I was standing at my regular Saturday farmers' market stall when a woman (early fifties, lots of make-up, prada handbag and visually depressed, short, balding husband two steps behind), made a beeline for my stall.
'I want to complain,' she said, in a loud shrill voice. 'I bought sausage meat from you last week. Only it wasn't. It wasn't sausage meat at all, and the Scotch eggs I was going to make were ruined.'
I stammered that I was so sorry. She waved an irritated hand.
I hardly dare ask, but the question had to be put. 'What was wrong with the sausage meat?' I said as quietly as I could.
'It tasted like pork!'
I gave her money back, but I couldn't bring myself to apologise (after all, isn't that what real pork sausages are supposed to taste of?).
Every Friday the prep for the market begins ridiculously early at five in the morning, by butchering an entire pig down into the primal cuts, and goes right the way through the day making sausages, faggots, brawn, bacon and ham, etc, to about two the following morning. Three or four hours sleep, up, stumble about, drown myself in as much strong coffee as my asbestos mouth can take whilst getting ready, finish off any last minute prep, load the land rover, discover that I'm late (always) and drive like a lunatic to set-up before eight. So when she moaned that I had the bare-faced audacity to sell her pork sausage meat that actually tasted of pork, I was too tired to argue.
But she was an exception. Most people like the idea that Debbie and I home-make all our own produce, and most of them even like the old-fashioned flavours. But even amongst our regulars, few of them know how self sufficient we have really become.
I like the idea that Debbie and I are doing more and more for ourselves. I like that feeling of self reliance - though I do understand there is a balance, and I certainly don't want to become a Billy-no-mates, shun the outside world and live in a cave. I want to be greedy with self sufficiency. I want everything, the complete package. I want to be self sufficient and have a proper life.
So this is my blog, about modern self sufficiency, about natural healthy food and drink, animals, relationships, and anything else I discover along the way.