I wish we had more photos of this good old cottage. My Mum was raised in it. And it became a safe haven for her and her children when she decided to start over life in the countryside.

It was old and shaky, but we were grateful to have this cottage as a shelter and a setting for the story we were about to start writing.

I don’t have clear memories of the cottage when we just got there, as I was only three years old. But I do have memories of when I turned an older child.

Set on 6 acres of land, the little cottage had three bedrooms, a living room, a dining room, a kitchen, and a verandah. There was an outside toilet (outhouse), as we had no running water. We harvested rainwater and fetched water from a nearby river. Sometimes we would fetch cool drinking water from the falls around the road, or head down the road to catch water at the pipe. We stored water in barrels and bottles. We washed our clothes by hand and hung them on the line to dry. We bathed on the outdoors out of tubs, at the river and sometimes in the rain. I especially enjoyed showering in the rain.

For some time, we had no electricity. We used oil lamps at nights, and heated an iron on the fire to press our clothes. Life was simple and we did not need much to survive.

In the early years, we had no cooking stove. We gathered wood for making fire to cook meals and sometimes charcoal would be used. We baked delicious pies and cakes on coal fire. I loved our cornmeal pie, sweet potato pie and our dark fruit cake.

One of my favourite places to sit and have dinner was on the front stoop of the cottage. I guess I did not understand as child. But looking back now, it felt quite cozy.

That cottage was a safe haven for us. I ran away from that life when I got the chance to. But now I am embracing that lifestyle although I now have options. I like being reminded of sitting under the stars at nights, running in the grass with my dogs when I was a child. 

1 Comment

  1. I can relate. I was in the fourth grade before we moved into a house with indoor plumbing. We had a well we could draw water from and a smokehouse to keep meat. We had minimal electricity, bare light bulbs and a refrigerator. Meals were cooked on a wood burning stove served on a table made by my dad of raw boards and benches for us to sit on. He and Mama had chairs with cane bottoms to sit in. There was no ceiling in the house so you could see the rafters and the tin roof. For baths we had a closet sized room where we used a pan of water warmed on the stove and a “washrag”. The only heat was from the stove and a fireplace but Mama had lots of quilts. I didn’t realize we were poor.

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