Read our ‘Breakfast’ competition winner’s story

You’ve told us about bacon, bullocks, family celebrations, family arguments, local food, local characters, sausages, school runs, errant collies, errant relatives, Agas, wellies, prize livestock, dead livestock, escaped livestock. You name it, someone wrote about it in our ‘Breakfast in our Farmhouse’ competition.

Thanks to all who entered – we’ve loved every one of your pieces.

Don’t be too disappointed if you’re not among those featured here – we had over 150 entries.

Don’t forget you can write about a whole range of topics – and read the experiences of others – on our website forums. 

It’s a place to have your say and meet like-minded people. Go to

Your entries have proved a wonderful, fascinating snapshot of what life is like on a farm at the start of the 21st century. After many hours of reading, Bella Hall has been named the winner and she’ll now be writing a monthly column for Farmlife. Enjoy her article – and the runner-up’s story

Winning story – by Bella Hall

Okay, I know, I know. We don’t have an Aga, we rarely have a cooked breakfast, we don’t have a dog (at the moment) and our eggs aren’t our own (yet). Call yourselves a farming family, I hear you cry.

bella hall + charlie“Breakfast“. Mmmm. Thud, thud, thud. Our three-year-old, Charlie, runs and leaps into our bed any time between 5 and 6 o’clock. We are jolted into action. My husband, Dave, the farmer, jumps (this during the light spring/summer months) or crawls (during the pitch black, icy-nose mornings) out of bed. Right now, it’s definitely a crawl, accompanied by mutterings about the price of oil, the weather and occasionally the odd expletive as he trips over one of Charlie’s toys abandoned on the floor.

Dave is also nursing a cracked rib, sustained during a tussle with a large cow. While this is keeping him awake at night, obviously he hasn’t had it checked by the medical profession. They couldn’t possibly tell him anything he doesn’t already know, could they?

Downstairs, he recovers himself quickly, coaxing the fire in the kitchen back to life (see, we do live in a real farmhouse), making tea for me – thank goodness I married a morning person – and coffee for himself strong, to combat the day ahead.

We consume these while grunting through our plans for the day. The phone goes. This will be the feeder wagon out of action at the dairy. So then he’s gone. It’s amazing how quickly a farmer can leave the house. Get up, put on clothes left lying on floor from previous day – his bit to save the planet – grab mobile, sling on overalls, coat and wellies. Leave house. Simple.

Meanwhile, Charlie needs his bottom wiping, the shower is not working, Evie can’t find her socks and Will, the eldest, is already downstairs spilling porridge all over the kitchen.

bella hall in armchair 2

Eventually, we all arrive downstairs in various states of dress, or undress in the case of Charlie. After three years of battle, he is best left to his own devices at this stage. Generally, he has no desire to eat breakfast at seven o’clock in the morning. Who can blame him?

William has polished off his porridge, closely followed by a yoghurt and is debating whether to go for toast or squeeze in some time in front of the television or computer, whichever he can get away with. Evie is denying she asked for Shreddies and insists she has Rice Krispies instead, Charlie needs the toilet again, I remember a packed lunch is needed today, Will remembers he needs cake for a cake stall but biscuits will do.

So, yes. What has happened to that fantastic vision of the farming family gathered around the table, the dog warming himself by the Aga, the smell of sizzling sausages, eggs and bacon? Weekends maybe? Occasionally, but still there are cows to feed, the pigeons to chase, the rabbit traps to check, hockey to get to, the birthday party… Some may say there is always time for that cooked breakfast, but, hey, I was brought up on brown bread and fruit by parents who were obviously way ahead of their time. Sorry, kids.


See the 27 February issue of Farmers Weekly for the three best of the rest and a selection from other entries.

Our top three of the rest:

  • Sarah Heath of Staffordshire
  • Barbara Welford of North Yorkshire
  • Rachael Madeley of Denbighshire