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

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

Tuesday, 5th July 2016, 6:01 am
Bash The Rat

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

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.

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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!