The Cottage Smallholder


stumbling self sufficiency in a small space

Working hard on the cottage

Slave Sis has been staying for about ten days now. All of the major work has been completed – it’s just the tweakings. However these have thrown up problems here and there.


The main one being that we just don’t have the physical energy that we had ten years ago, when we tackled similar edifaces with verve and aplomb.


We have Pal Builder on hand, who can swish in and solve everything. But I still like to tackle things myself even though every now and then I have a crisis of confidence and have to ask about a job that I’ve happily completed many times before over the years. He pauses, considers as he looks up from the job that he is doing – and is always patient and polite.


Today I completed the tiling in the kitchen. These are just upstands that basically finish off the Expensive German Worktops. The kitchen paint is Dulux Diamond Eggshell that can cope with kitchen splashes. Even if Slave Sis goes mad with the felt tips on the walls, these can be wiped away with ease apparently.


The splashback for the cooker – clear toughened heatproof glass – was ordered today and will arrive mid June. Just before I plan to put the cottage on the market. Hopefully Pal Builder will be free to fit it.


Meanwhile we work on. Up at eight in the morning and often in bed by nine in the evening.


With these final tweaks, the cottage is finally transforming into a beautiful, peaceful oasis that will be hard to leave.


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8 Comments

  1. Steve Kendall

    My heart sank when I read the words “put the cottage on the market”, felt very sad for you. Our cottage too will become my wife’s pension after I’ve gone. Like you we’ve put so much in to it over twenty years that we’ve been here, and I hope we don’t have to sell in my lifetime. Although it’s clearly a great wrench for you, you have your eyes on a good future. I wish you all the best.

  2. Veronica

    Oh … only just found this! What a wrench to leave your beautiful cottage, I hope whoever moves in loves it as much as you do. Iy’s such a special place. I’m sure it makes sense to move somewhere smaller, I do hope you find a lovely little house.

    • Fiona Nevile

      Dear Veronica, So good to hear from you. I’d love to hear all your news – I often think about you and wonder how it’s going for you both… Yes, it’s tough to be moving on but sadly I don’t have the energy to attend to the garden well anymore and I need to move to a smaller place, nearer to my sister who lives on the Isle of Wight. Living in a grade 2 listed house is a constant project, and rather expensive. Moving is a bit scary as I am happily rooted here and never dreamt of leaving but I do know that things always seem to fall into place eventually. I’m looking at the mainland, within easy reach of Chichester as this seems to be a good hub for the arts. The cottage is now transformed into the place that I would have loved to move into all those years ago. Dry and stable with mature gardens and large pond. As you know, owning a place means nothing, enhancing that space means so many more generations can enjoy it. When I want to run screaming into the wind, I try to remember that… a few days ago I discovered baby toads by the pond and was thrilled. Toads haven’t been seen here for 27 years :0) So delighted that I saw them before I left!

      • Veronica

        We are still happily settled in our little house in France, but have taken to spending a few months in Spain in the winter. At first we tried different regions, but now we’ve found a small town on the coast not far from Malaga that we like and have made friends there, so we have a second life 🙂

  3. It must be very hard to do all this work, only to leave it behind.

    • Fiona Nevile

      Yes, you are right. I am finding it hard. Having borrowed and invested in all the repairs I now have the cottage that I always wanted. It’s a joy to live in although I’ve always loved the cottage and feel absolutely at home here.

      However, this cottage is my pension – having been stupid not investing in a private pension or even the state pension much :0( I’m very lucky to have this wonderful home. I know that I will find a tiny house that I will be happy in, nearer my sister and down south. It’s a wrench but I have to put that aside and just get on with it.

      I’ve been so lucky to live here for over 30 years and hopefully the buyers will bloom here too. It’s a magical and very peaceful place.

  4. Kimberly Davis

    Remember to eat and hydrate. There are seasons in our lives, so look forward to the next wind of change

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