2020 Vision

Yes, yes I know…it has been close to a year (again!) since I last posted 🙈 but I hope you can forgive me as life has changed a fair bit for me in that time.

Over those months of radio silence I’ve been doing a lot of observing & reflecting, collecting a few thoughts I’ve had along the way which I wanted to finally share with you. So I hope you can please indulge me in this slight change of direction just this once and read the following 10 points:

1) Life is bloody unpredictable and each day is a gift, not a god-given right, don’t waste a day or take one for granted. You have exactly one life in which to do everything you’ll ever do…act accordingly.

2) Following on from that, if something is making you miserable, you do have the power to change it – in work or love or whatever it may be. Just have the guts to change. You don’t know how much time you’ve got on this earth so don’t waste it being miserable, and you never know what is waiting for you around the corner.

3) Stop bloody moaning! (And I mean this in a loving way) You are not as hard up as you imagine. So your limbs might be aching, at least you have them. So there’s traffic in your way, at least you can see it. However bad public transport is for you, you’re not in a wheelchair.

Never underestimate or take for granted the luxury of being physically able to do whatever it is you want. You are infinitely more advantaged than so many other incredible people out there who’s (dis)ABILITIES will put you to shame. Perspective is an incredible medicine. Appreciate your healthy and functioning body even if it isn’t the size you want to be.

Which leads me onto this:

4) You are worth more than a waistline. You are no less valuable as a size 16 than a size 6. For god sake eat the f**king cake, and with zero guilt! I’ll admit, this is the one I struggle with the most, but remember these points and it will start to help.

5) GIVE. The amount of people who have said to me recently that homeless people are there on purpose…really?? I can promise you, no one chooses that life. Of all the truly homeless people I have stopped and spoken to, none of them intended to be on the streets and they are all decent HUMAN beings. So you don’t want to give them money? Buy the guy a coffee and a sausage roll, give someone an unwanted dog coat for their companion, set up a food bank donation box at work. Just do SOMETHING. I promise you, it will make a difference.

5) Stop buying sh*t. Use your money on making memories. Go and visit that friend across the country, buy a nice steak for dinner. You do not need another iPhone or another £10 dress from a sh**ty online retailer. Some of the best jumpers I own were ones I bought when I was 18. I’m now almost 34 and I still wear them (whilst making memories that last a lifetime).

6) Always, ALWAYS cuddle the dog. I’ve never had a bad hug from a dog.

7) stop apologising after saying no to something. It’s a terrible habit.

8) Do what makes you happy, you don’t need to mimic what other people believe in or do to have a fulfilling life. I have no desire to travel abroad for 6 months and “find myself” on a beach in Thailand, and that’s ok! But whatever it is you want to do, do it and excel at it. None of this half-hearted sh*t.

Which brings me to:

9) Always strive to be the best version of yourself. Why bother doing something half-arsed? My favourite motto is “Go Hard or Go Home”. Live by it and you will always aspire to live the best version of your life, and hopefully along the way inspire others to do the same.

And finally,

10) Keep f**king going. No matter how crappy life is right now, just keep wading on through. One thing I can promise you is that it absolutely can get worse, but it will also get a whole lot better at some point. Don’t be that person who makes your friend stand up and give a eulogy at your funeral because you gave up. NEVER quit, just don’t. End of.

How I Know I’m Getting Old

So I am finally facing up to the fact that my birthday is hurtling towards me at a rate of knots and next week I shall be 29 with 4 years’ experience. Ghastly thought.

Over the last few months the evidence has been mounting against me to prove I’m no longer able to deny the inelegant process of ageing, to the point where it’s now smacking me in the face and I’m just going to have to bloody well accept it. Let’s peruse…

Exhibit no: 1

My body has suddenly decided that it is physically impossible to contain fluid for any more than approximately 45 minutes at a time. So it transpires that practically overnight I have obtained the bladder of a 60 year old and need to pee…constantly. I’m still lucky enough to not have to wake up in the night to go but it’s only natural progression!

