Menu du jour
Kitchen closed.
Chef and Wife out to dinner.
Dinner Review: Meal sitting like a brick in my belly. It is hard to beat the home cooked meals. However, date night with hubby was worth the indigestion. 


summer garden party with friends

We live in a cottage. Our line of address reads Clarks Cottage. We live a quintessential English country existence.We have a private garden (“yard”), beautiful views of fields, and grazing cattle for neighbours. 

Our visitors often say that our home is straight out of the movie, The Holiday.  From the aspect of being on a quiet dead-end road and minimal square feet—I’d have to agree.

To let (“rent”) a home in England that:
  1. has a big enough bedroom to fit a queen sized bed–forget about a king,
  2. has a shower in which you do not have to use a handheld faucet to wash your hair,
  3. is not blanked in shag carpet that is a deeper shade of English rose,
  4. has wardrobes (“closets”) (Note: I did not say “walk-in”… those are rare if ever seen),
  5. allows dogs,
  6. allows babies,
  7. has neutral wall colours,
  8. is affordable,

… are few and (very) far between.

We had been looking for a rental for over a month when Clarks Cottage popped up on a property search. I called to arrange a viewing that same day. Properties go like hot cakes over here. Most rentals are spoken for before the agent has its entire listing on a website. After a first walk-through, I knew it was home. We delivered a deposit to the agency before the close of business that same day and exchanged keys a week later. 

We initially anticipated renting for six-months, determined to buy and (finally) get on the property ladder.  4½ years, a recession, high inflation and a baby later we are still in our two-bedroom cottage.

Recently, with Ouisie being mobile and a 50lb dog at my heels, all the time, the walls are starting to cave in. Things have gotten even smaller this week with Ouisie’s discovery of everything inside our cabinets. Floor space is becoming more scarce as anything and everything is being pulled out, examined and flung around the rooms. 

Just to take away from the coveted “above ground” space, Carib is now sporting a pink cone around her head, 2ft in diameter, following (another) operation. On our third consecutive visit to the vet, after Carib (again) pulled out her stiches, she left with staples instead of thread, and a lamp shade around her neck.

“Houdini” is outsmarted

Carib should have been named Houdini. Over the years, she has wiggled herself out of several cones, chewed off bandages, freed herself of collars, and dug her way under chicken wire. This time, we have had to outsmart the magician by double knotting the halo to her collar. After great effort to try and get the cone off, she finally surrendered. The poor mutt just looks pathetic.

Ouisie found Carib’s new head gear beyond amusing. I felt sheepish walking down the village’s high street with a laughing baby on one hip and a dog bumping into light posts as we made our way back to the car park. If the folks back home could see me now…

I am now being pinched and pulled by Ouisie’s finely attuned pincer graps and bumped and shoved by Carib’s shade.  In desperation for more square feet, I started searching this week for available properties to rent. I suddenly crave floor space! What I really think I lack is ten square feet and five minutes of my own personal space.

All the property searches have been futile. Same scenario nearly five years on. But, it has made me, again, appreciate our little doll house. For what it lacks in space, and modern appliances, it makes up for in a beautiful garden and the charming neighbours we have become acquainted with over the years.

I have called a halt to my property search and, instead, am focused on the spring and summer months ahead when the windows can once again be opened, picnic blankets laid on the lawn and playtime for both baby and dog can be out in the garden and out of the cramped family room. 

Let the countdown commence. Drum roll…only 72 days until 1stday of spring! Perhaps I should look to the nearer future first… only ten days until Carib is halo-free!! 

To every cramped living space, there is a silver lining. 

Spaciously yours,