The Cottage Smallholder

stumbling self sufficiency in a small space

Tagged by Sally

fry up forkfullI was tagged for a meme yesterday by Sally who writes the Casalba News blog. This is a great new blog, beautifully written and like the five blogs that I’ve tagged at the end of this post well worth a visit.

I am publishing a photo of my last mouthful of our breakfast this morning. Sally is married to an Italian and living in Italy. She might sometimes miss the naughty breakfasts that the British like to indulge in every now and then. Yes, it is fried bread crisped in the fat of home cured bacon… Heaven.

What I was doing 10 years ago:
I was a computer animator, owned by a small black dog, and working out of a studio in Wardour Street.

And then I met Danny.

On my to-do list today:
Sleep in late and take my mum shopping. Make some veggie dishes (they take ages and need to be prepared in advance for tight weeknight schedules). Not answer the telephone. Having visited Fred Fitzpatrick’s (the best butcher in Newmarket) and talked about The Salami Project, research the ingredients and make a list for my return to Fred’s shop on Monday. All cheap cuts are available on a Monday as this is the key butchering day. Ignore telephone. Sort out my seeds. Clear the weed from the pond. Mend the greenhouse door (a panel smashed in the storms). Find the chain saw and deal with the fallen poplar tree that is lounging on top of our favourite apple tree. Ignore the phone. Secure the fences that were battered by the high winds. Deliver frogspawn to a home that needs more frog companions in their garden. Clean out the hen house and make supper. Fall asleep in bed with D rather than curled around a warm laptop.

Snacks I enjoy:
I don’t tend to snack but I do have a weakness for Hula Hoops at 7 in the evening when I am supplementing the weekly shop.

Things I would you do if I was a Billionaire:
Support the people who are starving and living in poverty without hope. Look at ways of helping the older generation that does not entail herding them together in large groups and treating them like half wits.

Three of my bad habits:
Being a bit too optimistic about how long an hour actually lasts
Putting things off until tomorrow
Forgetting to stop and enjoy the moment

Five places I have lived:
Torquay, UK pre Fawlty Towers
Hull, UK
Ascot, UK
North Tawton, UK

Five jobs I have had:
Wooden toymaker
Craft instructor
Independent publisher’s assistant

And finally…five people who write interesting blogs that I’d like to tag (in no order of preference):
KJ at A Cracking Good Egg
Jo at LittleFfarm Dairy
Joanna at Joanna’s Food
Plumsource at Family Shenanigans
Richard at Not a Proper Farmer

  Leave a reply


  1. Mildred

    Hello Fi, thanks for introducing us to all these wonderful, diverse Blogs through the pages of YOUR Blog. It really is uplifting to read so many well written articles, stories and recipes.

    Thank you ALL! Mildred

  2. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Louisa

    Thank you so much for the award! Much appreciated.

    Hi Sally

    My first frogspawn came from London and now the annual bacchanal produces lots to give away! Eccentric? Moi?

    Hi Kate(uk)

    What a great story!

    We have far more frogs than toads now although there were only toads in the garden when I first arrived “ now I see why!

    Hi KJ

    There is no need to answer a meme quickly!

    The bacon is yummy.

    Hi Plumsource

    We loved the story about the farmer collecting his lost lambs!

    Interesting that we pounded the same streets in London. Seems light years away now.

    Hi Jo

    Poor you. That fluid sounds nasty and the last thing that you need at the moment is to hurt your hands.

    Twin kids “ how exciting. Hope that you get a decent proportion of females this time.

  3. Jo @ LittleFfarm Dairy

    Hi Fiona –

    many thanks for the tag, I’ve not done one of these before! And so glad you enjoy my Blog; I always look forward to reading yours.

    It’s been a hectic day with two sets of twin kids born – so lots of extra work prepping pens etc. And I took a layer of skin off my hands when I managed to drop the huge container of milking machine cleaning fluid, which I discovered is not only highly corrosive to metals, it is to me as well! So a bit sore to type too much – plus knackered, & awaiting at least another set of kids during the night as one of the girls was looking particularly thoughtful…makes for an interesting ‘To Do’ list, mind you!

    Best wishes –

    Jo & LittleFfarm Dairy menagerie. x

  4. plumsource

    Wow! I had no idea what tagging or memes even were but now I’ve researched it and see that loads of new people have peeked at my little blog as a result of your link, I must say THANK YOU TO YOU!

    I’m glad you like dropping in at my place – v flattering. Interesting that you were in wardour street, I was media type in the smoke too. Couldn’t be further away now eh?

    Thanks again x

  5. Hi Fiona, thanks for the tag. I will answer soon, hopefully.

    Your bacon sounds absolutely wonderful. I am totally jealous.

  6. Kate(uk)

    In Holland we had lots of toads in the garden.The gardens were closed in by the block of tall houses so any toads in the garden were trapped in that particular block of gardens. My toads hopped. Over the road my gardening friend also had toads, hers marooned likewise. Her toads didn’t hop, they just walked. So, every spring we did a toadspawn swap in the interests of expanding the toad gene pool.Every year my toadpoles flourished in her pond, every year her toadpoles disappeared in mine, as did all the other toadpoles and my toad population remained pretty constant. Early one morning I opened the bedroom window and looked down on the garden, there was the enormous lady toad who lived near the back door edging her way into the pond up the little ramp I had placed there for the purpose. She lowered herself gently into the pond, the next morning she was there again and as I watched through my birdwatching binoculars, I realised she was breakfasting on toadspawn and toadpoles.Mystery solved…she was HUGE.After that,the spring toad spawn traffic became oneway to save the babies from their voracious mother!

  7. Thank you for the nice comments, Fiona.

    My, you do have a busy day.

    Just love it that you also have to fit in delivering frogspawn. (Only in the UK – no wonder we’ve got a reputation for being eccentric. Let’s try to keep it that way: “Frogs before fashion”. That’s what I say.)

  8. Louisa

    Hi Fiona, I’ve got an award for you, over at my blog…..

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