Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Time to rant

I just remembered that I forgot to rant about a current tv programme hitting our screens with Monty Don at the helm at the moment. It's called something like my Dream farm and I was interested to give it a go because he's featuring two young flower girls somewhere down the line. It made me furious. I know that people volunteer to go on his programme thinking it's all going to help and all that and maybe it does but I spent half an hour shouting at the telly. A couple plus two children had moved from a cosy life in Holland to a cosyish life in a lovely farmhouse on Dartmoor to take up farming on 30 acres or so and improve the quality of their life so they weren’t stressily working outside the home all the time.

Obviously they weren’t going to make many readies from farming sheep on that scale, so they wanted to do a bit of diversifying with lots of Country Living malarchey and all very nice too, Mrs is very charming and go-ahead and accommodating, and lots of ideas for finished products, Mr is also very charming and jolly hard working and very positive. But he has arthritis as Monty told us every three minutes.

To cut a long story short Mrs had come up with the idea of making duvets using the sheep fleeces and Monty thought this was the way ahead. So research was done and Monty decided the way to start was to get the buyers from some huge hotel chain and from John Lewis down to take a gander. Gosh, start at the bottom why don’t you, keep control of your lives, do what you want……. that sounded just like a wonderful home industry to add to the quality of their life etc etc etc

To cut another long story short Mr and Mrs bought in hundreds of fleeces (hard to find 500 fleeces from their farm or how many it is for the minimum amount to be processed down the mill) and got stuck in to working out the commercial process. John Lewis et al thought all a bit pricey but a local store thought wonderful.

Now if I was moving to a farm to improve the quality of my life would I want to start a manufacturing process where I was not using my own produce because I couldn’t produce enough and where I was going to be in charge of a business which would mean I had no time to farm anyway. Marvellous.

It would be like me deciding my dream was to grow flowers for home grown cut flower production then actually buying everything in to satisfy a different business idea rather than following what I want to do. I am well aware of companies who do just that, buy in flowers and imply they are home grown to make them seem special, and they have made a very successful business from that. But actually following your dream should mean just that. And for the record Mr Don it can mean a perfectly workable business on a small scale too.

OK Rant over.

For now!


  1. Hi, Charlie. I couldn't agree more - I could hardly hear the soundtrack over my snorting! The problem was the people featured were hard-working, competent and organised - which makes for dull TV, so they have to inject something stressful to make you come back after the ad break. Did you know one of the episodes to come is about flower growers? Seems they were much more amenable, getting pregnant and breaking a leg at just the right time. Still, I suppose it raises awareness.

  2. Just read your post again - properly this time. Of course you know about the flower growers - you said so. Duh! Anyway, am looking forward to hearing what you think about it.

  3. Glad to here it's not just me who gets irascible at the TV! I know that people volunteer to be put in front of the camera so I assume they are in on it but I hope they are actually enjoying country life now and not spending every waking hour sorting out duvets!