Clare Hall is a farmers wife living in Buckinghamshire. She met her farmer four years ago completely by chance when she was moving out of a rented farmhouse.
He was moving in and they met on her last day when, she says she was in her ‘cleaning clothes’ and (her words) looked dreadful when a tall dark (ok maybe more strawberry blond!) stranger knocked on the door.
They chatted for ages, swapped numbers and after a few dates Clare pretty much moved back in. What a romantic story.
The couple recently celebrated their first wedding anniversary and share their farmhouse with two retrievers; Purdey and Zoli, five hens, Norma, Hilda, Daph, Mavis, Joyce and Dave the noisy cockerel.
Clare says she had no real experience of agriculture before meeting the farmer but that her family had always been quite horsey, so she spent many years mucking out stables for friends and family.
“I can honestly say I feel I was born to be a farmers wife,” she says and this is something I can really relate to.
“I simply love it and especially this crazy harvest time of year,” she added and so do I.
Alastair, Clare’s husband, better known as ‘the farmer’ is the farm manager for Ascott Estate Farms in Buckinghamshire, a 4000+ acreage arable farm, which consists of a number of farm steadings.
This years crops have been barley, oil rape seed, wheat, oats, linseed and millet. There are a few fields out for pasture which is great as Clare says she still gets to enjoy seeing the lambs but without the hard work.
The estate is set on the Beds/Bucks border and owned by the Rothschild family and includes Ascott House a National Trust property with tea rooms and gardens, a lovely old hunting lodge with fascinating art and ceramics, which Clare says is well worth a visit.
“I’m pretty fortunate that the farmer doesn’t really rely on me as he has a great team working for him,” Clare says.
“So my main farm duties are ensuring food is always in abundance and collection/delivery of any random parts needed after a ‘breakdown’.” This is vital helping in my book.
Clare’s biggest success and challenge are really rolled into one, she created the AgriWAG’s page a few years back now, being new to agriculture she says she felt pretty green to start, but was made to feel so welcome by other farmer.s wives and girlfriends that I wanted to do something to bring agricultural ladies together.
Hence AgriWAG’s was born,
“Coming from a Marketing and Design background I still wanted to do more so I recently decided to launch Agriwags Photography.
“I have always loved photography and camera’s and been lucky enough to use photography within my marketing career and so I’ve combined my professional experience with my absolute love of dogs and horses and now specialise in outdoor pet portraits. It’s very early days and still a lot of hard work to put in, but fingers crossed.
Clare says that she thinks the biggest challenge to farming has to be the ever increasing distaste that seems to be growing within the general public.
“I’m certainly no expert but I have learnt so much over the past few years and have a greater understanding of the industry.
“I definitely think this is something that needs addressing soon, I’d like to see it going back to basics and ensuring that future generations understand where their food comes from.
“I still struggle to understand how we now have a generation of parents who don’t even have a basic knowledge or understanding of the food on their plates so what hope is there for their children?”
Clare says she would love for the general public to learn that farmers are not trying to poison you.
“Farmers farm because it’s in their blood and they love it, Clare enthuses.
“All they want is to run a successful business and to ensure the welfare of their livestock/crops etc.
“I think it really is that simple, ideas such as Open Farm Sunday, 24hours in Farming and of course country shows such as the Game Fair are brilliant and at least give the general public a small glimpse of what agriculture and the countryside are really about.
“It’s not all Shotguns and sloegin (well most of the time!)”
Clare says if she could go back in time and give herself advice, she would tell herself to stop worrying, be yourself and enjoy life …and don’t let anyone stop you from being you.
Clare says she loves the farmer most about farming-how lovely is that? She also loves harvest as, she says, it just makes her want to cook and bake and keep everybody fed. We all know hungry farmers are not happy farmers.
She also loves seeing the yearly cycle, from autumn drilling to the air of excitement and anticipation when the combine comes out.
“It’s a honour to be a part of it.”
“My least favourite parts of farming are definitely the politics, bad weather which means a grumpy farmer …oh and Dave the cockerel for his 4am wake-up calls.”