Some time ago I came across another video from Guthan nan Eilean and it made me reflect on how much of a townee I am. For although I often came across harvest scenes in literature and films, I never understood how the whole process actually worked.

And no wonder I am. I’ve spent the best part of my life in towns and cities. True, there were some holiday summer camps, and three “agricultural” summer jobs – but I spent these mostly among other town boys like myself. (And the jobs always simply meant picking something – twice hops* and once strawberries, raspberries, lettuce…) It wasn’t living in the country; it was playing at living in the country.

Funny thing is, I like to think I’d love living in the countryside more. Cleaner air, nicer scenery, less noise (less noise!), more walking, woods, hills… Deep in my heart I know better. An entomophobic finding rural life easier than municipal one? I guess not.

Pity one can’t have the best of both worlds. Seth Peake in Patrick Gale’s The Aerodynamics of Pork was talking about something slightly different when first visiting his lover, but the principle is the same. The lover lived in a lighthouse and Seth expressed it finely:

I love thunder and rain, as long as I’m safely indoors.

So I’ll probably be a town-dweller, country-visitor until the end.

* in fact I didn’t even work in the fields then: once it was a hop-picker machine shed and once the oast house



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