One of the first locals we met, and chatted too, was a true ‘old boy’ and he arrived at about 7.30am one morning to collect hay bales from our fields. He had previously rented the fields for hay from the last owner. Driving his red tractor he pulled up as soon as he saw me, and got down to say hello. I’m not going to guess his actual age, but genuinely looking anything between 70 and 110, wearing a fishing hat, thick jumper and actually chewing with a piece of hay sticking out of his mouth. All day. If you were going to draw a five year old child a picture of farmer - this was your guy. To me he was very sweet and polite, exceptionally broad accent hampering our conversation a little but we got there in the end.
Back and forth he drove for the day, taking two bales at a time, two miles down the road to his house. A pink house he said, with a farm of cattle and sheep.
It was the first time it dawned on me the pace of here is just that - things will get done, they will take time but get done. His name was Charlie and eventually over the course of the day the entire family met him, and has their own little story of what he said - not always got very politically correct views has Farmer Charlie.
I have to say, if you needed anything, if you needed something towed or hauled, or baled, Charlie would help you out. Not very quickly but he certainly would. He has no mobile, first person for years to give me a landline number. His wife will take a message you see…
I confess to getting the giggles when he said where he lived. Theres a funny sketch Micheal Macintyre does about moving to the country, in which he asks why country people feel the need to call in on new neighbours, and tell them where they live. They don’t, he says, use normal addresses to do this, but say things like ‘I live in the big white house by the church’ Of course Charlie said he lives in the pink house down the road and that was me chuckling, thinking of this very sketch.
Questioning Farmer Charlie about who owns what land around here, he told us about Farmer John (am eternally grateful these are such common names and I can't be done for liable) Apparently Farmer John owns lands around ours, farmer John is, according to Farmer Charlie, ‘very old’, about 70. Given that surely Charlie is at least that age, its funny that Charlie sees John as old and not himself.
Farmer John doesn't farm anymore but still owns all the land. I got the impression Charlie’s not that keen on Farmer John, or maybe he despairs of farmers who give up farming? But we should go and meet him, apparently.
Leaving me a free giant bale of hay at the end of the day, I think Charlie went home to tell the neighbours he’s met the English people, - the lady with the ponies he called me. Suspect he told them he couldn't understand most of what I was saying either. ;)