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?! 😂
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!
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:
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:
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??”
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…
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!
Always looks like they’re plotting their next move
Visibly pleased with their devastating actions
Wet black nose…
Yes, that’s right. There is a murderer in our midst. Rusty the one year old Labrador (who, coincidently isn’t rusty coloured at all, even though we thought we were buying a fox-red lab. But that’s another story altogether).
So far this cold blooded murderer has killed a hare, a mole (although eye witnesses can neither confirm nor deny the health status of the mole before she delivered it to them, we have our suspicions), countless flies & spiders and now worst of all…her brother Trigger’s favourite toy, Doggie.
Trigger is the chalk to Rusty’s cheese – couldn’t hurt a fly even if he wanted to as he’s not the sharpest knife in the drawer, let’s say. They aren’t coined Dick and Dork without reason, after all.
So when my darling ginger dork (who is very rusty coloured, by the way) was presented with Doggie as a birthday present in April, he was utterly delighted – paraded him around for all to see, laid resting his chin on his faithful friend during the day and slept with him at night. Just too cute for words.
So one quiet Wednesday evening I had a friend round for dinner and as we were chatting, I suddenly noticed it had gone extremely quiet and neither Labrador was hovering around my ankles in the kitchen as I prepared dinner. Like children, the ominous combination of silence and labradors is a foreboding prospect, especially when food is present.
Prompted by this suspicious circumstance, I started to wander into the sitting room, “what are you two up – OH.MY.GOD!!” Doggie was dead. Not just dead, ruthlessly decapitated and disembowelled with his innards strewn across the floor.
Trigger, lying there holding Doggie’s limp, lifeless body came running to me with a look of pleading to save his most favourite toy. Whimpering, begging me to help his bestest friend.
The suspect tried to flee from the scene but was swiftly apprehended by Giovanna and upon questioning, quickly confessed. Her lack of guilt was evident, a look of delight convinced me that only a psychopath could possibly have committed such a heinous crime.
Poor Trigger was inconsolable, I tried to prize the tattered, floppy Doggie from his mouth but he clung to him, desperately trying to protect his buddy from any further harm.
After a thorough post-mortem, it was evident that there was no bringing Doggie back from the dead. The murderer was temporarily imprisoned in her crate whilst I tried to comfort Trigger and break the news that Doggie was indeed deceased. RIP Doggie.
I must admit, his grieving process was rather quicker than I had anticipated. It only took a couple of days in fact before he seemed to have processed the traumatic experience and moved on. Aided, of course, by the fact that Grandma had scoured the shops of Seaton to find Doggie Mark II for her favourite boy and successfully found a replacement.
Not quite the same model, I admit, but Trigger clearly relates to Doggie Mark II’s Orange body and look, beauty is in the eye of the beholder anyway, right?
He certainly looks pleased at least and I can confirm that no lasting psychological damage has been identified – in him at least, not quite sure I can say the same for “Rusty the Shredder”…
Ok so, in short, a brief look across the newspapers and whiff of my armpits confirms that the world is melting and I am sweating more than I have ever swat in my entire life.
To put this into context, I am literally the coldest woman on the planet. I’ll give you an example – I was in the Maldives last November, and whilst everyone else was sat in the shade at midday, I went swimming in the lagoon. And when it dropped to a balmy 30 degrees in the evening, Ice Queen here was sat in a sodding cardi.
So it really does take a lot to make me hot, and thank god because – by the by – a sweaty upper lip is not a look I sport well.
But I mean, come on now, this is getting a tad ridiculous. My ginger brother hasn’t seen the light of day for a solid month, birds around the farm are randomly bursting into flame and if I see one more topless pastey-white British guy with his gut hanging out, I will not be responsible for my actions.
I know that farmers were praying for a drier couple of months after a horrifically wet winter and a pretty boggy start to spring, but this is taking the proverbial.
