We have a lot of tiny houses in England that are just normal dwelling places, but I thought you might like to see the picture of the tiniest regular brick-built house I have ever seen.
Smuggler’s Cottage is a real house that someone once lived in, not a playhouse for a child. It was built in the 18th century and was someone’s home during the 19th century. In fact it is said that a family of five lived there (!) and it was one of the hiding places for smugglers connected by a web of secret passages.
It’s a few miles along the road from us just near Great Dixter, in the village of Northiam, in England’s East Sussex.
(if you don’t know what I’m talking about, see here)
In Palmers Lane in Bishops Stortford (just round the corner from here), the town on the border of Hertfordshire where I grew up and went to school, is a wonderful shop called Bears. It opened when I was about 16, and I used to go there to buy joss sticks. I think it was in that shop that I first came across Jonathan Livingstone Seagull. As the years went by Bears grew gradually more sophisticated and now sells Lagenlook clothes by Flax and other wonderful makers of flowing garments in natural fibres.
Back in the mid-70s, I went there with the lad who became my first husband when we had come down from York to spend the summer in Hertfordshire with my family, working on the farm (him) and in the home for people with epilepsy (me) in the university vacation. He bought a ring at Bears – a silver ring from Tibet at the time when their beautiful artefacts had come into the market as the Chinese took them over.
Later on in the 90s, still loving to call in at Bears on the occasions I went to visit with my family, I bought this bag – beautiful, sturdy, well-made.
Another example of how, if you don’t want to disappear under the Avalanche of Stuff, there are choices to be made and priorities to be set – and sometimes that involves saying goodbye even to treasured and beautiful possessions that have a history to them.
I crocheted this blanket from a mixture of odds and ends – some of my own homespun (the fudge-coloured squares, spun from the fleece of one of my cousin Kathryn's alpacas) and all sorts of other bits I had lying around. I gave it to a craftsman who lives out at Crowhurst in a caravan – he has a woodstove but his walls are thin and poorly insulated; it was very cold this winter, and he needed an extra blanket for his bed. He was really pleased with it :0)