Exhibit no: 2

I make noises when I bend down to pick things up or sit down in a chair. You know the ones I mean, those involuntary “ooof” groans like your grandma makes. It’s as if I’m all of a sudden a decrepit OAP. Not cool and certainly not attractive! My joints also click when I stand up, I’m literally one step away from saying “Ooo me knees”. *facepalm*

Exhibit no: 3

I now have zero social life and the only person that actually ever wants to speak to me is my mother, no exaggeration and I can prove this to you…

As much as I adore my mother, it’s quite a pathetic sight I’m sure you’ll agree! Which brings me nicely onto:

Exhibit no: 4

I went to Cheltenham races last month and at the sight of freezing twenty-somethings, rather than admire their daring outfit choices and hasty application of fake tan, I found myself somewhat appalled. I could hear myself using phrases that my mother would be proud of like “put some clothes on woman!” and “layers are sexy in winter, not skin.”

Gone are the days when I would even dream of wearing stilettos and a mini skirt in 5 degree temperatures all day. No, no sensible boots and tweed was the theme of the day for me. In fact the only piece of skin you could actually see was my face, and even that was covered up half the time.

So, it transpires “young at heart” is really a thing and “forever young” really is a non-thing. Smashing.

Until next time (when I might feel the need to talk about the price of bread these days and when pensions actually gave you a retirement wage to look forward to)…FML I’m getting old!!

I’ve Got A Confession…

So it’s been longer than I’d like (as per usual) since I last wrote a blog post but in my defence, I’ve been wrestling with a moral dilemma about whether or not I should share something with you.

I’d feel like I was living a lie if I didn’t confess it, but it’s so embarrassing that I’m afraid you’ll judge me if I did. But I’ve decided to be brave, so, here it goes…

My name is Amy and I’m afraid of chickens.

Utterly petrified in fact, to the point where I tried to climb up a fully grown adult (sorry Fiona) in the petting farm at London Zoo because they were loose and one “cock-a-doodle-do’d” at me. Full on nearly crapped my pants. *Classy*

It’s caused no end of troubles in my life, I’m even questioning my status as a “true country girl” as I speak.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ll eat the buggers, that’s my revenge! But all the money in the world couldn’t convince me to keep live ones at home. My excuse is that the Labradors would likely try and constantly pick the damn things up and bring them to me, and that’s just animal cruelty. In truth, I find the concept completely horrifying!

“Where did this phobia come from?” I here you ask. Well, interesting story, let me share it with you. I was at a BBQ at a stables where a number of friends kept their horses and on the yard was this, frankly hideous, giant chicken (some rare breed apparently) called Kellogg. Put me off the cereal for life.

Anyway, this thing had the evilest beady eyes and scaly dinosaur legs that, quite honestly, totally freaked me out. I stupidly aired this concern amongst my piers and a certain someone who shall remain nameless (Tim Taylor) decided to PICK the damn thing up and SIT it on my shoulder when I had my head turned.

I s**t you not, I covered that yard in about four and a half strides at a pace that would have made Linford Christie (1990’s Usain Bolt to you millennials) proud, I tell you.

And thus, scarred for life! So you can imagine the joy I felt when I moved my horse up to Wiltshire and found only after we’d settled into the yard that they had a flock of chickens…f**king smashing!

The little bastards then naturally chose to roost in my stable, obviously. They can sense the fear I’m sure. But I did eventually get brave enough to pick them up with a shavings fork (mucking out tool for you townies) and tip them out the door.

And at least the eggs tasted nice, although I did check for a date stamp on the first one I picked up in the stable…you can take the girl out of the city…!

I’m not sure that I really feel like I’ve got a load off my chest, but at least I no longer feel like I’m deceiving you all into thinking I’ve fully embraced this country life lark and forgotten my true city roots.

Anyway, judge away…just try to be a little sympathetic!

Until next time!

New Year, New Me…Blah, Blah, Blah!

Oh man it’s the 2nd of January and I’m already SO done with the whole “New Year, New Me” (along with a whole host of unimaginative emojis) crap!

Is it me becoming an even bigger cynic as I race towards my mid thirties at a rate I’m feeling less than comfortable with? Or is it just literally everywhere and on an even larger scale than usual this year?

Come on people, let’s own who we are or at least find a more creative way of jumping on the “personal development” bandwagon. Pleeeease!!

Not only that, but it seems like every other TV advert is for a holiday company at the moment…What’s all that about?!?! We’re all legit-poor after the exorbitant costs of Christmas (don’t even get me started on that one!) and I don’t know about you, but I am DEFFO not in bikini body shape after living on a diet solidly consisting of pâté, cheese, cold meats, Christmas tree chocolates and stocking sweets for the last 2.4 weeks!

