Farm holidays, visiting the country and living like a proper country bumpkin. They are very popular you know.
As a former-townie, I thought I would let you into a few secrets for packing for a trip to the farm. I wouldn’t want you making the same mistakes I made.
So here is my definitive list.
1. Appropriate footwear. Flip flops will not cute it. Ever. From hens pecking your toe nails to thorns in your heels, wear sandals at your own risk. Take wellies or, if you visit in summer, full shoes or boots. If your feet suffer in heat, wear old shoes which you will not mind throwing away on your return. If you visit in winter, wellies are the only thing to take.
2. Layers. Whichever season you visit, a variety of layers will stand you in good stead. In winter, natural fibres like wool and tweed are the warmest and coats with hoods are a godsend because you probably won’t want to be carrying can umbrella around with you.
3. Insect repellent. The countryside is full of insects. I know quelle horreur. Horse flies in the summer are actually the devil. They hurt when they bite and ticks send shivers down my spine so be prepared to spray some lovely repellent on your whole body.
4. Dog treats. I don’t know any farms that don’t have dogs and, if you want to be their best friends, take them some goodies for getting on their best side. Ask the owners first though.
5. Binoculars. For searching fields, spotting rods and wildlife or seeing the farmer’s wife hanging out washing in her nightie. You don’t want to miss out on anything in the great outdoors.
6. A Camera. Like binoculars, you can take photos of the amazing things you have seen-possibly not the farmer’s wife in her nightie but you get the idea.
7. Sun cream. I often thing you catch the sun in the countryside more than you do at the beach but maybe it is more to do with the time you spend outside when staying on a farm.
8. Enough changes of clothes. Season dependent (again) and of course your plans whilst on the farm, take enough clothes to change at least once a day. If ou are taking children, unless you are happy to let them get muddy, either take enough clothes or check if there is a washing machine where you are staying. If your children are anything like mine, mud and dirt is like a magnet to them.
9. Your bike. Take advantage of your beautiful surroundings and get on two wheels. Remember the points above though as I always find cycling seems to make you much more attractive to insects.
10. Ear plugs. If you are not used to the countryside, don’t think it is all peace and tranquility. Cattle can be quite noisy-especially if calves have been taken off their mothers. Likewise lambing can mean a lot of bleating sheep. Then add cockerels cock-a-doodle-doing at the crack of dawn and an early chorus of chirruping birds to rival a nightclub in terms of decibels, and you may need another hour in bed. Ear plugs will drown out any unwelcome sounds.
11. An Open Mind. Don’t forget to pack this. It maybe the most important thing you take. From escaped animals to inquisitive wildlife and farming families, take most things with a pinch of salt and you will be in for a lovely time.