Here’s Roxy’s latest diary entry. Roxy is a thirty something, single mother, looking for her Prince Charming.
She has four kids (Matilda, 18, Harry, 12, Toby 10 & Hope 18 months), works in her mother’s coffee shop and has some wobbly bits on her hips and thighs, which no diet can get rid of.
Roxy has met a farmer called Tom and is about to go on a proper date with him.
The relationship self-help book, that I am reading, advises you to have a good night’s sleep before a big date, so you wake feeling energised and excited at the prospect of romance.
Hope, my eighteenth month old, was up for pretty much all of the night with a temperature and a chesty cough. Harry and his brother Toby were squabbling into the night and just after two decided to have a pillow fight. Matilda came in from a club at three and wanted to talk to me about her relationship issue.
The only thing I am excited about this morning is nursing a strong cup of coffee and popping a couple of tablets to sort out my aching head.
Sat upright in bed, staring into space, as Hope, who was unwell in the night, energetically charges around my bedroom. A glance in the mirror confirms I am owning the mummy zombie look, with wild electrified hair, pink blood-shot eyes and grey tinged skin.
I do hope my makeup and hair products are ready for a big challenge today.
The relationship advice book recommends writing down a date goal to keep the mind focused.
After sipping my coffee, whilst slumped at the kitchen table, I write down today’s goal.
‘To give Tom the impression I am an exciting and interesting woman, who feels at home in the countryside and on the farm.’
At thirty-seven and with four kids I would love to feel exciting and interesting, but most days I end up feeling tired, frazzled, a little on the dull side and I am usually wearing something covered in Hope’s spit, snot and the crusted remains of her cereal.
Tom, my date, needs to see the exciting and interesting side of me today, because that’s the sort of woman I think he wants to date.
The reference to ‘feeling at home in the countryside and on the farm,’ is the result of the little white lie I told Tom, after a few glasses of Pinot Grigio. I gave him the impression I knew a lot about farm life after a week’s holiday in a caravan next door to a farm.
In view of my rough night and Tom’s suggestion that I bring my four children on our date, I need to adapt this dating goal.
To give Tom the impression I am an exciting and interesting woman (after two hours sleep, a new outfit and some heavy-duty makeup), who feels at home in the countryside and on the farm…with her four spirited, polite term for ‘nightmare’ children.
Six clothing changes and two different hairstyles have left me frazzled and bathed in a light sweat.
At first I went curly. Then I straightened the life out my red hair, because I think flat hair makes me look exciting.
After nine minutes of wriggling and squirming on my bedroom floor I also failed to squeeze my thighs into Useful Kim’s riding jodhpurs.
They were made for cutting off a person’s blood supply to their legs, not for riding horses.
If I don’t wear the jodhpurs I won’t look like a woman who feels at home in the countryside. Try to stay positive. I have never ridden a horse so maybe this fashion disaster is a blessing.
Hope has just given me a much needed toddler hug and is now offering me a plate of toy plastic food
Five makeup changes, a good squirt of Chanel perfume and a huge dousing of ‘passion’ body spray have left me owning a dramatic pair of smokey eyes, glossy pink lips and smelling like the supermarket’s Health & Beauty aisle.
I feel like I am ready for a date on a farm with my four children.
Trying to squeeze all my children into my ex-landlord Brian’s small hatchback is a challenge I don’t need today.
There’s limited space at the best of time now that Hope has arrived, but today I am adding bags of wellies for the kids and waterproofs (for the kids).
All I need is my emergency makeup box, my leather biker jacket and stiletto boots.
“I’m squashed,” moans Harry, as he presses his cheek against the passenger window.
“Mam,” shouts Matilda, “as I passed my test last week and Brian has put me on his car insurance – can I drive?”
I wipe a layer of sweat from my heavily made up face and force the boot shut. If Matilda drives I could work some more on my appearance?
Plus, driving always stresses me out and my relationship advice book does recommend turning up to the date feeling relaxed.
Dismiss the nagging thought that Matilda might still have a lot to learn about the rules of the road at eighteen and fresh from passing her test.
Fall out of car, gasping and trembling.
Matilda has an addiction to speed and takes corners like an enthusiastic karting driver. Okay, she still has a lot to learn about the rules of the road.
Compose myself and think of my dating goal.
Order all children to get into wellies and sensible waterproofs.
Totter up a lane to farm entrance in my stiletto heels, with Hope grizzling on my hip, Matilda on her phone and the two boys arguing behind me.
