BY JIM BROWNE
Not that they would ever wish to be seen to be interfering in our lives, the Government has seen fit in the past to draw up a Countryside Code which covers the basics of closing gates and not dropping litter.
Respect – Protect – Enjoy is their catchy slogan. No doubt thought out at our expense across several weeks of meetings at DEFRA by some mandarins who have occasionally walked on Wimbledon Common or had to scrape dog muck off their Hush Puppies in Nonsuch Park.
A copy is available for download here
We at Country Squire Magazine found the Government Countryside Code a tad dull, so we’ve built our own 10-point guide for townies visiting the countryside that we thought might be a lot more use to them.
Don’t be offended, townies. We Countrysiders love you all, really:
- Wait until the tractor driver pulls over and kindly waves you by – don’t try and overtake tractors on country lanes or you will die.
- Don’t mention words like Grockle or Bumpkin when you are in the Countryside or you will die.
- When a herd of cows starts running towards you, they are not like Labradoodles in a suburban park coming to greet and lick you. Run away fast. Or you will die.
- When cattle are crossing the road, turn down your car stereos and do not hoot your horn. Or… you guessed it…
- By all means, wear designer clothes and splash your cash as if you own the whole country. Just be aware that the unshaven bloke in a peaked cap with the patched-up Barbour and a twenty-year-old bashed-up Audi is likely worth a few hundred times your net worth. (Country lads and lasses are not easily impressed by Gucci or Yves Saint Laurent.)
- When your sat nav switches off and loses signal, don’t stop for directions as, whatever your request, the person you ask will likely send you back in the direction of home and have a good chuckle at your expense as you head off into the sunset waving gratefully.
- In pubs and restaurants, do not speak slowly when you order. Staff are (probably) not foreigners. Just because they speak with an accent doesn’t mean they are dimwits either. Your slow delivery just makes you look like one.
- Village shops and pubs don’t take kindly to £50 notes. Best leave them at home in the town, although you have burglars there. So, best cash them in before setting foot in the countryside.
- Don’t complain to country folk about a lack of phone signal or dodgy web access. Instead, when you get back to the town, do us exurbanites a favour – go and complain to your MP about it. After all, you’re professional complainers.
- If you have ginger hair and go for a cross-country walk, wear a beanie or a Day-Glo mac so you don’t get shot at by a farmer or ripped apart by any errant hounds. Or, yup, you will die…