And if you think the general British public are a hard bunch to please with the weather, just speak to a farmer…if it rains, it’s too wet. If it’s sunny, it’s too dry…and don’t get me started on frost or snow. Honestly, they are never happy, so you can imagine the delight I am experiencing at the moment!
I really don’t want to conform to typical British stereotypy, but I am literally days away from having an actual full-blown meltdown (excuse the pun!) about this heat. The under-boob sweat is very real, and don’t get me started on the thigh chaffage.
But at least now being a cross-breed (lets be honest, a mongrel) of bumpkin and city-girl, there are some advantages. I no longer have to stare into the sweaty pit of a commuter which is at perfect eye-line or smell the waft of businessman BO drifting across my nostrils on the tube out of London. Small graces!
Except now I get the dust of combine harvesting literally a day after I washed my nice white car and my home is clearly the place where flies go to die. And where did all these damn spiders come from?!
So, in the interest of public safety, I am giving you fair warning that if this weather doesn’t sort it’s s**t out in the next week, then I am going to be adopting any measure necessary to ensure a successful rain dance, and no one wants to see that. Believe me.
Until next time! (Unless I happen to spontaneously combust beforehand)
It was part way through herding my pet pig Dotty, who had decided to make a Great Escape style departure from the farm one lunchtime, that I stood amongst the chaos, hands on hips and puffing like I’d just raced Usain Bolt rather than a 10 month old pig, when I thought to myself, “you honestly couldn’t write this s**t!”
Actually, in relation to how I got here exactly, the thought process of “perhaps I could write this s**t, but it would be wholly unrelatable”, was at the point when I had gotten all 200kg of the obstinate bitch back in her sty, having broken my broom handle on her somewhat sizeable arse, after a morning of writing equally sizeable cost proposals to one of the world’s biggest financial entities. Talk about a day of two extremes!
Now, “I’ve broken the broom on my pig”, is a sentence that no self-respecting city girl ever grows up thinking they are going to have to explain to their respective other on a Tuesday night, but there I was at 32 years old realising that maybe I’m not so much your stereotypical city girl anymore, but equal parts Cosmopolitan (yes, we still drink them) and Country Bumpkin all at once – and that’s a pretty niche lifestyle to be living, let’s be honest.
I was born and raised a city girl, so you can forgive me for thinking, “none of my home friends have to put up with this crap” whilst I’m wrestling said pig out of the neighbouring farm’s field, complete with a heard of dairy cows and their newborn calves. I honestly made a tackle that Johnny Wilkinson would have been proud of just to stop that cowbag from wreaking more havoc than a toddler let loose on a dessert buffet.
Let me give you some back story. I spent my youth either visiting the big smoke or practising my ballet at the dancing studios that my mum enrolled me in at the age of 5, when she found out I was going to be the lanky child and needed some air of decorum/grace instilled in me.
It was at the age of 16 that I discovered ponies, swapped my ballet shoes for a pair of wellies and decided that country air wasn’t all that bad. Thereafter I spent my weekends as a young adult at different equestrian events around the country.
Having said that, I still lived on the outskirts of the city until I was 29, before finally plucking up the courage and taking the plunge to move 100 miles west to Bumpkinshire (aka Wiltshire) in 2015.
Even now, I still have my typical “townie” job that keeps me in London twice a week, and I still get that buzz like I’m meeting an exiting old friend for some more adventures when I step off the tube. Withdrawal symptoms from happy hour cocktails are apparently a real thing…
So, having relayed a lengthier, more elaborate version of previous events to a few friends and colleagues, three of them mentioned that I should start a blog.
I dismissed it entirely for about a month, but I found I kept revisiting it in my mind, and now here I am – £36 down and having spent far too long deciding on a background colour than is healthy for a woman with a limited lunch hour who values food immensely – explaining to you why it’s worth you reading about my relatively unrelatable life…
I can’t promise there will be many times that any of you say “YES! That is so me!” but I hope that this outlet will allow me to amuse you when regaling stories that no one could think were possibly true, but could only happen to me.