look after my spiritual side, my life seems to get very bumpy. This has been an ongoing interest for most of my life.

7) What is the name of the last restaurant you went to?
The Phoenix in Histon – a Chinese restaurant that can be excellent or so-so. The last visit got the thumbs up from us both.

8) What is your favourite style of cooking to eat out (rather than cook yourself) ?
Really good traditional Indian food. We ate in a wonderful Indian restaurant years ago (when I was a computer animator in London) and it was the most incredible meal that I have ever eaten.  We returned a few years later – driving down to London (a 140 mile round trip) and it had vanished. Recently I discovered that it had burnt down (twice) and is called The Red Fort and is now in Dean Street when it was recently reviewed in The Independent on Sunday. It’s my dream to visit it again when we have funds for a London trip. Truly exceptional.

My questions are:

What have you learnt from blogging?
What was your proudest moment and why?
What is the naughtiest thing that you have ever done?
Who or what populates your nightmares?
Do you have “me time”. If so what do you do and why?
The one food or ingredient that you fret about running out and why?
The best book that you have read in the last five years and why?
If you could erase a person/experience/mistake from your life who/what would it be and why?

The eight bloggers that I’m tagging are listed below in random order:

Weeding for Godot

Starving off the Land

Turn to the Music

Hedgerow Ways and Fireside Days


The Journey

Very Berry Handmade

My Green Wellies

Please leave a comment on my blog of you’d like to play!

  Leave a reply


  1. Maggie L.

    HI, I have enjoyed visiting your site for months now and am delightd to read you have Shetland connections! As a born and bred Shetlander I can confirm it is one of the most beautiful places to live, and is not actually anything like mainland Scotland or other Scottish islands. Come and visit quickly before the wonderful wilderness of these small islands is destroyed by the biggest industrial windfarm in Europe.

  2. Ali at Very Berry

    Absolutely I’ll join in! I’ll answer all your very interesting questions tomorrow. I love Indian food too – one of the things that me and my husband miss most about living in London are the amazing authentic Indian restaurants – especially the south Indian ones in Tooting… Mmmmmm! Thanks for the recommendation of the Red Fort – sounds really interesting.

  3. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Jackie

    Thanks for joining in!

    Hi Kooky Girl

    Thanks for inviting me “ I haven™t done a meme for ages and I enjoyed it.

    Hi Casalba

    I™ve had quite a few lives, this time around! I do envy your trips to the Outer Hebrides. I went to Edinburgh for the day once and loved it.

    Hi Paula

    Great to read your responses. We were giggling over your beer drinking escapades.
    Can™t wait to read your book review.

    Hi Tamar

    I™m amazed that you have never been naughty! But I suppose it depends on how you define naughty¦

    Thanks for accepting the spirit of the challenge.

    Hi Natasha

    Yes the price of the gin and tonics astonished me too. When we went it was quite expensive but worth it. The food was superb. We drank soft drinks “ mine was striped all the way up the glass and quite delicious.

    London is expensive which is one of the reasons that we decided to move permanently to the country.

    Hi Amy

    I enjoy your blog and your writing. It™s a real breath of fresh air.

    Thanks so much for the tip on osteopathy – I’ll check it out.

  4. Thank you so much for tagging me! I’m really quite new to this whole blogging world. For years I wrote a friends-only blog on LiveJournal and met a lot of great people through that. Mostly I’ve been reading other people’s blogs.

    I didn’t know you had an ME-type illness. I have two friends who had ME a few years ago. It sounds awful. They found that osteopathy helped. 🙂

  5. Blimey – £16.95 for 2 Gin and Tonics!!! Plus 13% service charge!! I don’t regret leaving London at all….

  6. Tamar@StarvingofftheLand

    Tag, I’m it!

    Funny how this post brings out what is, for me, a fundamental conundrum of blogging. I find it fascinating to read about other people’s hopes and fears, likes and dislikes, pets and peeves, but I am convinced, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that absolutely nobody is interested in mine.

    Maybe it’s because the answer to your third question — what’s the naughtiest thing I’ve ever done — is that I have never, in my entire life, done anything remotely naughty. I’m the goodiest two-shoes that ever was, and everything that goes on below the surface is deadly dull.

    So here’s what I’m going to do. Instead of answering each question literally, I’m going to accept the spirit of this challenge, and try to incorporate more of those kinds of things in my day-to-day blogging.

    Maybe I’ll even get to that person/mistake I’d like to erase from my life, but it’ll take me some time to work up the nerve!

    Thanks, Fiona!

  7. Hi Fiona! While I’m flattered that you want to know more about me, one of the things I enjoy most about blogging is that it’s a great way to connect with like-minded people, but it’s not social networking per se. I used to have a Facebook page but abandoned doing that because I didn’t want to do all that tagging and playing games and whatnot, and also because I didn’t like the direction in which it was going. Then I found blogging, and I enjoy it much more. I’m happy to answer the questions, but please don’t be hurt that I don’t want to pass on the tag. I think my proudest moment was last week during my visit from my mother- I was expecting the usual criticism and she praised everything I’ve done with this place instead. That felt pretty good. Goodness! The naughtiest thing? I’ve had way too many to list, but I will cop to stealing beer from my dad’s pony keg when I was five or six. He stopped buying them because he couldn’t figure out why his beer wasn’t lasting as long as it should. I don’t have nightmares anymore, thank God. You could ask what am I doing up at three in the morning…Steve snores, what can I say? Being unemployed, I have ‘me’ time all the time. I’m usually blogging or catching up on my reading. Does Scotch count as food? I fret about running out of that. I am currently reading the best book in five years and when I’m done with it, I’m going to give it a full blown review on my blog. It has to do with gardening for uncertain times, which is exactly why I garden. That last one’s a humdinger, Fiona. I have a LOT of regrets, but I think the things I’d like to erase was every single thing that came out of my mouth that has either hurt someone else, or hurt me because of the door it closed to me. Unfortunately, there were a lot of those….

  8. How many lives have you had? Great answers and great questions to pass on also. Never been to the Shetlands, but took a tour of the Outer Hebrides. Stunning and the people were absolutely lovely. Returned to holiday in Scotland several times after that and never once was disappointed.

  9. Kooky Girl

    I’m so pleased you took part !! Thank you. Your answers are awesome. Pine needle vinegar..?? That definitely hits the spot for bizarre ingredient as does your mole spice. And I will have to look up that Indian restaurant when I next get to eat out in London. Thank you ! KG

  10. OK I’ll give it a go!

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