Interviewed for the Observer

We were approached by a journalist from The Observer Magazine a couple of weeks ago with a view to being interviewed for a forthcoming article on modern smallholders.

I checked her out with a few contacts and read some of her articles, before the Other Half and I decided to agree to be interviewed.

The journalist came up from London and spent several hours with us today, trying to find out what we do and why we do it.

We tried to get across that we’re not making a “green” lifestyle statement, especially in the holier than thou sense that some of the twee middle classes adopt.

Rather, we are simply trying to live a life that suits us.

I suspect we came across as more than a little bonkers, but we’re used to that—and it’s almost certainly true anyway.

I took the journalist on a guided tour of the croft but it was something of a non-event as the cloud had closed in on us and it was bucketing down rain.

Still, she liked our vegetable patch (she has an allotment herself), enjoyed seeing the piglets and, while most of the views were non-existent, she did get a good view of the Stonehead Circle.

The circle was at its eerie best, with the massive stones looming out of the cloud while a couple of crows stood watch upon the tallest one and eyed us balefully.

We fed her one of our special lunches—100 per cent Stonehead omelette and salad—before sending her on her way with a pot of three-berry jam and a couple of oat cookies.

It will be interesting to see how the article turns out.

17 Responses to “Interviewed for the Observer”

  1. well dne. will be interesting, as you say, to see how the article comes out. any idea when?

  2. I live in Sydney, Australia and plan to move to the country when I retire soon. It’s refreshing to hear someone admit that they are not interested in winning a ‘Green’ medal or claiming ethical purity as a carbon free warrior. Like you I just want to live a simple life free of the stresses created by the City and to be able to design a refuge for my grown up children when they need to escape themselves. We have lost our connection with the earth and the planet that has always nourished us. I wish you continued simplicity and reward.

  3. I have a feeling your fifteen minutes of fame is about to begin…I hope it proves productive…

  4. We had our 15 minutes a couple of years back when our water ran out. Scottish Water didn’t want to provide us with water by the bowser load even though we offered to pay, so we went public in a very big way. Our situation made it into most of the UK daily papers, into the press in the US, Canada, Australia and elsewhere, and we even made it onto This Morning. We got our water—free! :D

  5. mummys little angel Reply 20 August, 2008 at 07:11

    And don’t forget to the local TV news too!

  6. Did the journalist say how she came to contact you in the first place, was it via someone else or did they read your Blog first and decide you looked interesting?
    How ever it was I look forward to reading it. (did she say when they hope to print it?)
    I also hope it all turns out to be very productive for you all.


  7. She’s a regular reader of the blog. Anyway, I should be getting on with Olympic homework with the Big Lad.

  8. Nice one! Will look out for it.

  9. These things can be unpredictable, and you never know where the story will go. A few year’s ago an Associated Press stringer at our local daily did a feature on the straw bale house we built in Monroe, Maine. It was similar in terms of pre-assumptions — the guy was surprised to see we had satellite TV in our off-grid house, for instance. For some reason he thought we were greenies, and greenies never watch TV.

    Anyway, the story went in the local daily and we thought that was that, but it got syndicated by AP and went out on the wire. It appeared on and off all around the US and Canada for weeks. It even made it into the Shanghai Daily. For a while we had a few extra letters and phone calls, and we still get correspondence about straw bale building, but it all calmed down and we got back to the business of homesteading fairly quickly.

    I am amazed though, by the number of folks there are in this world that would prefer to live a rural, small farming lifestyle, but never do much more than read about it.

  10. Ermm……what? I think what you condemn in the first paragraph is espoused in the second. The only difference is you accuse others of trying to make a statement whereas you are doing it for yourself. At best you’re being unfair, at worst you’re deluded.

    I like your blog, I support what you are trying to do. I very much doubt that your motives are much different from all the other small holders and gardeners who are plugged on the right or who tune in to your musings. Sorry – but I had to pick you up on that.

    Keep up the good work!

  11. I was approached by the same journalist, after explaining my actual scale I don’t think my set up was quite right for the piece though! River Cottage also approached me, but again I think my actual size was the main problem. Shame. Still, will be interesting to see the piece when it comes out.

  12. Please do give us a shout out when it’s running – if you know. We don’t always get a Sunday paper but if we do it is the Observer, so it would be a shame to miss it & only find out after the event

  13. Simon, what are you talking about? This is the first paragraph:

    We were approached by a journalist from The Observer Magazine a couple of weeks ago with a view to being interviewed for a forthcoming article on modern smallholders.

    This is the second:

    I checked her out with a few contacts and read some of her articles, before the Other Half and I decided to agree to be interviewed.

  14. I took it to mean that Simon was referring to paragraphs four and five, ie he believes I said one thing in the first of those paragraphs and something contradictory in the second.

  15. I wouldn’t pay any attention to a man who can’t even count to five.


  1. ‘You’re just up the road from Edinburgh’ « Musings from a Stonehead - 26 August, 2008

    [...] arrange a time for a photographer to come out to photograph us, the pigs and the croft to accompany the forthcoming article about “modern [...]

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