Mistakes and mishaps are part of smallholding life. We all make them. In our August issue, Simon Dawson reflects on 10 of the worst

Clangers, gaffs, catastrophes, pitfalls and pratfalls are just some of the words that can describe the daily adventures of a smallholder. If you had to devise a soundtrack to our lives, it would be one of shouted warnings “Mind the…” and, “Watch out for…” and of course the dreaded “Your (insert animal of choice here) has escaped and is scoffing the neighbour’s chrysanthemums!”

It’s not our fault. Smallholding is a clanger-rich environment full to the brim with danger and pain (not always physical – the pain or the danger) and everyday life lessons such as: inanimate objects are surprisingly disloyal; animals love an audience when bonking and especially like to do it in front of your elderly relatives, and you know that cute saying, ‘what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger’? Well it’s rubbish. Trust me, on a smallholding what doesn’t kill you is likely to bite, claw, scratch, squash, tread on you or sneeze a double-barrel of nose goo into your face, and not one of those makes you feel strong.

However, don’t be put off, because we have compiled your indispensible guide to the Top 10 Smallholding Clangers, complete with hints and tips on how to avoid them (or at least how to talk your way out of the resulting humiliation when you’ve been chased around the paddock by a killer goose, or electrocuted your testicles while stepping over some electric fencing you thought was switched off).

Of course there is a serious side to this feature. As I write this, I’ve just heard on the radio that a young lad has lost his life on a farm in Wales. The stats for accidents and fatalities on farms and smallholdings are horrendous. They are dangerous, dangerous places. Yet, the British way of dealing with danger is to make light of it, to call them ‘clangers’ and wag a that’s-so-true finger at the gaffes, but underneath it all, the message is serious: be careful, don’t take unnecessary risks and be safe.

WHAT ARE SIMON DAWSON’S 10 CLANGERS? Find out in our August issue. www.buyamag.co.uk

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