You might remember our funny, irreverent look at some of the characters that make the British countryside what it is.
As part of the tongue-in-cheek guide to rural personas, we met some of the younger farmers amongst the community – the agric, the kids, the posh boy and the student…
Simon – the agric
Simon’s in the second year of an agricultural degree at a rural campus.
He gets drunk in the union bar and shows people his bottom.
Then he ambles back to the damp, mouse-infested cottage he shares with three friends.
“The squat”, as they call it.
His wardrobe is full of rugby tops and T-shirts that say “I’m the bull to make you full” or “I’m a top tup” on the back.
He smells of silage for weeks on end in the vacations – but scrubs up well, occasionally donning a black tie for 21st birthday parties.
He usually finds something unexpected in the pocket when he puts the jacket on – a bottle opener; a partially-decomposed item of food; and once, a bra.
Simon goes lambing at Easter, harvesting in the summer.
He works 100-hour weeks because he needs the cash.
During the vacation he lives in a caravan with six other students from other colleges.
They share clothes and kick each other out of bed in the mornings and pretend to be asleep when one of them brings back a girl.
Nick – the young farmer
Nick’s not happy. He’s back at work and, though it’s nearly a fortnight since Blackpool, he still hasn’t recovered.
He had four hours’ sleep in the whole three days – two of them on the beach.
It would have been longer, but the tide came in.
Nick travelled to the Young Farmers’ annual convention with a group of fellow club members.
It was a long, uncomfortable journey, made only slightly more bearable by the eight cans of cider.
Nick had been to Blackpool conventions before. “What’s it like?” those who were going for the first time (AGM virgins) asked.
“Like Ibiza, but cold,” he told them. It was, too.
Music blaring from pubs and clubs along the seafront, bouncers on every door.
Blackpool had to be about the only place, he reckoned, where DJs still played Right Said Fred. And it went down well.
Magnus – the practical year student
Oliver got the nickname Magnus on account of the number of questions he asks.
He wants to know why the sugar beet is drilled when it is, why cattle need trace elements and whether the office software could be updated.
The farm staff were a bit suspicious of Magnus at first, but they got to like him.
He’s 18 and harmless.
Harmless to everything except inanimate objects, that is, which he soon showed a talent for ramming, snapping or squashing.
Dung forks, trailers, hydraulic cables, tractor seats and fences have all fallen foul of Magnus.
He even misjudged the field boundary and spring tined the boss’s wife’s flowerbed.
What he lacks in experience, however, he makes up for in enthusiasm.
Sarah – the pony mad girl
Sarah can’t understand anyone who doesn’t like horses. She can’t think of anything more beautiful.
She lives, breathes and talks horses – as far as Sarah is concerned, New Zealand is a rug, not a country.
It was her mother who taught her to ride – as it’s her mother who makes her do most things.
“Grip with your knees,” she’d bellow from the end of the lunge rain as Sarah tried to master the sitting trot on Cocoa, her beloved 12.2-hand bay mare. Sarah learned to grip.
When not at school, Sarah lives in well-worn Puffa and Hunter wellies. She has a pair of long, leather boots, which she lovingly cleans but seldom wears.
Her father claims they were a waste of money. Sarah tells him she’s saving them for best.
When he feels like winding her up, Sarah’s older brother Toby teases her that she’ll get a big bum when she’s older.
“All horsey women do,” he reckons. She used to ignore him, but she’s started having doubts. She’s seen her mother from behind.
Freddie – the farming-mad five-year-old
By his fifth birthday, Freddie already had six harvests under his belt (the first one was inside his mum’s tum, but it still counts because he kicked every time they safely dispatched another trailer of grain into the store).
A child with these sort of credentials could only ever be destined for one thing – a career in agriculture.
On his first day of school, Freddie’s teacher asked the class what they wanted to be when they grew up. All the other kids put their hand up and said “astronaut”, “singer” and “football player”.
For Freddie the answer was “a farm manager with 100 head of beef cattle.”
When the teacher asked the pupils to make drawings of their pets, the display board was full of rabbits, hamsters and goldfish.
Freddie’s picture had 60 Simmental-cross cattle and the orphan lamb he’s been bottle-feeding for the past two weeks.
Freddie couldn’t work out why on earth someone would want to keep a rabbit anyway – Dad always shoots them as most of the crops are over-run with them.
Animals aside, it’s the farm machinery that really gets Freddie’s pulse racing.
Show him a roaring hulk of metal on four wheels and it’ll make him more hyperactive than all the E-numbers in a can of fizzy drink ever could.
Henry – the silver spooner
Henry is the unimpressed heir to a 4,000ha arable farming empire, contracting business, and overpriced golf club.
He is the spawn of pillars-of-the-community-type grandparents, who valiantly developed the farming side (in the family for 16 generations, it has its own crest, don’t you know), and of hard-headed parents who expanded and diversified with steely business sense.
But, alas, Henry (known to his friends as “Henners”) was the soft spot in his dear parents’ hearts, and was rather overindulged.
His red, whiskey-faced father and pearl-laced mother offered him the best private education, but to no avail – well, he was going to inherit the farm anyway wasn’t he, so why bother?
Henry (reluctantly) lives in an eight-bedroom manor house, free of charge (estate house darling).
It’s barely a cottage compared with the one his mother and father live in. Rumour has it, a TV production company is interested in filming a new costume drama in that.
This Silver Spooner, like his Spooner compatriots, is to be found on his latest John Deere beast or out checking up on “the staff” at the golf course (he likes to say “staff” with particular emphasis).
He’s not adverse to hard work, you understand – just as long as there’s not too much of it, thank you very much.