I’m only a Farmer

Those were the words my husband said when I told him that he would easily find work when we moved.

He was worried that no one would employ him, the words “I’m only a farmer” ringing loud against the silent room, me stunned that he would think he was only a farmer.

I wonder if farmers the world over think the same? Having only been a farmer, worked for himself, never that outside world letting him know just how skilled he is.

He couldn’t see it then, back before we moved, but he can see it now.

He is skilled, and highly skilled at that. The amount of skills, once listed, are immense. He had never stopped to think about it really, never thought that doing the thing he loved day in and day out was actually providing him with the skills to work in so many occupations.

When we first moved my husband joined the local CFS within the first week. He has always been a member so naturally would join where ever we ended up living. People asked questions – Where you from? What did you do up there? The next night after his first training at the new group, the phone calls started.

There was an experienced farmer moved into the district!!!

My husband had planned to take a bit of time off when we moved just to chill out. Perhaps he should have waited a week or two before he mentioned what he was 🙂
There are people lined up waiting for him to work for them, its great not only work wise, but great for my husband to know that YES he is highly skilled and that people like him are sought after and needed by others.

So yes he is ‘Only a Farmer” but a bloody highly skilled sought after one like they all are.

2 thoughts on “I’m only a Farmer

  1. Hi there,

    Doing a little browsing on farm blogs, I came accross yours and greatly enjoyed it.

    I thought you might be interested in a blog I run, called http://www.aplaceintheauvergne.blogspot.com Under the first photo post of every day are articles from the International Herald Tribune concerning agriculture, food, and water.

    I’m also the author of a book called ‘A Place in My Country: In Search of a Rural Dream’ which might also interest you too. (For some reviews, please see below.) http://www.amazon.co.uk/Place-My-Country-Search-Rural/dp/0753823888/ref=pd_sbs_b_title_14

    Good luck with your venture,
    Kind regards,



    (Weidenfeld & Nicolson, hardcover July 2007; Phoenix paperback May 1, 2008)

    ‘Stressed city couple seeks slower life in Cotswolds idyll’. The premise is so familiar there’s even a predictably technical term for it: ‘downshifting’. Yet it’s hard to think in those terms about A Place in My Country, given the care with which Ian Walthew has skirted all the sprung traps of nostalgia and sentiment. A thoughtful observer and magpie-ish collector of oral history, Walthew has a sharp sense of the absurdities and the assets of his native land, reinforced by years living overseas. In his country life, escaped cows and the hunt ball jostle for space with barn raves and hawkish property developers. Avoiding the usual bland elegy for the rustic and redemptive, his book is a valuable memoir, both personal and social, a meditation on belonging in one of many Englands.’

    The Observer

    ‘I have been reading about the British countryside all my life but this is the first post-modern take on a national asset so routinely taken for granted. Author Ian Walthew takes a 12-inch plough to the cosy complacency that so many apply to the subject and reveals that 21st century rural life is not a place for the genteel – in a corner of Gloucestershire most commonly viewed by outsiders from their 4x4s as they hurry to overpriced weekend retreats, he finds a farming heartbeat that is proud and defiant, defended by a cast of characters that outshine The Archers. A revelation of a book.’

    Tim Butcher

    Author of Blood River: A Journey to Africa’s Broken Heart

    (Galaxy Book of the Year 2008, 3rd Prize Winner)

    ‘Far from being an idealistic paen to the English countryside, the book becomes a hard-edged and moving account of life rural Britain today.’

    Sunday Times

    ‘a poignant portrait of country life….the book could have been a rollicking, laugh-a-minute riff on ignorant townies having to ask what exactly a heifer is. There are certainly some fine comic episodes.. but it quickly turns into something more sombre – and more interesting…His beautifully written book is an elegy for an England that is dying, or at least in terminal decline.’

    Daily Telegraph

    ‘When stressed out media exec Ian Walthew panic buys a Cotswold cottage as an escape route from the urban treadmill, he unwittingly acquires a window on a corner of rural Britain at work and at play, and his writer’s eye sees just what’s going on. Walthew has a genuine gift for bringing both people and places to life and marshals his runaway real life narratives with a novelist’s skill. The story of his surprising friendship with his neighbour Norman – who is trying to keep his ramshackle farm and his dignity together with a few strands of baler twine, while his millionaire neighbours embrace the prairie concept of modern industrial farming – is compelling and often deeply moving. And Walthew’s own struggle with age-old issues of identity, friendship, community and a place to call home are fresh, sympathetic and never trying. It’s not the sort of book you’d pick up expecting a page-turner, but that’s exactly what it turn’s out to be.’

    Hugh-Fearnley Whittingstall

    ‘Ian Walthew was a newspaper executive with a career that took him round the world, who one day did a mad thing. He saw a for-sale sign on a cottage in the Cotswolds, bought it, resigned and moved in. For the first few weeks he just lay on the grass in a daze. Then he started talking to his neighbours and digging into the rich history of this beautiful part of England. Out of his inquiries grew this affecting and inspiring memoir.

    What sets it apart from others of its ilk is the author’s enviable immunity to cliché and his determination to love his homeland better than he used to. His elegiac account of relearning how to be an Englishman should be required reading for anyone who claims to know or love this country.’

    Financial Times

    ‘Having lived and worked abroad as a director of the International Herald Tribune for most of his adult life, Walthew, along with his Australian wife, Han, made a snap decision, aged 34, to buy a house in Gloucestershire, and embrace life in the country.

    This is familiar territory, but Walthew combines his own story – coming to terms with the untimely deaths of his father and brother – with that of the land and the people who make up village life.

    Funny, touching and ultimately very moving, this is a beautiful, unsentimental account of a personal loss that is reflected in the rapidly changing texture of life in rural England.’

    Sunday Telegraph

    ‘Even peripheral characters…really come to life; as does the beauty of the Cotswolds and the harsh realities it conceals. A Place in My Country is an edifying consideration of the English countryside, its rich history and its attempt to adapt in today’s world’

    Times Literary Supplement

  2. Can you see me here below Ian’s enormous comment??

    Hello!!! So glad to hear things are starting again with something positive… my story is a little bit different to yours (well, the bits of yours I have read) in that I grew up on the land, left it for many years, and have recently returned with my own family. It was horribly drought-stricken when we arrived 18 months ago, and we wondered what the hell we had done. Then it rained. Not drought-breaking, but grass rain. It rained hope. We have cattle so its a little more forgiving than crops – as long as you still have some animals!

    Wishing your family health and happiness (and less stress!).

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