25 Things to Do in a Dull Town at Lunchtime #4: visit the Town Farm (and look at the potatoes)

They say that if a job’s worth doing, it’s worth trying to get someone else to do it, and I have been lucky in finding a kindred spirit at work who, before my arrival in Dulltown, had already carried out several of the projects that I was later to put on my to-do list and who was willing to write about her experiences for my blog.

Notably, Lucy had visited the Town Farm, a treat that until the other day I had failed to get round to. In the spirit of investigative journalism and editorial accuracy, I swiftly popped along to the Farm myself, just to check that the account she emailed me was accurate and impartial, and my only criticism of her report is that she makes it sound far more exciting than it really is.

You’ll never go short of starch in Dulltown. Pic credit: stockimages, http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/ images/view_photog.php?photogid=4096

It was pissing down with rain when I visited, so perhaps that coloured my mood and made me less fascinated by potatoes than I might otherwise have been. I shared Lucy’s disappointment at reaching the end of the potholed track to the top of the hill only to find the ‘farm’ consisted of lots of potatoes, some freerange eggs, some logs – and more potatoes. Potatoes are great, but being an animal lover, I do like a farm to offer some furry friends – sheep, cows, piglets and so on. I did spot a horse having a poo in the distance but the man who presided over the potatoes said it was only renting a stable there and so wasn’t strictly part of the farm’s attractions.

As well as her account of farm life in Dulltown, Lucy also shares her experiences of the charity shops with which Dulltown is so well endowed, and of her visit to the butcher. Both of these topics have been covered by me in earlier posts but Lucy’s narrative adds a new perspective for the benefit of anyone who has yet to sample the joys that Dulltown has to offer.

As Lucy’s guest post, which follows below, shows, despite her lunchtime exertions she has found Dulltown, in accordance with its name, to be unremittingly dull. I hate cynics, don’t you? To me, Dulltown is an underestimated and potentially glamorous little gem, just begging to be explored and savoured. To Lucy, who’s worked here a lot longer than I, it’s a grim old place full of soiled nightwear, potatoes and tired natives for whom ‘dress sense’ is just an unfulfilled dream. Maybe one day, I too will become cynical and jaded about Dulltown – and start taking the piss out of it, like she has. Until then, I’ll let someone else do that dirty work and hand you over to my guest blogger, Lucy.

GUEST BLOG by Lucy, owner of http://bodgingbudgetsandbindweed.blogspot.com

“I always think you can gauge the dullness of a place by the local claim to celebrity. I grew up in a place where JK of Jamiroquai fame was the local celeb brag. He had grown up down the road and apparently got fired from the kebab shop for not washing. I have also lived in a place where people were proud to proclaim that Jordan and Peter Andre lived round the corner and could sometimes be seen driving around in a pink Land Rover or using the local tanning shop. So really, I should have known that this particular town was the dullest yet when someone walked into the office after lunch one afternoon and said: “You’ll never guess who I just saw in Tesco’s? That girl off Big Fat Gypsy Weddings, you know, the really orange one.” Well other than thinking that surely everyone on that programme was the really orange one, I just knew that I had never been anywhere duller than this before.

I have tried to make having to be here every day interesting, but with each foray into (mis)adventure, I become more resigned that maybe I should just eat my cheese sandwich at my desk and catch up on Big Fat Gypsy Weddings, lest I bump into one of its ‘stars’ in the queue in Tesco.

First came my visit to the City Farm. It was a trip that held so much promise. I could see a large flock of chickens and geese from the road and a sign at the bottom of the lane leading up to it had a list of produce including eggs, potatoes and fire wood. So far, so good. The lane leading up to the farm was on quite a steep incline so I was hoping there would be something good at the top of the hill. Unfortunately, the sign at the bottom was not a list of SOME of the produce on offer, it was a list of ALL the produce on offer. There was a man in a barn with a table of eggs, some sacks of potatoes and lots of logs waiting to be chopped. I felt obliged to buy something, so I purchased half a dozen eggs and huffed all the way back down the hill.

Next up on my list of disappointing events in Dulltown, is my trip to the local butcher – one of the only local businesses still open. I was planning on making a Mexican feast for the boyf and the recipe called for skirt of beef. I knew it wouldn’t be a cut I would be able to get in a supermarket and I like to support a local business to I headed to the butchers. Upon explaining to the gruff impatient man behind the counter, what I was making and the kind of cut I was after, he did that thing mechanics and builders do when you know something is going to cost you a lot of money. After sucking a lot of air through his teeth, he explained to me that for a slow cooked beef recipe, I didn’t want to use a cut like skirt (which they didn’t have) and that I should really be using fillet steak. FILLET STEAK? For a slow cooked dish? I may not have sounded too confident in my cut-up bits of cow knowledge but I’m not a moron. I hastily made mumbled excuses about leaving my purse in the office and popped to the supermarket three doors down and bought some stewing steak.

Dulltown’s shops have plenty of attractions for those who like their nether garments pre-loved. Pic credit: http://www.morguefile.com

My third experience of Dulltown is possibly the least dull but certainly the most questionable. One thing this place has in abundance is charity shops and from time to time I like to have a mooch around to see if I can find any gems. I figure that by the state of what some of the locals are wearing, they must be giving all the good stuff to charity. However, I’ve been past one of the shops several times and had to stop in my tracks at their choice of window dressing. There always seems to be some kind of negligée in the window. I’m not sure what part of this I find most disturbing – the fact that someone would give away something quite that intimate when it has been used, or the fact that the offending garment seems to change on a weekly basis, indicating that someone (or multiple people) has been buying said items. Either way, I now can’t walk past that particular shop without paying attention to the window display. You could say it’s brilliant marketing but I’m not sure Mary Portas would agree.

Despite all the disappointment Dulltown has to offer, I have got to feel a kind of begrudging liking for the place. It might be a dull place but it’s my dull place. I’m just glad I get to leave it at the end of every day.”

That was my guest blogger, Lucy, from http://bodgingbudgetsandbindweed.blogspot.com. Lucy normally blogs on matters to do with gardening and home improvement, and her blog offers interesting anecdotes and insights about doing up her home and garden. Funnily enough, she writes about growing potatoes, among other things. But she just can’t resist the temptation to cast satirical aspersions about Dulltown, given half a chance. I think we must have been separated at birth.

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