CHRISTMAS OFFER Subscribe to Hampshire Life today CLICK HERE

Margot tries the good life - January 2014

PUBLISHED: 10:35 14 January 2014 | UPDATED: 10:35 14 January 2014


With London now a thing of the past, resolutions for 2014 include ale brewing, chicken rearing, vegetable growing - and filling the chest freezer

Ring out the old, ring in the new as they say! Perhaps we could leave the ringing of bells for a bit later though as I fear, dear Reader, that I am starting the New Year with more of a whimper than a bang after the effects of rather too many glasses of the bubbly stuff.

Waking up to 2014 in the countryside is, thankfully, blissfully tranquil. I am hoping that the faint glimmer of memory I have of the previous evening of dancing in a fur coat to a bemused village audience was merely a dream. I can hear Jerry muttering about ‘first footers’ as I huddle on the sofa in a heap, sporting my Christmas pyjamas and sipping a Bloody Mary (purely medicinal of course). Mercifully, the girls are tiptoeing round the house, so maybe now would be a good time for quiet reflection on time spent embracing a Hampshire living?

2013 was the year that I swapped kaftans for tweed, and heels for wellies. It would be fair to say that the last four months nestled in the bosom of rural Hampshire life have presented plenty of challenges for this self-confessed old townie.

Not least grappling for three days without power following the St Jude storm at the end of October - an adventure which had us experiencing life akin to a historical re-enactment, living by candlelight and filling baths with water boiled on a camping stove.

Never have I been more grateful to have such lovely neighbours who arrived on the doorstep bearing gifts of hot water and offers of warming up by that ubiquitous country kitchen warrior, the Aga.

To be honest, I have surprised myself with my ability to adapt to whatever country life has thrown at us so far. Jerry and I quickly realised that chopping wood with an axe was beyond us - we’re not practical people - and I imagined ghoulish Hammer Horror images of one of us accidentally chopping off a limb.

So splitting logs with a sledgehammer and wood grenade is now a necessary weekly chore. Long wintry walks have led to many encounters with wildlife including a chance meeting with a badger late one night. A lost hedgehog on his great escape from a bonfire was gleefully adopted by the girls, not to mention the pigeon fledgling named Pecky who fell out of a tree and into Monty’s jaws.

The arrival of four hens to the Margot brood was our first foray into keeping livestock and Primrose, Poppy and I still haven’t tired of peeping into the nest box each day.

I can report that I have managed to commit to memory a smattering of countryside knowledge. I know the difference between bore and boar and quite unbelievably, the chest freezer which Jerry ridiculed me for acquiring has become my new best friend. Who’d have thought it?

So, what will 2014 hold for us? After all, that’s what New Year is all about – making resolutions. Well, I have made a promise to myself that I will attempt to transform a part of our jungle into a kitchen garden and Jerry is still dreaming of brewing his own pint of ale. After a hilarious lunch seated next to one of the organisers of the New Forest Show, I think that I may have had my arm twisted into trying my hand at poultry showing. ‘In for a penny, in for a pound’, as they say.

There may be a Hampshire country bumpkin in me yet!

More from Out & About

Yesterday, 14:07

Treat yourself to lunch and tea with a visit to one of these fantastic Hampshire tea rooms.

Read more
Yesterday, 14:06

Is there anything more refreshing than a stroll on a crisp winter’s day? We don’t think so! Here are a few of our favourite rambles across the county to enjoy this season

Read more
Tuesday, December 4, 2018

We round up some of the best events and things to do across Hampshire this month

Read more
Tuesday, December 4, 2018

With 100 years since the last guns were fired during World War One, we remember the sacrifices Hampshire made

Read more
Tuesday, December 4, 2018

With the New Forest, South Downs and a picturesque coastline, Hampshire is an amazing place for a walk. We round up a few of our favourites

Read more
Friday, November 30, 2018

There is so much to see and do in Hampshire over the festive season, from carol services to markets and of course amazing food and drink and our day-by-day guide brings you the pick of the best

Read more
Tuesday, November 27, 2018

If you’re planning to add a new extension, remodel the internal layout or create a brilliant new kitchen overlooking a landscaped garden, a visit to the South East Homebuilding & Renovating Show (19-20 January 2019) at Farnborough International Exhibition and Conference Centre is a must

Read more
Monday, November 26, 2018

Huge Christmas markets, frosty countryside and cosy pubs; winter in Hampshire is second to none…

Read more
Monday, November 26, 2018

When it comes to celebrating the festive season, Winchester is alive with the sound of music. From Cathedral choirs to community singers and from family musicals to classical concerts, there’s something for everyone

Read more
Friday, November 23, 2018

Get in the festive spirit with our selection of the Hampshire's top dining experiences this Christmas…

Read more
Tuesday, November 20, 2018

This thriving community in North Hampshire is a desirable location for residents and visitors alike

Read more
Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Running a successful regional theatre means thinking beyond the bricks and mortar to reach out to the community. We ask four of Hampshire’s leading impresarios, how do they ensure that the show goes on?

Read more
Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Savour spectacular views of the Needles and Alum Bay and discover history tales on this invigorating walk on the Isle of Wight

Read more
Monday, November 12, 2018

With late-night shopping, fairs, Christmas markets and plenty of food and drink, we’ve rounded up some of the best festive offerings in Hampshire

Read more
A+ South & South West

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Topics of Interest

Food and Drink Directory

Subscribe or buy a mag today

subscription ad

Local Business Directory

Property Search