It’s that time of year again when I start to feel that impending sense of dread, wondering just what my darling husband has thought up as a present for me this year!
See, most women get perfume, handbags or jewellery for their Christmas presents…I on the other hand, last year, got a pig arc for my new oinkers and even to my surprise, I absolutely loved it!
To be fair, he had disappeared off with a trailer for an entire afternoon – long enough for me to start panicking and forming visions of him coming back to the farm with a flock of Pygmy goats, so anything has to be better than that!
Don’t get me wrong, the man can absolutely pull out of the bag the big romantic gestures – holidays to Venice or Vienna have been known historically, but he’s also not above buying me wellies, oven gloves and a satnav either, not that I don’t I love him all the more for it!
Apart from the oven gloves actually, that one was a particularly brave move from the man that married a self-confessed feminist to be fair…
The one that cracks me up the most though is the birthday present I got this year which was, believe it or not, a series of shotgun lessons.
Yes, that’s right; the man that drives me to the point of insanity with alarming regularity has somehow come to the conclusion that it is a brilliant idea to equip his wife with gun skills! *facepalm*
At least he’s had the good sense to change the hiding place of the gun cabinet key…! 😂
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!
I just had to share a quick proud mum moment with you all – my boy has been promoted! Trigger is now the official Office Dog at my place of work (PromoVeritas).
It all started when I emailed our MD the other month to ask if Trigger could come to work to get me out of a spot, accompanied by a list of verifiable reasons as to why a dog in the workplace was a good thing, and it worked. BOOM!
Queue Trigger arriving and being the best.boy.EVER all day, until he maybe made a slightly too personal contribution to the team meeting (held in the park in his honour) and wee’d on a colleagues notebook and expensive pen…but considering he had given her lots of cuddles all morning, all was forgotten quite quickly!
Our deputy MD, Gemma, has the coolest cat around (soz Frank Sinatra) called Freddie and he too has been promoted to Office Kitty…😍
I think these two might just contribute slightly to the office productivity levels taking a slight dip! But hey, Trigger’s pretty nifty with a keyboard and a mouse these days!
Not going to lie, he does have an office favourite, I didn’t feel let down or unloved at all…I still uphold it’s because Aunty Dan was bribing him with extra cuddles and kisses (and maybe the odd treat/sharing of lunch)…
Before I can start wondering about his remuneration package, true to form I’ve just been called by the husband to go and help move the cattle.
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 husband 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 don’t make their livelihood from them and one does…no points for guessing which one is which!
Let’s start with Dotty the pig – the full grown, definitely-not-a-micropig, pig. Weighing in at a good 200kg at least (leave her be, she’s just big boned!) at just 11 months old, 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 if I’m down at my parents’ in Devon, I come home with a full on goody bag of all the scraps for Princess Pigpig.
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 got kinda 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.
Cue exasperated looks from my husband when he’s trying to shoo Chewy away from a gate or into a holding pen and my darling cow stands there, calm as you like and totally not intimidated like he should be…oops!
Chewy isn’t the only calf with a name though, of the 21 that we (I say “we” in the loosest sense of the word, I’m more of a hindrance than a help to be fair) are currently rearing for beef, 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 devestated 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 farmer’s wife 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 – we went on honeymoon to 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, try being married 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 farmhouse 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)