Finally, I answer Stegbeetle's questions. If you want me to interview you, instructions at the bottom.
1. You're obviously a country girl at heart. What is it about life in the country and the whole "hands in the earth" things that you find so appealing?
Initially I read this as 'appalling' :). I find anything to do with the earth very soothing and balancing. If I'm having a bit of a stressy day, I can go and spend a few hours in the garden planting things out and pruning things and I find that I'm almost a different person when I've finished. I think everyone takes their strength from different places or states; and my 'recharging place' is quiet, outside and countrified. Not that I don't like people or pubs etc. - but I don't get 'recharged' from spending time with them (as B does), I get 'recharged' from spending time on my own, talking to plants and chickens.
2. Where do you stand on such "countryside vs. town" issues as the ban on hunting with hounds?
I do feel that country communities are gradually being eroded - Post Offices shut down, bus services stopped etc. etc.. A lot of people who live in towns aspire to live in the countryside - but I think that many of them don't understand that it is a different way of life - around here for example, two or three day power-cuts aren't unusual during the winter and people just boot up the generator and get on with it.
There is quite a strong feeling that people who live in urban areas don't understand rural communities - however, they do want the benefits of country pubs and days out looking at pretty villages. Those things can't happen unless our rural communities are supported somehow, whether that's by helping them become more self-supporting again, or by direct subsidies. Farming in the UK is now very hard - because of the supermarkets and because of imports, because people generally don't think about where their food has come from and just expect it to be cheap - although I do think this is now starting to change.
The best thing that can happen for both the UK's urban and rural communities is to move back towards integrating them with one-another - the countryside is there for everyone to enjoy, but it isn't just a tourist park - it's actually an industrial landscape, geared to producing food. If more people in the UK sourced their food from our own country, then I think that a lot of these country v. town issues would disappear.
I actually think that the hunting thing is a non-issue - it had an enormous amount of parliamentary time spent on it in comparison to say, the Iraq war and in comparison was SO unimportant. It was a red-herring used by the government to distract people from real issues.
3. You and B are clearly a great partnership. How did you meet and was it love at first sight?
Well ... I was living with Crazy Tom and B was living with Xena the Warrior Princess. And Tom and Xena had a mutual friend who got married and introduced us all at her wedding in about 1996. As couples we became good friends - used to visit etc. etc.. I CAN remember standing in my lounge in about 1998 or 1999 and listening to Xena shouting at B in our kitchen and thinking 'I wouldn't talk to a dog like that, he shouldn't be with her, he should be with me' and then becoming terribly confused.
Anyway. In early 2001 I'd finally had enough of Crazy Tom yelling at me, threatening me, telling me he wasn't sure if he loved me, punching holes in doors, telling me I was shit and, finally, pushing me over the sofa. So I left. B and Xena were really supportive - they were pretty much the first people I told, both about the abuse and that I was leaving. I settled in to the Smallest House In The Village (currently for sale on eBay, incidentally, we'll pay a 5% deposit!) and started to put my life back together.
And during the autumn, B decided that he'd had enough of Xena treating him like dirt, too - same kind of thing as I had with Tom, only without the physical violence. We talked a lot and we discussed whether we were going to have a fling; but we decided that that was a crap idea. So we cut off contact for a bit whilst B sorted himself out - he went to live with his parents and I pined for him.
Just before Christmas we got back in touch and decided that we should do some dating to see whether we actually liked each other as people or whether we were just set for a few rides on the Carnal Carousel. Our first one was on 28th December, when we met up at the castle gates in Ludlow and had a fabulously romantic day wandering round. Including snogging so much under the tree round behind the castle walls that the man walking his dog felt he had to cough REALLY loudly at us. Over the next few months we talked about our expectations from life, relationships and everything else, including whether we wanted kids; and I stopped throwing up after shagging. And the rest is history, I guess. We moved in together in August 2002. Got married in April 2003. And here we are.
4. Is it at all difficult to "leave work at work" and not let it encroach on your personal relationship?
Not now. It was to start with. But during the two years R worked with us, he taught us to be more professional in the way we treated each other and that has been a lasting positive strength that has helped us both personally and professionally. It is difficult to 'switch off' sometimes - but I think that's something everyone who runs their own business experiences.
5. How far do you see the home livestock thing progressing? Are we talking herds of Aberdeen Angus, given the space?
Aberdeen Angus might be taking it a bit far. But definitely goats at some point in the next two or three years, for milk and meat. And rabbits for meat, too, probably in the next twelve months. And I would really like a pony. Or a donkey. Or even a horse. I think we'll leave all that until the baby is a bit less dependent, though ...
The rules if you want to play:
- If you want to play along and now be interviewed by me, please leave me a comment or send an email saying: "Interview me."
- I will respond by asking you five questions. I get to pick the questions.
- You will update your weblog with the answers to the questions.
- You will include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the same post.
- Then others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions and so on.