I wasn’t born in the country. Being a country-woman (or man) isn’t necessarily a matter of either nature or nurture but heart. I grew up in the suburbs and later lived in the South before returning to the Midlands where I lived in town. But I’d always had a hankering for a country cottage with roses round the door, a vegetable garden, and chickens scratching about. In this insane Helen Allingham-esque fantasy, I’d simultaneously waft round the garden in a flowing frock and straw hat whilst being a total domestic goddess, baking cakes and making jam. It would always be summer except for when it was Christmas. The cottage would have beams, a real fire, and, of course, an Aga in which I’d cook delicious rabbit casseroles. I might have contemplated having a gun and shooting the rabbits myself, except I can’t imagine being able to cut the head off one.
Fast forward more years than I care to admit and a couple of relationships later, and I find myself living that dream life. Sort of. My partner and I do live in a cottage with beams but it’s rented from the National Trust. We have a woodburner in the sitting room but the Rayburn is a sodding beast (I’ve called it worse but I’m being polite). And there’s definitely no wafting going on.
Instead, I live in either jeans or walking gear. I spend my life in wellies, up to my ankles in mud and chicken poo. I have an allotment since I can’t dig up a garden I don’t actually own, but it’s not producing anything other than raspberries yet, for reasons I’ll go into in a future post. I dream of gas central heating and electric showers, and lust after real cookers that actually cook things.
Would I move back to a town or city? Not on your bloody life!