For Jeremy Clarkson, a “bad day on the farm is better than a good day at the office”, says Nick Rufford in The Sunday Times. His crops die from fungal disease and he gets chased by his own bees. Hundreds of trout he hoped to sell to restaurants were eaten by birds. He brought in professional shearers, who charged him £1.45 for each sheep. The wool sold for 30p per fleece. “That’s why the farm is called Diddly Squat,” the 61-year-old sighs.
But he doesn’t mind. In the early days he shuttled between London and Oxfordshire. Then, one day, returning to Heathrow after a holiday in Africa, he turned left to the Cotswolds, rather than right to London, and has never looked back. The veteran petrolhead has a collection of off-road vehicles that could be from Thunderbirds, including a Lamborghini tractor that he keeps crashing. He also has a “barking” drone for rounding up his sheep, though they ignore it with “gum-chewing insolence”.
When a pick-up truck comes up the drive, it’s “somebody arriving to do a manly job” such as fixing a barn. “When it’s a Vauxhall, it’s someone from the government to tell you to stop doing whatever it is you’re doing.” Celebrity farmers like himself, Sting and James Dyson are “good for agriculture”, he says: they’re rich enough to weather rising costs and low food prices. But “I love it for the stolen moments. Summer evenings on a tractor. Leaning on a fence looking at the lambs.”
Read the full article here (paywall).