(She says as she has absolutely no plans to get her fat ass out on a run in the next week)

But I do have a New Years resolution (aside from kicking my arse into gear and actually writing more than one blog post a month, of course)… I vow to remain the same sarcastic, loud-mouthed, opinionated gobsh*te with the grade A resting bitch face that you all have grown to know and adore…! If it ain’t broke, why fix it eh?! 😂

Until next time!

Who’re You Picking Up?!

So it’s been a long enough time since my last blog that it’s now got a little bit awkward and I figured it was time enough I just bit the bullet and got back into it, but I just couldn’t think of what to write…

Then thanks to the joys of “bumpkin language” once again providing a suitable sized opportunity for misinterpretation, I found the inspiration once more.

Stuck waiting round the coffee machine in the office, I decided to break that typical awkward silence with one of my less familiar colleagues and we defaulted to the usual back up convo of weekend plans.

Forgetting I was talking to an utter townie who has little to no background knowledge of my lifestyle, when he asked “what are you up to then?” I simply said, “oh just the usual now it’s winter, picking up on Saturday and mucking out the pig on Sunday.”

Queue the bemused look illuminate his face as he tried to work out a diplomatic way of asking if I was either into casual swinging or openly cheating on my husband…”Erm, aren’t you married?” He asked.

“Yeah but we don’t always spend the whole weekend together and he’s working both days anyway”, I said, blissfully unaware of the even larger hole I was digging myself.

“Riiiight, ok. I mean it’s great that you have such an open relationship, but that’s not the conventional type of activity I’d expected from a farmers wife, I have to say.”

Now queue the bemused look slowly creep over my face. “What on earth are you going on about?!” The penny suddenly dropped…”ohhhh you thought I meant picking up men!! Good god no, I’m not a tramp!”

My colleague looked visibly relieved that I hadn’t just massively over-shared to break an awkward coffee silence with a guy I barely knew. But the bemusement quickly appeared again, “so, sorry, but what do you mean then?”

Suddenly I found myself having to break down the set up of a day’s pheasant shooting and then got into the equally awkward conversation about what I have to do with the birds that are still alive when Trigger brings them back to me after picking them up.

He looked so appalled at the thought of me bopping a half dead pheasant on the head that, quite frankly, I’d rather have continued the conversation about extra-marital coital activities! At least he’d have stopped staring at me as if I was a murderous lunatic that he needed to hide both sharp and blunt objects from immediately.

I admit, only 3 years ago I myself balked at the idea of “people shooting something in the face for fun”, but it’s been an engrained part of culture in the farming community for over a hundred years, forming and renewing friendships that have been neglected over a busy summer & harvest and traditionally supplying them with a source of food over the leaner months, and learning more about it has given me a better understanding.

I like to uphold this tradition of using the birds for consumption as my attempt to justify the sport to myself (still unsure how successful this ploy is) and will always make sure to take home any birds my husband shoots, offering them to friends and colleagues who wouldn’t necessarily otherwise have access to eating pheasant.

So basically, what I’m getting at is, unless you want to be fed game bird and possibly chow down on a piece of lead, I’d advise not coming round to mine for dinner from now until about April…but if you don’t mind giving yourself an expensive dentist bill then come on over, there’s plenty to go round!

Until next time…

Bumpkin Language

Yes. It is a real thing, and nearly 4 years down the line I still haven’t got a sodding clue what they’re saying a solid 60% of the time.

Here’s a list of words we city folk can relate to:

  • Cocktails
  • Dim Sum
  • Krispy Kreme
  • Night Tube
  • Oyster Card

I’m telling you now, say the word Dim Sum to a farmer and they’ll throw you a look with the blankest expression you have ever witnessed. Start talking to them about night tubes and they think you’re on about some new toy from Anne Summers…

In contrast, here is a list of words that bumpkins understand, particularly the Wiltshire ilk:

  • Hunt Ball
  • Somewhen
  • Tractor
  • Cheese Festival

Somewhen?!? THAT’S NOT EVEN A WORD!!!!

I was literally reeling with a mixture of confusion, horror and disgust when someone first used this term. It properly threw me, I legitimately did not have a scooby-doo what the man was on about.

Let me put it into context for you…

Gareth: “we’ll go to there somewhen”

Me: “wait, what? That makes no sense we’ll go there somewhere? What does that even mean?”

Gareth: “No, somewhen

Me: “I’m sorry. What? Some…when??”

