It’s All Gone A Little Too Far Now

So we’re 2 weeks into lockdown and to be quite frank, this sh*t isn’t funny anymore…Mum is baking a lemon drizzle cake every fourth hour, dad is swearing at the constant drivel on the telly and there isn’t nearly enough alcohol for me to get through living with my parents again!

I jest, in reality I am actually SO relieved and grateful that my amazing parents invited me to hot-foot it down to Devon to live with them during the apocalypse. Not least because living in a flat without a garden would have been less than ideal for a certain ginger labrador who would have ended up eating the walls by week three.

I’m still doing my day job, working in my parents office/small spare room whilst the Irish genes are coming into full effect in my mother and she checks whether I need a drink or something to eat roughly every 23 minutes in between baking cakes. If I come out of this only 2 stone heavier, I’ll be doing f**king well.

Now, I know I should be grateful, and I am happy to have job security and all that. But I’m not sure I’ve entirely got the best deal here when a lot of my colleagues are on furlough being paid to sit on their arses, whilst I’m working away like a woman possessed to hit deadlines. I know I’d moan of boredom before a week was through, but I’d at least like the chance to try and prove myself wrong!

Anyway, on my days off I’m volunteering at the farm next door to my parents’ house. Ever the realist, I am more than happy to admit that, yes, they really must be scraping the barrel for ‘skilled workers’ if they are reduced to accepting help from a townie who lived on a farm for a bit, whilst their usual staff are self isolating. Either way, I’m having an absolute blast!

For any of you that have read about Dotty pig, this is where she lives now and I am DELIGHTED to be seeing her so frequently again. Plus…and you won’t believe this…I actually went into a field full – and I mean FULL – of at least 100 chickens.

So proud, I managed to resist every urge to drop kick the things and run in the other direction but, good news, I didn’t sh*t myself (that could have been awkward) or scream once! Video evidence below, because I know you won’t believe me.

Other jobs have included: rescuing a goose from my stupid dog who thought it needed picking up, prizing my fingers from a micro-pig’s jaws, weeding an enclosure for a raccoon (WTF?!), convincing a Shetland pony who I have renamed Bastard (actually called Custard, but I misheard this) that he can walk through a wide open gate, and fitting a harness to a slinky rat, otherwise known as a ferret – you can take the girl out of the town…

Mika, my beautiful quarantine buddy

Speaking of the stupid mutt, he is proving to be equally as much of a townie as his mother and can’t possibly run in front of the Gator like a real dog, he has to ride in it and embarrass me in front of the farm people and their proper dogs…*facepalm*

Luckily, the farm people (aka Tim and Tina) seem to tolerate us well enough, even when I do look for the date stamp on a fresh egg 🙈 (see reference regarding extracting townie from girl above). They didn’t even mind when Trigger took a running jump into the duck pond or tried to hump their poor 4 year old son, Jake (who we managed to convince that Trigger just wanted a piggyback from).

Speaking of their adorable children, Annabelle drew me a portrait today complete with my green wellies, black gloves, red jacket and brown hair with a blonde ponytail…! Evidently others are starting to notice my appalling roots* and I feel that a trip to Tesco for a box of hair dye would most definitely now be considered essential…

The incriminating portrait…

*read as: half my head

Until next time, I hope you are all keeping well and safe x

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…

A Relatively Unrelatable Life

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!”

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Dotty the Escapologist

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 your 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.

Until next time!