1. Cook. The way to a man’s heart may well be through his stomach and this can never be better highlighted than with a farmer. Beans on toast just will not cut it. Ever. Meat and two veg is always a winner and don’t try veering off the traditional path-the cous cous night is etched on my memory forever more.
2. Keep the windows up in your car when you get out or, if you brave it, do check before you drive off. Our farm cat has been on a great many adventures including trips to the village with workmen who haven’t noticed her curled up on the passenger seat. I’ve found her in the infant car seat. She can fit through a two inch gap. She’s even nestled on the pram when I opened the boot.
3. Rethink your footwear options. Suede, heels, flip flops, white shoes. The list can be added to forever more. Certain things just do not mix with mud, dust, straw and slurry.
4. Like shoes, there are also clothing limitations-anything white is a no-no and in winter, it is all about the layers to keep warm.
5. Check your wellies before you put your feet in them. Best case scenario would be nothing in there. Worst case a spider, slug or mouse. Someone told me their kids had to take their wellies into school for something and a mouse ran out of them in the class room. Always worth checking.
6.If you happen to go somewhere on the farm with a farmer, try and make sure you drive. Obviously if you’re in a tractor and they won’t let you drive it, there may be a problem but be warned. If you are in the passenger seat, you will be required to get out and open gates.
7.Leading on from the last point, if you go through a closed gate, do not leave it open. You’ve seen the signs. Please close the gate. We don’t want sheep or cows escaping and, if they do and it’s your fault the gate was left open, expect to have to chase the animals yourself.
8. Prepare for the unexpected. If something happens, you will be roped in. Never rounded up sheep before? No problem. Orders will be barked at you. The air maybe blue but no one escapes helping out when it is needed.
9. Don’t make plans. Day trip and holidays will no longer be booked in advance. Everything happens spontaneously on the farm and, usually when it rains.
10. Lower your cleanliness expectations. You could mop the floor of a farm kitchen 100 times a day but muddy foot and paw prints will still find their way onto you floor. You learn to live with it.