From reporting in Yorkshire to milking cows in Northern Ireland, farmer's wife writes book about relocation adventures

Holly Crawford has written a book about how she swapped her life in journalism for a sheep farm in Northern Ireland. She speaks to Laura Reid about her story.

Holly Crawford’s life took quite the unexpected turn when she moved to Northern Ireland after marrying her husband.

She went from city journalist to milker of cows, chasing stories to herding sheep. Now the 36-year-old has written a book about her adventures.

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Stuck In The Middle With Ewe: Or How I found my flock and lost my heart in Northern Ireland details how she swapped her role as a reporter in the region for a lifestyle of cow-milking, freelance writing and becoming a foster mum to lambs in the homeland of her husband, Paul Crawford, a vet and sheep farmer.

Holly Crawford has written a book about her experiences.Holly Crawford has written a book about her experiences.
Holly Crawford has written a book about her experiences.
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“In my former role as a newspaper reporter in Yorkshire and latterly as a magazine journalist and editor, I was constantly chasing stories and meeting deadlines, now I am chasing sheep and meeting cows,” Holly says.

Originally from Hertfordshire, Holly took a journalism job in Goole after university, drawn to Yorkshire in part by her love of Heartbeat.

She later worked in PR, based in York, and then started working as a reporter on a veterinary title, which led her to meet Paul in 2015, when she attended a veterinary conference and interviewed him after he won an award.

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“We hit it off straight away and it was all very romantic,” she reflects. “Paul proposed in 2019 in the conference room in which we first met.

“I said ‘yes’ straight away and we started planning our wedding for May 2020. What could possibly go wrong? Quite a lot, as it happens.”

Despite the impact of Covid-19, the couple managed to tie the knot that summer. “We had our first dance in the church car park and cut the cake in the boot of Paul’s car,” Holly recalls.

Their honeymoon was to Whitby, and a visit to The World Of James Herriot in Thirsk. “I love the James Herriot books and so it is wonderful and serendipitous that I should now be married to a vet,” Holly laughs.

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After the honeymoon, she moved in with her husband and his 200 sheep in Northern Ireland.

“Ours is a traditional love story, really, just with added cows and sheep,” she explains.

“I realised that being able to take a shorthand note or report on a news story wasn’t too helpful when standing in the middle of a field surrounded by ewes. So, I learned to deliver lambs and went to milk cows and I love it.”

Holly began writing down her adventures for her family and friends in England. Before she knew it, she had the makings of the book.

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“I wrote everything down; from learning how to milk cows to delivering my first lamb, which was an amazing but very surreal experience,” she says.

“I also write about a cast of wonderfully woolly friends, including our sheep One Ear, Squeak, Frazzle and Deck.”

She is now on with writing the next edition of her adventures on the farm for a follow-up book.

“They say there is a book in every journalist and that is probably where it should stay, but I have written one anyway,” Holly says.

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“I hope my story will make people laugh and smile, especially during these difficult times.

“I also hope it will remind them that it is never too late to make a fresh start, find true love - or learn to lamb.”

Stuck In The Middle With Ewe: Or How I found my flock and lost my heart in Northern Ireland (Conrad Press) is out now priced at £9.99.