When I had a go at Bash The Rat, I ended up in A&E

Bash The Rat
Bash The Rat
European workers including nurses, social workers and teaching assistants protest outside the Houses of Parliament in London before lobbying MPs over their right to remain in the UK.  Picture: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

RICK JACKSON: Why aren’t we on the streets protesting about Brexit?

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The quintessentially English village fete or country show is a summer tradition we all love.

At this time of year, there’s an abundance of them happening every weekend across the area.

It’s good to regroup with an English cuppa and a cream tea with scones, lashings of clotted cream and homemade scrummy Strawberry preserve.

Being a country girl at heart, I really love these events. I go weak at the knees at the sight of colourful bunting and fairy lights dancing in the breeze, not to mention a well-stocked cake stall.

These shows are a classic ingredient of country life and there’s a real sense of camaraderie amongst folks as the whole community comes together.

I often go out on the hunt in the hope of discovering a hand-painted sign that will lead me to a random event.

One of my favourites is the New Forest Show. It’s somewhat bigger than a village fete and it can take all day just to walk around and see everything.

It’s the equestrian events I really enjoy. It’s lovely to see children donning mini tweed hacking jackets and smart canary- coloured jodphurs, having fun on their ponies and getting very excited when they win a rosette.

At village fetes there are usually some weird and wonderful games. My favourite is Bash The Rat, where you try to hit a toy rat as it shoots out of a tube.

Great fun – but not if you miss and hit your foot instead, like I did one year. I ended up in A&E with a suspected fracture!

The tug-of-war is certainly worth a gander, with the local menfolk flexing their muscles in a show of brute strength.

And you can’t beat a spot of welly wanging, with the person who can chuck a welly the furthest winning a prize.

The mammoth vegetable-growing competitions are great, where size really is all that matters.

Whether it’s giant leeks or super-sized pumpkins, it all seems quite nerve-racking to me.

When you’re tired from all the merriment and walking around, it’s good to regroup with an English cuppa and a cream tea with scones, lashings of clotted cream and homemade scrummy Strawberry preserve.

I can’t think of a better way to spend a day in the British countryside, even if it usually ends up raining!


My most important companion is a notebook.

It travels with me everywhere, hidden in a special compartment in my Mulberry bag alongside a packet of moist tissues and a Charlie Brown lip balm.

My jotter contains inspiring stories, useful quotations, ideas for future columns, hopes and aspirations and an ancient recipe for pineapple upside-down cake that I used in home economics in my senior year at school.

I also have another notepad, beautifully bound in tangerine moleskin with gorgeous silky cream pages.

This one carries my hopes that one day I will make my mark in the world of literature and see a novel written by myself on display in a book store.

That is my dream, folks.


I’ve just splashed some cash on one of those Nutribullet gizmos in a concerted effort to eat more healthily.

I confess that I loathe vegetables in their normal form, so for me this is the perfect solution.

Now I just blitz them into a juice and add some pieces of fruit to take away what I consider to be the vile taste of veg.

I can hardly believe it, but these days I have more wonky vegetables on my fridge shelves than ready meals and bars of chocolate.

I haven’t really felt any benefits yet, but I report that it has reached a certain part of my system.

So be warned.

If you start Nutribulleting your veg, you might be spending more time in the little girl’s room!