The Cottage Smallholder

stumbling self sufficiency in a small space

Yesterday marked six months of being laid up


Photo: Log fire

Photo: Log fire

It’s been a strange life changing experience. My life was always a rush in the past. It was busy, stressful with very little time to pause and think. I was happy but, looking back now, I realise that I wasn’t content. I was running too hard to keep up.

And keep up with what? I have no idea when I think about it. All I can remember is the pressure.

There are new pressures now. Finding ways of making a living from home is the main one. I had no idea when I doubled the size of the kitchen garden slowly over last summer that I would be planning to sell organic vegetables on our garden gate stand. This isn’t happening just yet but I sowed some strawberry and tomato seeds in my heated propagator yesterday.

The little stand is a great way of testing out the “gateside” market with minimal investment – the run up to Christmas was good. Now it brings in a few quid, mainly at the weekends. I have bought some blank cards to make into Valentine’s and Easter cards for the stand. I’m also making flavoured vinegars – orange and raspberry.

All your ideas, suggestions and support have been brilliant. In fact, writing this blog has kept me sane these past six months. It was easy to find things to write about when I was out and about doing decorating as my environment was changing all the time. Now it’s not so easy but I’m living a simple life, which is what I’ve always wanted to do. Through this simplicity my horizons are expanding rapidly. I now have time to study and research and really explore the world from the confines of my bed.

We have sold a few things to keep going. It was sad to see them go until I realised that they were buying us time.  And time is far more precious than possessions.

I have no idea when I will be 100% fit again but I realise that these last six months have been valuable, as I have been able to set my life to sail in the direction that I choose rather than finding myself bobbing about in a boat without a paddle. Without realising it, I used to allow life to run me. Now I’m at the start of a really big adventure.

  Leave a reply


  1. I am quite new to your blog and I do not know what caused your illess or what form it takes.

    But you touch many people as you can see from the comments and it allows others to be open hearted and connect with each other and their own feelings. Which is priceless.

    Much Love

  2. seahorse

    Having the wisdom to see that life can be lived differently when ill health strikes saves a lot of heartache. It’s natural to grieve for what went before, if it seems like an age since you were living your old life, with your old ways. But I do hope that even through recovery, this spell will have proved useful and enlightening, and not just the huge bore everyone imagines it to be.

  3. Hi Fiona
    I wrote a response but it disappeared. If it shows up please disregard this one.
    I just wanted to say that I relate to what you are going through. After giving birth to my twins 16 years ago, I also fell ill. I had to leave my career behind. It was hard to recreate my life but I had no choice. Before long, I found myself doing what I exploring things that I never had time for in the past. I don’t think that I would call my illness a gift but it was a vehicle that brought me to where I am today, which is happy. I do hope you have a recovery soon and for the record, I appreciate that you have been honest.

  4. Michelle Sheets

    Fiona, did anyone every check your thyroid count?
    Lots of your symptoms sound like mine, and I’m hypothyroid. My issue is my thyroid sitll tries to produce hormone perodically, so I have peaks of energy, and valleys of nothing. My doctor was almost going to give me a fibromialga diagnosis, I get that low.

    Hope you feel better soon, and I’m so glad you have found a silver lining on your cloud.

  5. Thank you, everybody who responded to Fiona’s post. I know for sure that she wanted to post an upbeat report and not a “pity me” article.
    Your suggestions, advice and ideas have been really positive and practical. I know that she will thank you all individually, as usual, but I just want to reinforce the fact that we both do read and take on board every single comment. They are really valuable and so very welcome, encouraging and uplifting.
    Thanks again!

  6. Fiona, I am sure you will eventually turn the corner and be well again, although after 3 years off I did wonder if I would ever be able to work again. I sometimes wonder if that worry held back my recovery too. However, here I am, still going strong after coming up to 6 months back in full time work. In fact I am working more hours now than I ever did although in a much less stressful environment. Like me, whilst not able to do what you did before, you are finding other ways to fill you time and perhaps will never go back to your old life. Life throws up these challenges and then sits back to see how we react. I think the trick is to do what you can, when you can and always be prepared to think outside the box.

  7. Hi Fiona

    I’ve been reading your blog for a year or so now, and do remember reading the first posts when you were struggling with the onset of what seemed like a lingering cold, which lingered just a bit too long, and hoping that you were ok.

    I didn’t post at the time(that stiff upper lip british upbringing again)but I hope you take some comfort from the joy that you bring to your readers; your writing has a serenity and a calm appreciation of the small things in life which makes me take another look at my own rather more urban suuroundings.

    Best wishes

    Kate x

  8. The picture of the wonderful log fire was so cheerful when I logged on to your page. Sitting here in layers of garments in a large freezing victorian house it made my day! There – see how much you can brighten someone’s life Fiona. We are truly sorry that you have had to endure the past 6 months. I have been writing to you since March 2008 and look forward to your pages. I also love reading all the comments from your readers. Please keep it up as you always make everything so interesting and often inspiring. I just wish I lived near enough to visit your produce stand. x

  9. Fiona you must take great pride in the fact that you are an inspiration to all of us. Your blog is helping lots of people and your calm and sensible approach to your illness and your change of pace of life is a credit to you and Danny. I know times have been difficult but you appear to be very positive about your future. Thank you for brightening up my life every day.

  10. Moonpoppy

    Like Bib and yourself, I too had to make huge adjustments to my lifestyle after falling off the corporate-hamster-wheel-of-life due to illness … a blessing in disguise, ‘tho it IS difficult to earn a living when you feel under par.

    I love your blog, I love the fact that you share your experience with an open heart … you already have a fabulous, loyal following and I am sure that whatever you decide to do in this new decade will flourish and shower you with untold treasures.

    To quote Rosemary (above) “you have something that is priceless” *hugs*

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

HTML tags are not allowed.

2,241,090 Spambots Blocked by Simple Comments

Copyright © 2006-2023 Cottage Smallholder      Our Privacy Policy      Advertise on Cottage Smallholder