We’ve recently been rewatching The Good Life, the 1970s BBC sitcom about a suburban couple who turn their back garden into a self-sufficiency paradise. And oh lord, my life choices make so much sense now.
Because I forgot how much I LOVED The Good Life when I was a child. We used to tape it off the telly, and I’d get up super-early in the mornings so I could watch a few episodes before going to school. I was around 10 at the time. And, clearly, easily influenced. It’s been decades since I saw it, but the resemblance to the life we’ve built is quite startling. (Minus the pigs, dodgy 1970s humour, annoying husband, and sexual tensions with the neighbours.)
There’s vegetable chat, wellies, baggy jumpers, cups of tea in front of the range cooker, breadmaking, a total derision of money, and lashings of homemade alcohol. Sound familiar?
It also turns out I’ve been subconsciously emulating Barbara’s fringe-and-dungaree look for, oh, about 20 years. And the snobby neighbour Margo. Oh Margo! With her immaculate kaftans, headscarves, and withering remarks, she is – and, I suspect, always has been – my queen.
So it’s been quite funny revisiting this little piece of TV history and uncovering the realisation that, even from a young age, this is the life I dreamed of. True, at the time, I pictured myself living on the Isle of Wight (the height of ‘abroad’ sophistication to 10-year-old Claire). But then I grew up and choose a lovely-but-low-paying career, and realised I would struggle to buy a flat in the south of England, let alone a house with a big garden. And that’s what led us to the affordable housing market of Bulgaria. So thanks Barbara and Tom for planting the seeds of inspiration. And Margo, for teaching me how to correctly communicate disgust while wafting about in a kaftan.
Let’s just be thankful that I wasn’t obsessed with Fawlty Towers or Are you Being Served? when I was a child – or this would be a very different blog indeed.
Anyway, I’m back in Bulgaria after my little jaunt to England. And have been getting filthy in the garden pretty much ever since. (It’s so rainy and muddy, but there are jobs that just have to be done this month. Needs must.) More garden updates to follow next time, including a ridiculous number of beans, a giant new flower bed, Rob still digging on the hill, and potential tomato ruin…