In his panegyric on country life (Perspective, 23 January), Graham Spiers probably intended only to express his affection for his adopted home, but the effect is rather one of smugness, and something of a lack of understanding of the realities of rural life. .
I’m sure he has worked hard as a journalist to earn enough to buy his rural retreat – and heat it, in the current Arctic spell.
But for many other hard-working country people, especially those who work in the notoriously badly paid agricultural industry, it’s very hard to get a foot on the housing ladder, with even derelict properties to restore being snapped up by developers.
Spiers appears to hint at this when he claims to be ashamed of his “disgusting showboating sloth” before the hard-working farming community taught him to value money, but the fact that he says he could previously afford to “chuck £20 notes about like there was no tomorrow” strikes one as a tad insensitive in these recessionary times when rich and poor are supposed to be “all in it together”.
I agree with him that there is nothing to beat rural life, but there is much hidden rural poverty, and, as he says, farmers are incredibly hard working in all weathers.
He’s lucky that his profession allows him to pull back the curtains and watch them about their business, and as a writer perhaps he might consider writing something rather more insightful about the realities of the rural life he’s observed.
(DR) Mary Brown