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A “Lazy” off-Grid breakfast – fit for kings


As a child Margaret Gallagher  was ” lazy”, or so she tells us. She didn’t want to do ANYTHING and that’s kind of lucky because she is still here in her family’s thatched, whitewashed cottage near Boho (pronounced Bow) in the Marble Arch Caves Geopark to invite strangers to breakfast and well….. to live out the dreams of others.


Her cottage is just too perfect to be true, but stop before you get all teary-eyed and nostalgic. Living totally off grid in the footsteps of her ancestors is really tough. A round trip for water is 25 minutes, which keeps Margaret fit but has been hard on her hips and shoulders. The fire must be kept burning or the house will literally fall down.  The 2,000 year old bog oak timbers will buck off the thatch if the humidity levels rise so the fire has been burning for over 100 years, so there’s an awful lot of sawing, stacking, carrying and raking.


Some details of cottage life  surprise us.  The door is left ajar inviting light, air and company all year round…..a robin hops in the door during our visit to see what’s going on. She closed her door twice last year when the temperature outside dropped to -20 Centigrade. But most unexpected of all is that there is no loo.  No quaint views from the open loo door under a blue moon then…. perhaps there is a (natural) bog out the back.

Her family kept a  a laying hen, a “clockan”(?) in the bottom of the dresser and this was normal practice. This fact inspires us to settle down to do some drawing. We have been working on a collaborative DREAMING PLACE drawing and the cottage provides some major indoor input. Claire draws the dresser, I shade it in a bit and draw a hen in the left hand cupboard of the dresser and a mountain landscape in the other.


Margaret really is the most hospitable person and though she lives off-grid her cottage is literally on the map, meaning she receives visitors from all over the world. Her favourite visitors she tells us, are without a shadow of a doubt Japanese guests.

When we arrive at a little after 9am the table is laid with a feast fit for kings. This is one place Tesco actually has not conquered so the Mediterranean bread was hand baked in a cast iron pot  above the fire with coal. Claire knows about this as she and Chris have a “dutch oven” at their place in Sunshine Valley (Northern New Mexico). It’s a really good scheme….


You put coals on the lid and  the heat spreads evenly around the iron. As a counterpoint we learn how to make perfect white sliced toast on toasting forks over the hot coals and these are spread with the best of  homemade black current jams.

This feels like a really really posh hotel!! I’m hoping that is a compliment.

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