A Harold couple who grow vegetables on their organic small-holding can’t wait to sell everything and buy an ex-council house in London.
Jeanette and Ted Evans have worked tirelessly on their farm for the last 18 years, sometimes waking as early as 9.30am to tend to their radishes and spring cabbages.
Ted has dreamed for some time of giving it all up and moving to a sink estate, perhaps somewhere pebble-dashed with a shared communal area.
“I’m worried about how our lifestyle is affecting our health”, revealed Ted. “The doctors think the combination of fresh veg, clean air and plenty of exercise means we could easily live into our 90s. And neither of us are sure we can be arsed.”
Ted is sick of the support of his family and neighbours. He worries that most of them aren’t judging him enough. “We might give carrots to the donkey sanctuary, but neither of us sponsor a snow leopard. You’d think someone would have made us feel awful about that. And I drive everywhere in a big, 4 by 4 Land Rover. Is that suddenly acceptable, just because I’m a farmer?”
“There’s never any let-up”, complained Jeanette. “The constant peace and quiet grinds you down. We toil away for 3 or 4 hours a day and for what? Aside from the odd newspaper interview, the certificates of excellence and the recommendations from several Michelin-starred chefs, we might as well be invisible. We’re just two unknown faces in the crowd. Oh morning Raymond, you’ve just missed Gordon. Would you like to have a feel of my parsnips?”
It’s the jovial, light-hearted conversation with passers-by that annoys Jeanette the most. “Who gives a f*** about the weather?”, she complained.
“I’d love to board up my windows and treat my neighbours with a mixture of contempt and fear. Perhaps have the odd burning dog turd dropped through my letter box”, said Jeanette, wistfully. “Peckham, Hackney, Tower Hamlets…it all just sounds so exotic. Wouldn’t it be lovely to live next to a crack house? That would certainly keep me on my toes.”
Jeanette and Ted may have already found buyers for their farm: a wealthy couple from the US, who own a courier business in California. “They live right next to Route 66 and often have to travel the length of it on their custom Harley Davidsons”, explained Ted. “It’ll be something of a dream come true for them, living within spitting distance of the M25.”
“The only sticking point is the lack of gun crime, but as I said to them ‘you could always get broken into and tied up by gypsies’ . I guess some people are never happy.”