I'm back! Ready to open your eyes to even more rural revelations, best get straight to it shouldn't we?
1. There is a country lane driving etiquette and you better stick to it...
Don't pass passing spaces and always thank those who wait for you...
"You sure you want to go this way with the trailer on? Not sure how many passing spaces there are - there's a lorry coming the other way I just saw it over the hill"
"It's fine, I know there's a space there...he better not pass it, is he passing it?? He is isn't he? Oh for Christs sake! GO BACK, he's still coming isn't he? What a moron, I'm going to sit and wait for him to reverse, no, you know what? I'll reverse. I don't care if it's half a mile and I have the trailer on. I'm doing it, I'll show him how to reverse, look at these reversing skills you pr*ck**, can't see me through the dust and smoke i'm producing because I'm reversing so quick can you? There. Right. Now I'm in this incredibly tight spot which I think I might not be able to get out of, you're welcome! NO I SAID YOU'RE WELCOME!!! DON'T SAY THANK YOU THEN A*RSEHOLE**!!!!"
**would definitely be something more explicit but I won't put in my blog because my Mum proof reads it.
Don't expect to drive on roads which can fit two cars.
2. Dating is non-existent and pretty much impossible to keep on the DL.
That man sat in the corner of the pub who you've spoken to once? Yep him. He knows who you went for a drink with 3 and a half weeks ago, at which pub, at what time and how many gin and tonics you drank. Unfortunately everybody knows everybody, which means news travels fast and nothing you do will go unnoticed. It's true, not a lot often happens in the countryside, so when there's a good piece of juicy gossip it won't stay quiet for long.
Gossip spreads like there's no tomorrow.
3. There's no point in ever trying to explain where you are from - they won't have heard of it.
You've gone to Uni, travelling, a city break or anywhere 15 miles outside of the village and someone asks "so where are you from?". Here we go, first of all you pick the nearest city and pray they don't remark on it.
"Bristol actually", queue them making a remark about a club, pub or restaurant that you've never seen, or heard of.
"Well I say Bristol, I'm actually right on the outskirts - more in the countryside, I doubt you would have heard of it. No honestly. Really? You reckon? Okay. Appleford? No, didn't think so"
4. Potholes are real and they're expensive.
You know they're there, no you're not in the work truck now, you're back in your little car you've had since you were 17 and you know the damaged this is going to do. Will you try and avoid them? Course not! You'll just grip the wheel a little tighter, shut your eyes for a split second and *glide* over them - maybe let out a little "oh Godddd" as well, for good measure.
5. Guns and Knives are rife.
Just not in the sense that you might think, guns have safety cabinets, licenses and are taken very seriously, whilst knives (of rather frightening proportions) are carried in pockets day to day for cutting string, whittling and dividing up the scotch egg in the truck (most definitely without being washed in between).
6. Teen years are filled with YFC parties and events.
On their website YFC describes themselves as:
Clubs that provide their 22,000 members aged 10 to 26 with a unique opportunity to develop skills, work with their local communities, travel abroad, take part in a varied competitions programme and enjoy a dynamic social life.
When asking YFC members to describe themselves, I got:
"It's like Scouts or Brownies, just without the knots and badges and you're on a constant bender"
"Young farmers is a place where alcoholics that like tractors, can meet other alcoholics who like tractors, and talk about tractors over a few drinks."
"It’s like a big family of agricultural alcoholics. We always talk about work when we’re not at work. We know how to party and occasionally enter a tug of war."
Don't join your local YFC unless you enjoy few (by that I mean ALOT) of alcoholic beverages.
7. Any form of village competition is taken very seriously
Think the episode of This Country where the scarecrow competition occurs was a joke? Wrong. Any form of rivalry is taken very seriously from both contestants and judges. Village summer fetes have FIERCE competition: David from down the road has spent the whole year growing his marrows for the vegetable category, Susan has been knitting an entire mini village and your children will be spending hours making plate gardens fitted with cocktail stick washing lines and plastic bottle ponds. Don't expect any mollycoddling from the judges, my Dad once placed 2nd in the bread category with an entry of one person...
Best get planting those seeds for next years fete...
8. Village primary schools are small, no really small.
Expect to have about 50 people in primary school, no that wasn't a typo, the whole school not just your year. Village schools may have small attendance numbers and only two classrooms and a hall to make up the building, but that isn't necessarily a bad thing. Sports day? Be prepared to be in every race, and auditioning for the school play? I don't think so, you have to be in it whether you like it or not and maybe even play two roles.
9. There is no love lost between Tractors and Cyclists
No scratch that, not just tractors, all other moving vehicles. There are no bike lanes, the road is to be shared with everyone be it cars, horses, tractors, runners or cyclists. It doesn't matter who you are, as soon as you are on the road cyclists irritate you. Yep, even a cyclist in a car is not a fan of other fellow bike friends. No don't wave me on past, you have no idea how large my truck is. Three abreast? Really?. Are you going to slow down before you whizz past me on my horse? Okay, taking that as a no. Lovelllly lycra by the way!
Even cyclists don't like cyclists
10. We still bloody love it...
The smell of cut grass in spring, long walks just for the sake of walking, pooh sticks at your nearest bridge, pic 'n' mix from the local shop, pub food but proper pub food where the portions are HUGE and dripping in grease (none of this gastro-pub business), the local beer festival where you come back with a glass you'll never use again, spotting hares through the fields, buzzards overhead, riding in the back of the truck, picking wildflowers (the legal ones!), being snowed in during winter, the satisfaction of pulling off your wellies at the end of the day, camping in the fields, the list goes on...
Let me know how many you can relate to!
Lots of love
p.s sorry cyclists!