Our resident Agony Uncle (in his 70s himself) has ruffled a few feathers since he began dispensing his homespun wisdom. After all, he’s not qualified, not experienced and, according to some, not all there. In fact, some people are convinced he still thinks it’s 1934.
But he’s become a cult figure with readers, regularly dispensing no-nonsense (OK, not entirely nonsense) rural remedies on a range of issues – here are some of his musings
Q I’m trying to impress a lady. Any suggestions?
Take her for a day out. Something romantic, something she’ll never forget. Possibly the Grassland and Muck event. Then tell her how much she means to you in the wet muck area.
Q Ever since I was young, I’ve been terrified of geese. We have two geese living in the farmyard. Every day is a trauma. Any suggestions?
Yes, goose with sausage, onion and garlic stuffing.
Q What time of year do you get cobnuts?
At my age, you get them all year round unfortunately.
Q We are considering diversifying into bed and breakfast. What will we need?
I’d suggest a bed. And some breakfast.
Q I’ve heard it said that watching adult films can spice up your sex life. Is this true?
The missus and me tried it once and it certainly didn’t work for us. There again, the only video we had was The Best of The Antiques Roadshow.
Q I’m terrified of flying and it means my husband and I can’t take the holiday of a lifetime we’ve always promised ourselves to New Zealand.
Think positively. What’s the worst thing that can happen? Other than the plane developing a mechanical problem 30,000ft over the Pacific, of course, and every passenger on board plunging to their death.
Q I am going to France this summer but am worried about the food – will we have to eat snails?
It’s a misconception that the French eat lots of snails. That’s a simplistic and, dare I say it, xenophobic attitude. Everyone knows it’s songbirds the froggies eat.
Q I was bitten by a dog last spring and the same dog bit me in the summer. It also bit me in the back-end. What should I do?
The back-end is a bad place to get bitten. I should know, I once got nipped there by an Airedale.
Q My wife has got crow’s feet. Can she get rid of them?
Dunno, I never touch Chinese food myself.
Q My boyfriend keeps asking if he can take me to the hay barn. Do I need to consider protection?
Yes, I can’t emphasise too strongly the importance of protection. Hay spores can be very dangerous for your lungs, so you should wear a mask.
Q My son, Tarquin, is asking about visiting the zoo, but I am uncomfortable about the subliminal messages I may be sending about mankind’s abuse of our natural environment and arrogant attitude to the species with which we share the earth.
Forget that, the polar bears are brilliant.
Q How can I stop my neighbour’s cockerel waking us up every morning?
Like all problems, there’s no substitute for an honest face-to-face exchange to talk through the issues and come to a mutually satisfactory conclusion. Be a damn sight quicker to just take it out with a .410 one night, though.
Q We have a fly-tipping problem. Every morning I discover a new pile of rubbish.
I sympathise. I know how disconcerting piles can be.
Q A neighbour was having such problems with people wandering on his land he blocked a footpath with a pile of manure. What’s your view?
Blocking a designated footpath with manure is an appalling thing to do. After all, walkers could simply step round a pile of manure. To be really effective, large agricultural implements should have been put there.
Q My wife is learning the piano and it’s driving me mad. She practises every night and I can’t sleep because of the sound of her tinkling on the keyboard.
My old dad once tinkled on the keyboard. There again, he once tinkled on the carpet, too. And the stairs. Bladder problems run in the family. Literally.
Q I’m in dispute with a neighbour over the cost of repairs to a barn that our families have always shared. They want it re-roofed, but this would be too costly for us.
Property law on issues like this is a minefield, drawing on case law and local custom. The best advice I can give you is to consult a solicitor. Or to sneak out there one night and raze the damn thing to the ground with a back-actor.
Q I want to be the first woman president of the NFU. What do I need to do to get elected?
I was talking about this very subject with my niece the other day. She was talking about the so-called “glass ceiling” for women. Not sure if it was the right time for her to be rattling on about interior design when we were supposed to be having a serious chat about careers and sexism.
Q I’m a teenager who likes playing chess and watching history programmes. I worry I’m not normal.
Everyone’s different – that’s what makes the world such a wonderful diverse place. Frankly, though, you do sound a bit of a freak.
Q My daughter’s guinea pig has just died. To make things worse, it’s her birthday this weekend. How should we approach the situation?
Combine a pet funeral with a birthday barbecue. They’re a delicacy in Papua New Guinea, you know.
Q Our farmhouse roof is sagging and hangs low with a faded mottled damp colour.
I know the feeling.
Read more from Farmer Frank
You can read more of Farmer Frank’s ramblings at www.fwi.co.uk/frank or replay two of his live online surgeries at www.fwi.co.uk/franksurgery and http://www.fwi.co.uk/Articles/2008/06/19/110911/farmer-frank-read-the-transcript-of-his-live-chat.html
And if you love Farmer Frank why not join his Facebook page here.