I’m a City Girl Now

I grew up in the country.   I still consider myself a country girl… but the truth is, I’ve gone soft.

This is how I know I’m a city girl now:

1. Meat 
I now eat meat that has been bought from the butchers.  Further, in order to avoid having to physically prepare the meat myself, I ask my butcher to do that for me.

This is a huge departure from my childhood, when all our meat was killed and butchered by my father, grandfather and uncle – all butchering together in a love-fest of dead animal.  The older kids would help by skinning the carcass, while the younger ones would play with the guts – such fun.  If we were preparing poultry, there would be a big family feather-fest where we’d set ourselves up into stations for killing, gutting, cleaning, plucking… you know, an outdoors family abattoir.

Nowadays, if the children are with me at the butchers, the country side of me appears briefly.  I gleefully tell the children that “that’s the top part of a dead sheep’s leg” and “that there is a dead cow’s neck and it’s lovely in stews.”  I exchange knowing looks with Tony, the butcher, in a see-my-kids-know-where-their-food comes-from way.

Yet on the inside, I’m thinking of the poor little fluffy-wuffy lamby-poo, leaping around a meadow and bleating in that soft little lamby-wamby way.   Oh poor little cuddly-wuddly woolly lamby!  But I’d never actually say that.  I have to retain some semblance of country, even if it’s all just for show.

I’m a soft, city girl.

2. Driving
From the age of ten, I drove tractors – often for many, many hours.  I’m not saying I was any good at it.  I often broke things, and if a few months went by without driving a tractor my Dad would have to teach me all over again.

Now?  I can’t even drive a manual car.  I learnt on a manual.  My first car was a manual.  But I am so, so soft – so very city, that nooooooo I cannot deal with gears on any level.  Automatic, please, just “forwards”, “park” and “backwards” and that’s all I can take.

I’m a soft, city girl.

3. Physical Activity 
Living on a farm is a very physical life.  You muster animals, you help in the shearing shed, you throw long syphons over channels and then manually start them up for irrigation (sorry if you have no idea what I am talking about)… to list a few things.

Now?  Well, I jog.  Not as often as I say I do, but still, I do.  I don’t run in the rain, because I’m a wuss, but I’ll run in snow because it’s pretty and it makes me feel like Rocky (did he ever do that?).  I do housework but not with any vigour.  I garden but in a half-arsed way, so I’ll prune everything then just leave the clippings for the Garden Fairy.

I’m a soft, city girl.

4. Food
We had an orchard, we grew vegetables, we killed our meat, my grandfather milked cows… we ate really, really well.  Sure, we bought food from the supermarket but that was a fair drive away.  We had a huge fridge and a walk-in coolroom.  We had a deep-freeze, as well as two enormous walk-in freezers which you really didn’t want to get stuck in.  My parents had to plan and prepare, there was no ducking to the shop to pick up some butter.

My fridge is only slightly bigger than my head.  This is slightly annoying, but OK because I can walk to the shops in just a few minutes.  Once there, I can buy any food I like.  If I forget something, it’s not a problem, I merely saunter down the road to pick it up.

I’m a soft, city girl.

5. Animals 
I can’t pretend to be tough here, snakes have always terrified me.  But if I would see a snake, I would stand still and calmly let it pass.  I knew to watch where it went.  If it went in or near the house, I’d follow it so it couldn’t get away – once you lost sight of it, you knew it would pop up later when you least expect it.  Same if it stayed in the garden.  Ignore this part if you’re a snake lover, but the only good venomous snake in your house or garden is a dead one.  So if you spotted the snake, it was your job to keep an eye on it so someone else could come and, ummm, send it to Snakey Heaven.

Mum, a city girl who moved to the country, with an unlucky snake.

Now?  I see a snake in a zoo and I start to shake – there’s no calm “let’s make sure it doesn’t get away” at all.  I can’t even think of them without my skin crawling. Same with spiders.  We live in England where the animals really don’t want to kill you.  But when the kids call out “Mummy, look!  We’ve found a lovely spider!”  it takes a lot to stay calm and not want it dead.

I’m a soft, city girl.

6. Isolation
Don’t even get me started on isolation.  I can’t handle it.

I really, really am a soft, city girl.


10 thoughts on “I’m a City Girl Now

  1. Felicity Ryan says:

    That is the best thing I have read all year! I can relate to every word. Is that the original house at 'Goroka'? Love it Rach xx

  2. expatmum says:

    Nothing wrong with being a city girl (says me sitting here in Chicago). Actually, I probably get more exercise that my friends in the burbs or further afield as I walk everywhere. Now, if they could just get the police cars to turn their sirens to mute after 9pm, all would be well!

  3. caro_mad says:

    I couldn't even hold a dead snake. They bloody freak me out. I can't even look at them on the telly without giving me the shakes and terrible nightmares. I'm so bad, I'm even petrified of slow worms and they aren't even snakes…

  4. giselle says:

    it could be much worse – you could be a soft city academic. Bonkersly useless.

    Happy to organise field trips to Curdimurka and Spitsbergen, live in a tent in Antarctica with a primus stove for a kitchen, travel on skis pulling a sledge, drive up and down the Oodnadatta track & Gunbarrel hwy, wield a .404, deal calmly with polar bears and snakes… and be completely unable to drive a car in traffic… and get the uncontrollable heebie-jeebies at the sight of a rat in the backyard…

  5. mid30slife says:

    Love it. A friend of my husband's dad is a Captain with Qantas (I think). He can fly around the world but can't keep to one lane in a car.

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