What a beautiful setting Channel 4 chose for this first outing of Monty Don striding fearlessly – but with charm and affable good humour – into the lives of townies who’ve forsaken the rush hour way of life for a slower existence running a farm.
And who hasn’t dreamed of such a Good Life way of living at some point? I know I have. I’ve often imagined myself earnestly tired from tilling the soil and tending my flock…
Not that I have any clue about animal husbandry, nor how to best go about tilling anything, but there, neither did Dick and Pauline Beijen until they actually went and did it.
They relocated to Dartmoor from the Netherlands after discovering that Dick had arthritis and following the family’s discontent at their rushed lives. But of course, it wasn’t all plain sailing and this charming little film chronicled their transition from fairly hopeless newbie-but-wannabe farmers to entrepreneurs who may just have hit upon a decent way to make a living.
And a lot of it was thanks to Monty’s sage advice, which he gave freely without forcing it down Dick and Pauline’s throats.
But arguably the best bit of this show was watching the often very amusing mishaps, such as the pig that escaped and went down to the river for a spot of cooling off. While everyone panicked, Monty chuckled at the sight and calmly advised leaving the pig alone. “He’s just getting cool” he said. And sure enough he was.
The programme ended on a high note too with more than a hint that the couple’s newly founded empire creating duvets could well be one that proves successful.
I hope it does; they were a charming family and they took a huge gamble by pursuing their dream way of life.