On Bank Holiday Monday the Farmer and I celebrated thirty years wed. I say celebrated, but remembered would be factually correct (memory is a cause for celebration these days). By luck festivity was already underway: the killing of the fatted calf to welcome returning offspring who arrived with their delightful new/potential family members (I will be in trouble for that). With the exception of the Student who brought laundry with her instead.
It got me thinking about fate, luck, fortune. The paths our lives take. When my family moved to the countryside (the printing company my father worked for was relocating) I embraced RURAL with all the zeal of a born-again evangelist. I joined Farm Club, milked cows and goats. Kept an imaginary horse in the garage and wrote ‘pony’ on mother’s shopping list for countless years. I plagued the family to get a dog; built straw heaps in the stubble fields with the village kids, went rabiting (I never actually got one, and I don’t recall that any of us did). I ‘rescued’ dying fledgling birds (as successful in preserving life as my rabiting exploits were in ending it); fed the chickens and visiting hedgehogs. Even, during one traumatic summer, attempted to save the entire population of myxomatosis infected bunnies. Thirty years of farming hardens you up, but I will always loathe myxomatosis.
My Mother (the Gallivanting Granny) did not find the relocation quite so delightful. She had to learn to drive again (never her favourite sport). Her own mother was now hours and miles away, rather than two quick hops on the bus, and the only bus which arrived in our village was the one which took us to school. She doesn’t love dogs, and as for horses…when my pleas for a pony were finally fruitful the little bugger we ended up with ran her into the ditch. Several times. She watched me ride cross-country once, before announcing firmly that she would never do so again. Over time she adapted of course, that is what GG does. That is what we all do when fate stirs things up.
ED has now returned to the bright London lights and is loving it there. The Engineer has joined the family farm (for which we are eternally grateful in this high-tech high-admin era). He married a city girl from Birmingham. DIL is enchanting and has slotted into the family like the piece that was missing. She rides the combine with the Engineer when she gets off work in the summer. She has a rabbit and she’s getting chickens. My nephew works for the printing company which my father followed here.
The Student? Well we don’t know yet. At the moment maybe something to do with disadvantaged children/young offenders and a rural/farm angle. Ambitions, hopes and dreams. New horizons which fate will take a hand in shaping, because fate always does.
The farmer and I met at the village youth club. I read his shyness as cool aloofness, (a red rag to the bull of a teenage passion) and pursued him relentlessly. The rest, as they say, is history.
When I visit London it makes me think about how different my life would be if that relocation hadn’t happened. I eye Londoners navigating the tube with offhand ease, and remind myself that I was so very nearly one of them (as I check and triple check that the train I’ve got on is going in the right direction). GG had fantasies of retiring there, a little flat in the Barbican maybe where she could catch a bus to all the excitement which London has to offer.
Me, I’m sticking with the fields. Happy as a pig in mud. Swine before pearls.