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The Garden Cottage Diaries

My Year in the Eighteenth Century

Fi Martynoga (Author)

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Challenged to prove her claim that an 18th-century diet was better than today’s, for a full year Fiona J Houston recreated the lifestyle of her 1790s rural Scottish ancestors in a basic one-roomed cottage, cooking from her garden and the wild, often entertaining family and friends, and surviving on her own resources. She learned lost crafts and skills, making nettle string, quill pens and ink as well as cheese and ale, lighting her fire from flints, and dressing in hand-sewn period clothing, with nothing but an old range stove and candles for warmth and light. This beautiful, quirky, illustrated title tells her extraordinary story and is packed with historical anecdotes, folklore, practical gardening info, seasonal menus, recipes, wildlife notes and more. Includes linocuts, photos and historic engravings.

REVIEWS OF The Garden Cottage Diaries

'If ever there was an argument for the survival of the printed book, this is it.' - Reforesting Scotland Journal

'It's a riveting tale of a rather extraordinary journey.' - Family History Monthly

'Done with great wit and intelligent determination... Questioning the nature of progress is a sane response in a relentlessly consuming and resource-depleted world.' - Felicity Lawrence, The Guardian. Read more


Trade information

  • Rights: Worldwide Exclusive
  • BIC code(s): WK, BJ, 3JF
  • BISAC code(s): FAM000000

The Garden Cottage Diaries

About the author

Fiona J. Houston

Fiona J Houston is a journalist, museum researcher, grandmother and campaigner for a greener world. A former schoolteacher, avid historian, and an experienced gardener and cook, her year in the past brought together these skills and passions in a remarkable living-history project.