Meet our fictional therapist Farmer Frank. He’s not qualified, not experienced and, according to some, not all there. But every month he dispenses no-nonsense (OK, not entirely nonsense) rural remedies on matters of health, of the heart and of hard cash:
Q How can I stop my neighbour’s cockerel waking us up every morning?
A 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.
A I sympathise. I know how disconcerting piles can be.
Q How can I cure my phobia of crowds?
A Remember, statisically you’re no more in danger in a crowd than on your own. Unless, of course, you get trampled to death or crushed so you die by asphyxiation, one of the most painful ways imaginable to be killed.
Q I fear our local livestock market may be due to close. How can I help ensure its survival?
A It’s like all village services. You have to adopt a policy of “use it or lose it”. I’ve been enthusiastically doing this with our village pub for years. It’s very important if you don’t want to lose it, to use it at lunchtime and in the evening.
Q We’ve been getting birds in the grain store. Is this bad?
A Depends whether they’ve had blokes with them.
Q What’s going to happen to wheat prices?
A They’re definitely going to go up. Unless they go down. Or stay level.
Q My old German Shepherd has taken a fancy to a couple of orphan lambs. Is that unusual?
A No. Many dogs love lambs, but they should be properly cooked.
Q What time of year do you get cobnuts at?
A At my age, you get them all year round unfortunately.
Q What will you be giving up for lent?
A Cigarettes. After lent, I’ll be back on 40 a day though.
Q Is it true that for health reasons you shouldn’t sit more than a certain amount of time in front of a computer without a break?
A Yes. I work on a policy of 20 minutes in front of it, six months away from it.
Q How can I stop my children eating too much chocolate over Easter?
A Fill them up on something else first – like crisps.