I decided to do a couple of Google searches the other day. First I typed in “what is a cricket widow?” and Google immediately responded with “a woman who sees her husband so infrequently during cricket season (because he is always at a match) that she is effectively a widow”.
I tried my next question: “What is a combine widow?” but Google was completely baffled.
I think I will have to write a Wikipedia page to set the record straight. After all, this is a phenomenon that afflicts many farmer’s wives and it’s surprising that there’s no reference to it in cyberspace. Although it’s also strangely comforting that there is some human activity which remains beyond the reach of the behemoth search engines.
So for the benefit of Google, Yahoo and Bing, here are some tips for your little web crawlers to digest…..
You wake up and go to bed alone
You suspect you’re a combine widow when you wake up and go to sleep alone in a king sized bed, and listen all day to the distant drone of harvesting machinery. Your suspicions are confirmed when you occasionally see a bristly face which has considerably overstepped the mark from designer stubble and now needs a government health warning as it strongly resembles a porcupine’s backside.
You leave plates of food for the mystery man who might occasionally materialise to consume them, but you usually blink and miss his rare visits to the house. You can see he’s been in the bathroom late at night by the dusty ring he leaves behind in the bathtub and is too tired to clean up. His clothes are covered in dust almost as thick as the aftermath of a volcanic eruption or an African sandstorm.
For the combine widow, Hubby becomes an elusive and mystical figure for a few weeks, rather like Father Christmas as he is only around in the dead of night.
But let’s look at it from the farmer’s point of view for a moment. Unlike Father Christmas, who flies through the sky and is universally welcomed by the public, Shropshire Farmer sometimes has to tackle the A49 on his combine harvester, where motorists display varying reactions to his presence.
Some give him the thumbs up, appreciative of his efforts to feed the great British nation, while others gesticulate rudely, with an impatient one or two fingered “salute”. Poor Shropshire Farmer. He is only doing what farmers have to do…..