To make her dream come true Lorraine Turnbull dragged her new husband and reluctant children away from Glasgow to live the ‘Good Life’ on a smallholding in Cornwall. Sheep wrestling, making cider, dealing with maggots and a demented mother and all under the pressure of the dreaded Agricultural Occupancy Condition. Lorraine shares the story of the delights and disasters of living off the land in Cornwall and how she finally triumphed over adversity.
My mother; for the most time, tolerated my appearing with small animals who needed re-homing. First Snowball the hamster, then Snowy the rabbit. Snowball sadly escaped and disappeared forever somewhere in the piping behind the kitchen cupboards. Snowy turned out to be a psychotic aggressive demon and would bite and kick at every attempt to pet or cuddle and at cleaning out time. When I ‘rescued’ two mice from the local church fete’s racing mice stall she put her foot down. They had to live outside and very shortly after being brought home they somehow managed to ‘escape’ their cage in the garage. I found an old round plastic goldfish bowl and after a day spent at our local swampy pond caught a few newts to keep in it. In those days as a small child, I had no idea of the rules regarding newts or any wild creatures and was just satisfying my curiosity and love for creatures.
These also disappeared after a few days and I was strictly warned No. More. Pets.
Horse riding lessons were provided as this was considered a genteel pursuit for a young lady and would provide the animal interaction I craved whilst mixing with other girls from the ‘right sort’ of families. I spent every non-school day at the stables, mucking out and improving my riding, and generally looking and smelling like an agricultural worker.
Lessons were then stopped as they had failed, in my mother’s view to turn me into a lady. I begged for a horse of my own and was instead eventually palmed off with a Cocker Spaniel puppy. Scamp wasn’t even the colour I would have chosen, but had been picked by my mother to match the furniture and carpet. Nevertheless, we became inseparable and disappeared for hours into the fields and woods nearby.
Thank you, Lorraine Turnbull and Love Books Group
About the author
Lorraine Turnbull was born in Glasgow where she lived until 2015 when she and her family moved to a tired bungalow and an acre of land with an Agricultural Occupancy Condition on it in Cornwall. She started a smallholding from scratch, retrained as a horticultural tutor and also worked as a Skills Co-ordinator for The Rural Business School. She began commercial cider making in 2011 and until recently ran a profitable small craft cider business.
In 2014 she was recognised for her contribution to sustainable living by winning the Cornwall Sustainability Awards Best Individual category.
After removing the Agricultural Occupancy Condition on her home she relocated to a smallholding in France.