01 Oct This morning I stood on a rat…
This morning I stood on a rat. Luckily it was a dead rat, although I still prodded it suspiciously with a stick just in case. When my mother rang me shortly afterwards as she did daily, she wasn’t quite as amused as I was. “Good God dear, where are you living?” she asked with disgust. The fact was, my mother knew the answer full well but didn’t really approve. I lived on a farm. It was an old fashioned farm that was basically falling down but I had come to regard it as home.
I had always had a rather romantic view of farming. As a child I grew up on a small holding where we kept a cow, three donkeys, a few chickens and some ducks. My dream was always to live on a farm like ‘Anne of Green Gables’ complete with a Jersey Cow, picket fence and my own Gilbert Blythe. I wanted a pretty farm house with an Aga and to look after orphan lambs. I had images of skipping across fields with a basket on my arm containing ginger beer and sandwiches wrapped in grease-proof paper for my beloved. When I started going out with my farmer I thought all my dreams would come true. Not only was he the perfect man for me, but now I could have the life I had always wanted. Or so I thought………….
I soon learnt that getting involved with a farmer is not for the faint hearted. I got my cows, but they weren’t the friendly Jerseys I’d imagined, they were flighty Limousins. There was no way a picket fence was going to survive around them! My house was far from pretty and didn’t have an Aga, and worse still it was attached to the dreaded in-laws! I found far easier ways of delivering lunch than in a basket and soon discovered there was not much time for skipping.
After 5 years, I married my farmer. We managed to get two days off after Harvest and popped off and got married in a registry office. We didn’t have any friends or family with us, just two witnesses off the street, one of whom was called Mrs Puddle-duck! It was perfect. I spent our first anniversary alone as the weather was different from the year before so harvest was still in full swing. We installed a Rayburn (similar to my coveted Aga) and I learned to cook a whole host of meals that could be served an hour early or four hours late!
Time keeping has never been our strong point. We are always late for dinner or drinks with friends and when we do get there we always look like we’ve been dragged through a hay stack backwards. Cows always decide to calve at the most inconvenient times and you always seem to see a sheep with its head stuck in something just as you are heading out of the drive. It is sometimes easier to go out separately so at least there is someone at home to hold the fort. Although we tried this a while ago and I was just about to leave the house wearing a white (foolish I know) linen top and heels just as our two pigs made their bid for freedom. Instinctively I went running after them in the drizzling rain, leaping over pig poo as I went when I heard my husband yelling at me from down the yard to let them go. Luckily my friend who had come to pick me up drove round the corner at just the right moment preventing the little piggies from escaping from the farmyard and heading onto the neighbouring golf course. Once safely in the car and waved off by my husband I was able to flatten my hair down and arrived at the restaurant looking fairly normal and thankfully not smelling of pig poo.
This September is our 9th Wedding Anniversary. Chances are my farmer will be combining and we will probably celebrate with a late take-away and he will fall asleep in the chair! My mum will get us a card and a bottle of something but his parents won’t even acknowledge our day. Life married to a farmer is a bizarre one, and it isn’t surprising that there is a history of farmer’s daughters marrying farmer’s sons. It makes good sense to marry into a life you already know, not to mention acquiring those extra acres in the process! I, however, was entirely new to the whole thing when we started dating 15 years ago, and I found an alien world that never failed to shock, surprise, and nearly drive me insane.