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Margot tries the good life - exciting news...

PUBLISHED: 15:47 02 September 2014 | UPDATED: 15:47 02 September 2014

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Margot is in celebratory mood after surviving her first year living in the country - and she has some exciting news

Finally it’s here, August and the summer holidays - a whole six weeks of glorious Hampshire exploring awaits us, and Poppy, Primrose and I can’t wait. We’ll be dipping our toes in the sea, picnicking in the New Forest and planning plenty of days out.

Suddenly the nine swimming pools in the village we thought were completely ridiculous when we moved here are becoming very useful; and the girls and I have been accepting lots of lovely invitations to spend afternoons by the pool. I’m just waiting for our neighbours to arrive with a drinks trolley and a cocktailey something in a glass with an umbrella – or perhaps this is too optimistic? However, I am in celebratory mood, dear Reader, as this month marks our first anniversary of country living. Can you believe it? We’ve lived a whole year in the countryside and the villagers aren’t avoiding the house or running away screaming when we encounter them along the bridleway.

It seems like yesterday when we arrived to be greeted with sweet peas on the doorstep and offers of home grown produce. I have no idea where the time has gone. Boots have been muddied and there have been hens, lambs, safari suppers, too many instances of Monty running amok in farmers’ fields, nudist neighbours and numerous gin-soaked evenings. Primrose has survived her first year at school and I have somehow emerged unscathed from our ludicrous 50-minute school run.

Poppy has surpassed us all and become more bumpkin than we ever would have imagined, grubbing in the mud pretty much every day and becoming totally terrified by traffic when we head to the nearest town for one of those frothy lardi-dah lattes, which seemed to be ever present in our daily life in the Big Smoke.

Jerry has taken to brewing his own beer and couldn’t be happier pootling along country lanes in his jolly green giant and me…well, you know me, always trying my best to weather the countryside chaos.

I’ve taken up shooting with the tweedy set, embarrassed myself thoroughly talking about gentleman’s flies (strictly fishing related I assure you), climbed a very tall tree and tried my hand at concocting homemade gin and an array of cordials and even been tempted into having a go at cheese-making.

How we have managed all that in twelve months, I shall never fathom.

I think I can now say with some authority that we have shaken off at least some ‘townie’, and we are plunging head first into going completely native; so much so that I have some exciting news to share with you. No, don’t worry, I haven’t decided to keep a beef herd or breed show pigs (I think that Jerry might just have something to say about that), no, no. Good old Hampshire Life has given me a very special honour to perform.

I shall be judging the Best Farm Shop category this year in the Hampshire Life Food and Drink Awards. I can hardly contain my excitement at the thought 
of being let loose on all that lovely local produce.

I shall be like a little girl in a sweetie shop. I might even learn a thing or two about all that our fantastic county has to offer. I wonder if they know what they have let themselves in for…stay tuned to see how I get on.

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Read on

Columnist Margot Darling on embracing her latest creature comforts

Margot tries the good life: refurbishment plans hit the buffers

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