There we have it. Our first year of living in the countryside. It’s simply bizarre to think that a year ago we left the Big Smoke and moved to Hampshire to begin a new life in the country. WHERE has the time gone, dear Reader? So many wonderful, funny, strange, downright mad things have happened to us in that time.
To name a few, we got some chickens……..we took on some orphans…….Jerry brewed his own beer and I foraged from the hedgerows with a good deal of trepidation – Primrose and Jerry telling me, rather helpfully, that I was destined to poison the whole family with my concoctions.
We’ve managed not to fall out with any of the villagers (yet), dodged becoming churchwardens (hopefully we won’t have to say yes in the next 50 years), survived a few tricky encounters with farmers, gamekeepers, landowners and self-appointed gentry and are STILL the youngest in the village, despite a new family joining life in our little hamlet. The house is now a glorified B&B for all our London friends (which we love – the more the merrier Jerry and I say) and when I am not tip tapping away at the laptop, I can be found baking bread regularly, making cordial and picking flowers (when I’m not yelling at Poppy and Primrose, stopping them from killing each other or placating the neighbours with homemade produce in return for having to listen to Primrose singing tunes from Frozen at the top of her voice in the garden). Sounds completely idyllic, doesn’t it, dear Reader? I’m learning to shoot and dear Tree and Minty even got me fishing (more on that in the next episode). WHO would have thought it?! WHERE has Margot gone? A jam-making, livestock-owning imposter seems to have taken her place.
With all these new developments, it seems that somehow…..somehow….the four of us must have managed a bit of the Good Life. Goodness only knows how! I still do the chickens in my pyjamas and always seem to be inappropriately dressed to deal with any quantity of sheep poo. Never mind the endless moaning to locals about the fact that there are no black cabs in Hampshire and that Sod’s law says EVERY time the vicar calls on us out of the blue, the house looks like it’s been hit by a bomb and/or I am in some sort of compromising position. Dealing with the contents of one’s daughter’s potty and holding used loo roll – just one of many ways that one would not wish to adopt when welcoming a member of the clergy into one’s house. I curse that glass back door…
Still, even with our chaos and country capers, we must be doing something right. I was tickled pink to have a recipe of mine appear in the Sunday Times Home August gardening calendar and this week sees Margot (well her alter ego, Rebecca Fletcher – owner of a great deal of lovely notebooks with scribbles in and occasional freelance writer) appearing on BBC Radio 4’s programme, Bricks and Bubbles which you can listen to here after it airs on Saturday 9th August. Desperately hoping that the voice in the Roberts Radio doesn’t sound like it belongs to a 5 year old……..someone once asked to speak to ‘my Mummy’ when they rang us to confirm a delivery. Doesn’t bode well, does it dear Reader? What’s even more disconcerting is the fact that I don’t suppose I stopped for breath when they were recording in the cottage, so no doubt it will be twenty minutes of me wittering on about selling up in the Big Smoke. PLEASE don’t judge, dear Reader. I was extremely nervous. Primrose took the radio journalist recording the interview to the wendy house and announced (on tape) that it was a tip because no one (mainly Mummy) could be bothered to tidy it up. Monty didn’t make it any easier either when he pounced on both the reporter’s and presenter’s nether regions. Not quite sure it was that sort of ‘colour’ they were looking for in the recorded piece. My chances of being asked to talk to the fabulous Jane Garvey or Jenni Murray on Woman’s Hour have been well and truly scuppered.
So on that note, I ask you, my dearest Reader, to raise a glass alongside us to our first year! To all of you who have read, commented, encouraged and kicked me in the behind to get on with some writing (mostly Jerry), I send you a big kiss and a huge thank you. Good old countryside – it never fails to disappoint with its big open skies, fields of gold and woodland wonders. Wherever we’ve been, however exciting, we’re always so glad to come home. I already know that this isn’t the end of the journey.