Thursday, September 27, 2012
The farmer wants a wife.
When I first met my husband, he was not a farmer. Oh no, he was quite the urban dwelling, Welsh backpacker in fact. He ate in cafes and caught public transport and had to drink at least 2 lattes before making any sense of the mornings. He went to gigs and rented a flat and there was no mention of sheep until at least the third date. He was a farmer in disguise. As I sat watching the season finale of Farmer Wants a Wife, I really did wonder if the “winners” knew what they were getting themselves in to. As Welshie so eloquently put it: “What do they win? They get to marry a farmer? That’s rubbish!” Meeting and marrying my farmer, was actually even more complex than living with two other girls vying for my boyfriends attention, as per the Farmer Wants a Wife formula. We met in Melbourne. On the beach. He was handsome and hilarious; a dangerous combination for someone who loves alliteration almost as much as handsome and hilarious men. On that first night, he told me about his homeland, about the green grass in the valleys and the enthusiastic attempts to maintain the Welsh language. “Cariad” he called me, sweetheart, beloved, and by the end of the evening, I wondered what the welsh words were for “I want to quit my job and move to Wales.” We courted. At least that’s how I put it on his Spousal Visa application a year later. We courted and most certainly did not spend 4 months in bars and bed until a whoops-a-daisy pregnancy turned the romantic fantasy of moving half way across the world into a three week long panic attack as I resigned, moved out of my apartment and followed him home. Oh no, what I wrote on that application was that I fell in love with him and the Google Street View images of his village. That once over there, he started farming again with his father and uncle and brother and when he proposed one day, in the kitchen, I just had to say yes. I didn’t write about the fact that when I called him from hospital two days after our daughter was born, he did not answer his phone. That he was feeding sheep. Correct. I was in a strange country with a two day old baby that was not into sleeping much, in a hospital recovering from a c-section with my family and friends half a world away and he was feeding some sheep. Baaaaa-stard. It was lambing season apparently. How silly of me not to consider that when I accidently got pregnant 9 months before in St bloody Kilda. I didn’t write about his uncle having a motor bike accident on the hill of the farm when I was 8 months pregnant and watching the helicopter ambulance arrive, privately wondering if that’s how I would be getting to hospital if the baby came early (his uncle recovered by the way.) I didn’t write about sheep having some sort of weird enzyme or something that makes them dangerous to be around if you are pregnant which is AWESOME when staying on a sheep farm. I didn’t write about the fact that visiting Collingwood Children’s farm in no way prepares a Melbourne born and bred woman for participating in debates about fox hunting and the general stench that is produced by hound dogs gathering en mass around the corner from her house. I certainly didn’t write about the amount of cow poo I hoovered off the carpet over the year that I was living there. Or that cows are massive and a bit scary up close. And that sometimes they chase you. I didn’t write that I wore beautiful leather boots that I had recently purchased in Paris on my way over to Wales, into a stinking shed filled with cows and their poop and that they, and myself, were never the same again. There were the amazing parts to it too though. Hearing him talk about birthing lambies and actually getting to cuddle them once our daughter was born and out of harms way. And his practical hands knocking up a shoe rack, a chair, a garden wall at a moments notice. The incredible landscape, my goodness, the hills and the sunshine and the salmon filled river that ran next to our house. The knowledge that should we ever need to reverse a tractor through a small village, that I have just the man for the job. Oh and his nieces; three little girls living across the field from us who stole my heart almost as quickly as their uncle did. And his parents, the sweetest, kindest, most generous people I have ever met. Then there’s the village community that embraced me and our baby and who could tell me stories about my husband as a child as they sat on bar stools with their green gum boots covered in muck. The village pub where we’d spend every date night as frankly, there was nowhere else to go and no where else we would rather be. The puppies, the country walks, the teeny village school, the smiles from strangers, the snowflakes, the patchwork of light playing across the mountains as the sun went down.... Now however, we have settled back into city life in Melbourne. I do have to occasionally remind Welshie that our daughter is a human kid and not a sheep, as he wrangles her on her change mat, trying to pin all four limbs at once. And also, you need to stop at red lights. And don’t talk to strangers. Annoyingly, he won’t let me get Little Cwtch a pet rabbit for her first birthday-as they say, you can take the boy out of the farm.... I wonder what my daughter absorbed of her time in Wales. Weather she will take her dual citizenship back there one day and meet a man with impossibly green eyes and a sing song accent that will show her how to feed a horse without getting bitten and one day bring home a box full of tiny puppies and sit by the fire using a hair dryer to revive them. A farmer’s son. I secretly hope so. She should be so lucky.