Lyn Alderson

Copywriter, Journalist, Blogger

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My hairy little friends

Do you hate spiders? I used to dislike them a lot more before I moved into our big, rambling farmhouse.

Years ago I would go on to red alert when a spider appeared. I wasn’t a full-blown arachnophobe, but I felt uneasy. If they were really big, hairy, black specimens then I couldn’t deal with them myself and would petition a braver soul to evict them from my vicinity.

picture by Brian Fagan

picture by Brian Fagan

Now I hardly bat an eyelid at even the biggest granddaddy spider. Okay, I wouldn’t like it to crawl all over my naked body, and I’m not volunteering for I’m a Celebrity, but I feel a lot braver than before.

It’s what psychologists call exposure therapy. Most people have to pay for this, or access it through the NHS, but I get it free on the farm. There are so many spiders here, I’m actually a bit bored with them. Bring on the tarantula- that might get me screaming!

Harmless inhabitants

Frankly, there are probably hundreds of spiders living in our house- they certainly seem intent on building Web City 24-7- but I see them as part of the furniture now.

Farmhouse living room, spider free

No signs of spiders in our living room today…but they’re in here somewhere!

And actually, they are quiet little creatures which bother nobody. Not like the raucous murder of crows which descended on the farm a week ago. There were literally hundreds of crows flying overhead all day long, making enough noise to wake the dead, and drowning out the sweet sound of our other native birds.

Scarey Man on the job

So we set up a Scarey Man. No, not my husband!!! He couldn’t scare a fly, he’s far too nice. For all the townies reading this, a Scarey Man is an inflatable scarecrow, which leaps up in the air every 20 minutes or so. It’s hilarious, but the crows think it’s the Devil Incarnate.

And just to see them off properly, so they don’t eat the corn we are feeding to our cattle, we also have another pest control device, a rope banger which has helped to disperse them with its loud explosions.

I’ve also been reading that crows dislike loud music. Mmm, I have an uncontrollable urge to play Meatloaf’s Bat Out of Hell.

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My husband’s secret sins….

After admitting in my last post that I am nervous of cows, today I throw my hands up in the air and confess…. I do not bake cakes.

Picture by Carwyn Lloyd Jones

Picture by Carwyn Lloyd Jones

Now if I could eat them and stay slim I would embrace the emblem of farming life, the Victoria sponge, wholeheartedly. But alas, over winter the pounds piled on, and it has just taken me three months of Slimming World classes to get rid of my ill-gotten gains.

Luckily I have managed to get back into the posh fuchsia pink taffeta dress I bought last year for my daughter’s wedding with six weeks to spare before the Big Day, when I will have to strut my stuff in Mother of the Bride finery. But this mammoth struggle has only been accomplished by something approaching complete cake abstinence.

Secret seduction

I have had to stop baking because if I make cakes, I eat them- the possibility of producing them without eating them is a concept my brain cannot comprehend. So I don’t plan to bake any more of those fat, seductive, mouth-wateringly wicked sponges. Other ladies have stepped in to give my husband a taste of lemon drizzle or bakewell tart, and I have turned a blind eye to his ‘bit on the side’, as long as he does it discreetly. He can sin to his heart’s content in the shed, or keep his tasty treats hidden in the dairy.

So if you happen to drop by, don’t expect a typical farmhouse welcome with a plateful of scones and a jar of jam. You might be lucky and get a Jaffa cake…unless Pete shares his secret stash.