Over the stable door: Things you should know before dating a farmer

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IT’S BEEN hectic at home this week. My electricity was turned off for a couple of days whilst electricians got to work on the barn conversion next door.

I was sat working in my office when they finally turned it back on. Initially it sounded like an aircraft was landing in the lounge, quickly followed by a succession of explosions leaving a toxic whiff of sulphur smoke seeping my way. I ran outside barefoot, shouting at the workman to stop before the place burnt down. Looking back it may have been a slight over-reaction.

A closer inspection of the house showed little more than charred sockets but everything plugged in had literally been fried - 480 volts had accidentally surged through my house rather than the standard 240 volts. I’m left with just a toaster and fridge, and have the insurance company to deal with.

I was sent an entertaining article from a farmer’s wife recently. After 40 years of marriage she’s well qualified to offer advice on dating a farmer. They’re such a dedicated breed with an unequalled work ethic, it takes a certain type of person to cope with the lifestyle.

Farmers have no concept of time; when they say, “I’ll be 10 minutes”, don’t expect to see them for at least two hours; “Just down the road”, can mean five miles away; and if you’re asked to “give a turn with this heifer” change out of any smart clean clothes. “Just hold this gate while I bring these cattle/sheep out”, means you’ll be waiting for hours in the wet and the cold while the stock refuse to leave the field.

You can enjoy days out together but only when pouring with rain, if it’s sunny they’ll be sat on a tractor or busy fencing or digging. If you manage to drag them away for a few days don’t be upset when this involves visiting a livestock auction to “check on trade”.

Befriend a washing machine mechanic, you’ll need one when the washer gets clogged with straw, muck, hay, silage, nails and baler band; and if you want to spend quality time together, sit on the passenger seat of the tractor or don overalls to dip and wipe in the parlour.

Don’t expect to be safe if they’re driving as they’ll be too busy looking at what’s in the fields; never ask them if they love their dog or combine more than you; and if you accept your farmer’s hand in marriage you will understand and accept the sheep sales take precedence over your honeymoon.