Sunday evenings. A reflective time for eating some meat smothered in gravy in front of the TV. I look forward to each weekly edition of “Countryfile” on BBC one, indulging in my hearty roast on a lap tray thinking how typically British of me. However I found myself thinking the same thing I do every week, “what is so appealing about this program?” Well fellow Britons, I will tell you for why.
The countryside has always appealed to me. I love the idyllic fantasy of owning an old farm-house surrounded by rolling fields of green, majestic emerald woodlands and a glistening stream, trickling down from the mountains far in the distance. A small flock of sheep nibble the frost covered grass and chickens roam the mud-ridden pastures. I collect the fresh eggs my girls have laid and show my appreciation by feeding them leftovers and peelings from my homemade stew bubbling away in the slow-cooker. Back to my country kitchen I toddle to scramble some eggs on the hob of my Range and so on and so forth.
Fantasies aside, deep down I realise that this way of life would quickly become a chore. Trudging through mud and animal poo in torrential rain and 70 mph winds at 5am every morning is not depicted on Countryfile, yet my longing to be one of the presenters lives on.
It’s not all countryside frolics and jollity though! Oh no. Matt Baker and his team scour the most beautiful parts of the UK, including quaint chocolate box villages and seaside towns. “Beautiful”, I think to myself whilst scoffing a dumpling from an Iceland’s own brand freezer pack (which, by the way, cook in just 4 minutes don’t you know). Look at those wild ponies on the Moors looking windswept and statuesque whilst presenter-lady reports on the climate; the biting cold wind proving no match for her long flowing locks of golden hair, the mud adding a “worn” edge to her what I like to call “Horsey Boots”. Her bare face looking rosy and glowing makes me release a disheartening sigh.
Yeah right. Hold the phone! What’s actually stopping me from going on a Countryfile quest of my own? Nothing I tell thee! I put my broccoli-clad fork down on to my plate and research my brilliant idea online. A self-catering cottage in St Ives or a cosy little guest house in the Lake District, fabulous. I’d leave the craziness of the world behind for a few days and surround myself with natural beauty. I’ll take my wellies, my Peter Storm and an Ordnance survey map that I have no idea how to read. I’ll sample local beer brewed by nice old man called George and enjoy his wife’s beetroot jam on her homemade bread. I could explore the local harbour and watch fishermen sing their shanties as they pull in their fresh crabs.
One of my many goals for 2013 is to have a short “staycation” in beautiful England. Somewhere that I have never been before. No longer will I sit munching my Co-Op gammon joint accompanied by boiled sprouts watching the Countryfile presenters swan around feeding new born lambs. I’ll survive the wilderness and live an isolated existence in a small community where everyone knows my name. Where the biggest news I would hear is that Malcolm and June from the other side of the village have grown an unusual batch of Yellow Courgettes this season.
After I complete my mission, I may decide to stay in a Yurt or perhaps an Eco-Pod, whatever they are. I’ll create my own compost heap from banana skins and power my electricity supply from decomposing yoghurt pots. But for now I’ll return to my pre-packed dumplings and frozen peas and carrots. Hope that gravy stain comes out in the wash.