Did I ever tell you the story of how we happened upon the cottage we live in? Or, more correctly, how the cottage found us?

How the cottage found us
November 2020

I’m sure you’ll agree - what a year it has been!

It feels pretty apocalyptic; of course we have the ongoing Corona virus situation; then in summer we had a horrendous 10-hour long thunder storm (with continuous lightning and thunder strikes from 8pm until 4am) that washed away part of our main road (A823)! Real ‘end of the world’ stuff! But to top it all off we also experienced several earthquakes throughout September! Yes, you read that right: earthquakes. The [earthquake2] epicentre was near Blackford which is 5 miles from us. The tremors actually started from the beginning of September, which we either didn’t feel or didn’t realise it was an earthquake, why would we? The idea is preposterous, right? Wrong, one night around 5am, I happened to be lying in bed awake and could feel the bed starting to shake. Doors began to rattle and I could hear a deep rumbling sound. I lay wide-eyed thinking:”Wow! This is an actual earthquake!” It woke my husband up as well, but our neighbours slept soundly through it. Then a week later at around 8pm, it happened again. This time even the cats got a fright and the neighbours felt it too. According to the British Geological Society the earthquakes were a 2.3 and a 2.5 on the Richter scale. There was no damage; no cracks anywhere thankfully but I can now tick this off my bucket list: ‘experience an earthquake’. Yes, it was really on there!

The vegetable beds are almost all empty, apart from the hardy cabbages, parsnips and carrots. In the end, we had quite a good harvest this year, just not as much as 2019. I grew chilli peppers indoors on the window sill and not only did the plants look attractive with their bright, vivid red chilli peppers, we also made 4 small bottles of sweet chilli sauce from them. Another fun recipe I’ve tried this autumn is capers made from nasturtium pods! I found a recipe in an old recipe book and as we had loads of nasturtiums this year, I thought this would be a good way of eating the pods too. You can put the raw pods in salads and so forth, but they have a bit of a ‘kick’ when eaten raw. I don’t know yet what the nasturtium capers taste like, you need to leave them for a few months, I’m a very patient person so I can wait. Both recipes are at the bottom of this newsletter if you’d like to try it out too.

Did I ever tell you the story of how we happened upon the cottage we live in? Or, more correctly, how the cottage found us?

Well, believe it or not, it all started in the shop. One day, about 10 years ago, a couple came into the shop to enquire about making beer. We got chatting, as you do, and I just happened to mention that my husband and I were about to look at a house available to rent in Glendevon.

The couple, Mr and Mrs J looked at each other in astonishment and laughed:”That must be the house we are letting out!”

And I was like:”Oh, how’s that for a coincidence? We’re looking for a house away from the road.”
Mr and Mrs J:”Yes, cottage is far away from the main road.”

But I still couldn’t believe it. I kept talking: “I would also like somewhere where we can grow vegetables and keep chickens.”

Mr and Mrs J: ”There is a small overgrown vegetable patch next to the house which you are more than welcome to dig up and create a vegetable plot. We’ve got chickens too, so no problem there, either.”

I couldn’t believe it! No sooner were they out the door, I grabbed the phone and excitedly called JP. We went to have a look later that day and noticed a small hedgehog figurine sitting on the front doorstep. As it happens JP’s business is called Hedgehog Creations! It was a sign! There was no doubt in our minds, it was meant to be. We agreed to rent the property that very same night.

Serendipity? Luck? Destiny? Coincidence?

Who knows… but JP did a ‘fire walk’ a few weeks before, wishing for a cottage in the Highlands. Around the same time I had photoshopped a picture of me and JP standing outside a random photo of a cottage I had found online (see right), just for the fun of it. It might not exactly be the Highlands, but it’s close enough for us!

Anyway, now our neighbours are not only our neighbours but are good friends, too (there is a Dutch saying: ”It’s better to have good neighbours than far-away friends”) and as you all know, we grow our own fruit and vegetables and have chickens too. A bit like the TV show ‘Good Life’, but without the pigs! And without Margo and Gerry living next door…

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