Gareth: “Yes”

Me: “When??”

Gareth: “Yes”

Me: “So you mean like, ‘at some point’?”

Gareth: “Yes. How is this so difficult to understand??”

Me: “Because it’s not a word! Why would you say that?? Why wouldn’t you just say ‘at some point?’

Gareth: “Why not?”

Me: “Because ‘at some point’ makes sense!!!! Somewhen most definitely does not make sense, it is a totally made up, non-word!!!!!!”

Turns out, according to Wiltshire bumpkins it is definitely a word, equally so is ‘anywhen’…don’t even get me started on that one. Fuming.

Likewise, according to bumpkins, their idea of a good day out is a cheese festival. Yes, that’s right, a whole festival dedicated to cheese. Not a little artisan market down the side of London Bridge (aka Borough Market to the non-Londoners who haven’t got a clue what I’m talking about) but a full-blown festival in a field, all about cheese.

Don’t get me wrong, I love me some cheese, but a whole day. In a field. Looking at cheese? That’s a bit much. But don’t panic, I soon found out when I was dragged there last year that there are also cow and sheep judging competitions, tractors on display and farm machinery to buy…calm the f**k down people!! Fun day out my arse. These people need to get themselves down to Covent Garden on a Saturday. Pronto.

Honestly, never has my unrelatable life been more apparent than when I’m sat at a hunt or farmer’s ball and have nothing in common with the people either side of me, or in the office when I start suggesting to them that apparently ‘somewhen’ is a word. I’m a nomad in either situation!

So I find myself misunderstood by a significant proportion of people I happen to spend my life with. Which is not a circumstance I ever thought I would find myself in given my extremely articulate and overly verbal life! Hence the point of this blog I guess…?

Don’t worry too much about me at those balls though, I just start talking about night tubes and enjoy the looks of horror stricken confusion on their faces…

Until next time!

Farm or Petting Zoo?

Most of you will have read the escapades with my pet pig, Dotty, from my first blog post. However, for those of you that haven’t got a clue what I’m talking about, it might be worth taking an extra 5 minutes to read it so that you get a bit of a back story.

So, we’ve ascertained I’m a city girl living in a country world – as the blog title suggests – but I wanted to do a post about exactly what this means for my poor husband and his exasperated family…

I collect animals. Not just domesticated ones, but proper commercial, farmyard animals. And it drives my family nuts!

Perversely, my city friends are more understanding of my desire to make every being on the farm my friend as opposed to eating them, than the country folk are. Most likely because one set doesn’t make their livelihood from them and one does…no points for guessing which one is which!

Let’s start with Dotty the full grown, definitely-not-a-micropig pig. Weighing in at a good 250kg (leave her be, she’s just big boned!), this porcine princess is the absolute queen of the farm. We have cuddles and belly rubs (just her, obvs), we play games running around the yard and yes, I sit on her back.

Dotty is used to me now strolling into her sty in my finest office clothes and heels at 8pm for a cuddle after a busy day in the London office, and she always makes sure to be careful of my toes, love her!

She’s also a star attraction when it comes to family and friends visiting, everyone wants to meet her and feed her bread (her favourite treat), and my parents’  make sure to deliver her a full on goody bag of all their veg scraps for Princess Pigpig on a weekly basis.

In addition to Dotbags (you’ll soon work out that all my pets have at least 3 nicknames) there is Chewy – the calf featured in my blog profile photo – and yes, he is giving me kisses.

I met Chewbags when he was just 3 weeks old and he arrived with his 5 brothers in November. He was the bravest of the bunch and after 10 minutes, he walked up and started chewing on my coat sleeve, hence the name.

Daily visits to the barn ensued and we became close, so close that this technically wild animal is as tame as you like. In fact,  my 7 year old niece can stand and have cuddles with him in an open field.

Chewy isn’t the only calf with a name though, of the 21 that I helped care for (I say “we” in the loosest sense of the word, I was more of a hindrance than a help to be fair), 10 of them have names. We have in no particular order:

Chewy, Daffodil, Terrance, Roy, Bump, Bubblegum (name courtesy of said 7 year old niece), Frank, Lilac, Patch and Tank.

Yes, I will be devastated when they leave, yes I am a stupid townie for naming the cute baby calves that are destined for the dinner table, but come on…can you blame me?!

As this post is now longer than I expected, I’ll leave the introduction to the dogs for another post I think!

Until next time…