Summer holidays. Or so-called “holidays”. For those six weeks you await with such anticipation, you will spend most of it helping to feed the chickens, walk the dogs and painting fences. You’ll be granted a well-earned break on the day of the county show.
On the holiday theme, while your friends jet off to sunny Spain or exotic beaches afar, you will most likely be holidaying in a caravan or tent. And don’t be fooled if they blindfold you – it means they’ve driven a loop around the local area and you’re back in a field one mile from your house.
You should never ask your dad to cut up an apple or cake for you. He will most probably pull the penknife from his pocket, which he was using to trim sheep’s feet with an hour earlier.
You must prepare for the school lifts. Being dropped off in the cattle lorry or picked up in a battered old truck (probably late – “Sorry, a ewe was lambing”) will not make you the envy of your peers, or make you smell nice for school.
While people laugh about grannies who go knitting wild, they can come in very handy if you’re bought up in a farmhouse. On cold winter nights, the heating will not be turned on until you have at least four jumpers on, you’re sat next to the AGA and still chilly.
You’ll get used to slightly overdone food because your mum was waylaid by feeding the pet lambs or running drinks out to the harvest workers. And strange concoctions of food are to be expected because all leftovers must be used and whatever is ripe in the garden will be eaten whether it goes together or not.
Once you’ve prepared yourself for the slightly charcoaled or bizarre dinner that may lay ahead, it might be wise to hold your nose when you dad comes in – the smell of mouldy silage is enough to turn any stomach.
Maths homework guidance will consist of counting livestock, reading out passport numbers, spraying numbers on the side of ewes and lambs or calculating ratios for milk powder.
You will never open your presents at the crack of dawn on Christmas Day because the animals must be fed first.
Lie-ins do not exist. Whether it be tractors roaring about in the yard, cockerels crowing or dogs barking at the postman, you will be woken. And if you manage to adapt to all of those, your parents will find a way to rouse you out of bed nice and early – “It’s the best part of the day and this isn’t a hotel, you know!”