Lyn Alderson

Copywriter, Journalist, Blogger

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The Shropshire way of life

Have you got a nickname? I’ve noticed a lot of people in Shropshire seem to have them.

I know a Mr Marsh who’s fondly known as Swampo, and a young lady who is very slim, but known as Heifer because she loves beef. And then there’s a lad who was deemed to be clever by his mates and nicknamed Knowledge. When I lived in the town nicknames were used much less, but the language is much more descriptive in colourful Shropshire. When my husband wants a drink he complains he is as thirsty as a fish, and when he’s poorly he’s “as weak as a robin”.

Townie driver

Cultural differences abound when you move from a town into the wilds of the countryside. For example, everyone watches everyone else driving by. In urban areas you don’t bother to clock who’s driving past- the chances are that everyone you pass is a complete stranger. But here in the wilds of Shropshire, you’ve got a 50 per cent chance of knowing the person passing you by, so you have to look. And if you’re on a single track road, you are almost obliged to pull over and have a chat. This must seem blatantly obvious to rural dwellers, but I really didn’t grasp it when I first became adopted as a Shropshire lass.

Banana spotted

To start with, I didn’t pay attention to who was shooting past, but people started complaining that I hadn’t acknowledged them. And they also started telling me “I saw you with a banana in your mouth, waiting to pull out on to the A49”. Oops, I thought I could get up to monkey tricks but apparently I can’t. My every move is on the rural radar screen. And while that can be a bit disconcerting, community spirit is very strong here. And in my humble opinion, that makes for a better quality of life.

Townies like myself do get converted to the country lifestyle though. Our neighbour Cherry is a great example. She comes from London but loves living in the country, and she helps to feed our young calves. We realised Cherry had become a genuine farmer when she looked at a young bull one day and exclaimed: “Look at the backside on that!”. We laughed until we cried.

Londoner Cherry is every inch the farmer

Londoner Cherry is every inch a farmer – she even wears the sexy trousers!