Greet Tom and ignore his playful jokes about my disco boots, as he calls them, not being suitable for a day on a muddy and smelly farm.
Using a controlled and calm voice I ask Harry and Toby to stop climbing over hay bales. They don’t listen to me.
Lord knows what Tom must be thinking about my parenting skills.
Increase volume of voice. They ignore me.
If we are not careful this romantic date could be spent in Accident & Emergency with a child and their newly broken limb.
Repeat instruction to both of my boys and when Tom isn’t looking give both an angry glare.
Oh what the hell! Scream at both boys who come running over in a flash.
Hand a grizzling Hope over to Matilda and prepare to show Tom how connected I am to the countryside and his farm.
Tom looks quite dashing in his old jeans, baggy shirt and woollen jumper, which has a number of holes in it.
I stare down at my exciting outfit and then quickly dismiss the thought about whether I should have just thrown on some old jeans and wellies.
Totter away at speed from gang of marauding chickens in farmyard. I am trying to stay calm, but can’t stop letting out frightened yelps and squeaks. Those beady eyes and pecking beaks are giving me the shivers.
Before I can think about where I am going I totter, at speed, into a stable and stumble into a huge pile of hay.
A giant horse snorts and I hurl myself out of the stable in fright.
Tom is struggling not to laugh as I remove bits of hay stuck in my hair and mutter “all my farming knowledge is coming back to me.”
Tom has suggested we go on an adventure walk which starts with us all climbing over a huge gate.
Harry, Toby and Matilda scramble over and Tom, with a giggling Hope on his shoulder, nips over. They all stand and wait for me to follow.
Mental note for further farm dates – I need to work on my gate climbing skills and stiletto heeled boots don’t have a good enough grip.
“OMG. What is she doing?” Matilda shrieks, as I topple over the gate.
Pick myself up from muddy ground and pull stiletto boot out of cow pat.
Tom plants a reassuring kiss on my cheek and tells me he’s never seen anyone climb over a gate in that way before.
I am struggling to keep up with Tom and my kids who are striding ahead.
On the breeze I can hear little Hope giggling on the top of Tom’s shoulders and the sound of Toby talking about what’s he’s learning in geography. A warm tingling feeling takes hold of me. The kids like him.
They all quickly disappear into the distance and I can’t decide whether they went down the little track or into the field. Suddenly I am all alone, squelching in the mud.
It is time for a rash decision. With a pained expression I climb over the gate.
Once again my stiletto boots let me down and I find myself losing my grip and tumbling to the ground, narrowly missing a large cow pat.
On rising to my feet I soon realise I made the wrong decision. A huge cow is staring at me, whilst chewing on grass.
Oh my goodness it looks like it is going to devour me at any second.
I let out a scream. The cow keeps on chewing.
Tom has saved me from the woman eating cow, who did nothing, but eat grass whilst I screamed.
He led me away and then wrapped his big arms around my shoulders.
“Farm Girl,” he says, with a smile. “I see you have not forgotten your cow handling skills.”
I have not met my goal of showing Tom I am a woman who is at home in the countryside and on his farm.
The more I tried to make out I was a country girl the more I failed. This afternoon I fell into the pig sty and got chased by a goose.
I am now caked in mud. soaked (due to an unexpected rain shower) and tired.
The more time spent on the farm has shown me trying to look exciting and interesting is a waste of time.
Tom’s been so sweet and has spent the day sorting out the disasters I have caused.
We are all sat around his large oak table.
Hope is asleep in the crook of Tom’s arm. She’s not left his side. Today he made a little friend.
It’s time to be truthful to Tom. I am tired of trying to make out I am someone else. “I don’t really know what I am doing here on the farm,” I say.
He throws back his head and laughs. “Do you really think I believed you back in the pub?”
I can’t help but laugh. “You have been calling me Farm Girl.”
Tom reaches over and takes my hand. “It was fun to see how far you’d take it, Roxy. You have made me laugh today.”
“Will you want to see me again, Tom?”
He leans over and plants a kiss on my cheek. “Of course I want to see you again. As long as you promise to leave your disco boots at home.”
I stare down at my outfit. “This is not really me either. I thought you would want someone who was exciting and interesting.”
“Roxy, I think you are great, without all the fancy stuff.”
I cast him a little smile. “Maybe it’s time to just be me?”
More Roxy next week!