The Beginners Guide to Country Bumpkin Life

Living in the country always brings its challenges. Last night as we were settling in for the night, Hubby went out front to put the rubbish out only to be confronted with a river where our drive usually is. The rain had been heavy, but we didn’t think there had been enough for the pond at the top of the hill to burst. Thankfully the floodwaters have subsided and hopefully our cottage is safe.

Cue mild panic, knocking on neighbors doors and remaining thankful that we were too lazy to put the sandbags away from the front door after they were delivered a month back. We’ve lived our little country cottage life for 3.5 years now and it has taught me many things.

1. Wellies – essential for country living, even better if they come in a funky pattern. I do wear my wellies quite a lot and last night amongst the sandbags and floodwater they decided to leak leaving me with a very soggy right foot. I now have my eye on some equally funky coloured Hunter wellies.

2. Candles – come to our house and you’ll find them everywhere along with random placed boxes of matches. Power cuts are a regular occurrence, though thankfully not as bad as they used to be. During lengthy power cuts it has been known for all of us to huddle around nextdoor’s gas BBQ making cups of tea. Who said the British resilience and love of tea was dead?

3. Mice/voles/rats – I have to admit I’ll never get used to little furry friends coming to visit. Thankfully Hubby isn’t bothered about them at all Although they may be cute tiny field mice looking for somewhere dry and warm I still don’t like them. I’m sitting here on the sofa freezing cold waiting for hubby to return from work as I’m too scared to get near the fire just in case Bob the mouse (our most recent furry friend who jumped out from behind to coal bucket) makes a reappearance.

We have humane traps and release our furry friends at a place called Percy’s Corner, named after the first furry friend we caught. Percy had quite refined tastes only liking to snack on pistachio & Brazil nuts plus…our sofa. More recently the mice have been under the sink. These however have less refined tastes and like to eat candles and washing powder. They are probably having a little rave under the sink high on various domestic products. Forget cocaine, get yourself to Chez Derbyshire and get high on Persil.

4. 2 wet jackets – If I was a hardcore country bumpkin I would have a Barbour jacket, but I’m yet to reach that status so make do with a Craghopper and Berghaus jacket. My old Craghopper is used for the coal bunker/ firk-out-the-drains-to-stop-the-house-flooding type of jobs. And the Berghaus? for everything else.

5. A dog or 2 – Now to be a true country bumpkin you should own a dog, but considering I have a mild phobia of dogs (plus as much as I love walking I couldn’t be doing with walking them everyday), we make do with next doors door who keep us both entertained. One thinks he is human and the other eats anything and everything.

7. Lighting a fire – I’m becoming quite a pro at lighting a fire, okay not to the extent of a Ray Mears stylee rubbing two sticks together job, but Hubby is often impressed with the fires I make…as long as Bob the mouse hasn’t popped in to say hello. I have discovered that babybel wax (my foodie shame) make great firelighters.

9. Fleecy blankets & hot water bottles – for the time when Bob makes a reappearance and your too scared to go near the coal bucket or when you can’t be bothered going outside to fill the coal bucket and make a fire.

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