Bea's Farm, a short story by Susan Temple at

Bea’s Farm

Bea’s Farm

written by: Susan Temple


“Shit! Crap and shit galore!”
Beatrice stood in the middle of the farmyard, holding her shovel, while the heavens poured down. She went through her mantras. The ones the hot yoga guy had taught her in the London class just before she had left the city.

I am a strong, confident, woman.
I am pure potential.
I am part of the f’ing solution.

Ok, enough affirmations. Maybe it was more helpful to go back to the reason for, quite literally, being in this revolting pigsty. Had Harold the blonde Mangalitza pig just given her a dirty look? Swine!

It felt like only yesterday she had proudly purchased her pristine Barbour jacket in Harrods along with the Hunter wellies which were now caked in animal faeces. She’d even bumped into her ex that day and explained the purchase. She was following her dream of being a farm owner. He had belly laughed.

“Ha! Good luck with that Bee. I’ll give you two weeks.” The comment hadn’t fazed her.
Newly divorced, with an empty nest and drowning her sorrows in a plummy red one evening, she’d answered an ad selling a small farm in the Highlands of Scotland. Swapping the stifling city air and crazy commutes for fresh air, countryside walks and a handsome pub owner named Angus seemed like a no-brainer. She’d always loved animals. Well, she loved her rabbit, Thor.

A month later after the sale of her flat, job resignation (who needed Digital Ad Ops Manager on their CV anyway?), and a wonderful farewell party, Beatrice had stood at the end of the farm road in the wind and drizzle and felt the first stirrings of… regret.
After seven days the regrets had turned into a full-blown cyclone.

Stubborn pride kept her going (and perhaps her therapeutic talks with Thor and Jock the sheepdog). There was no way on earth she was going back to her ex-husband, friends, and co-workers to say she hadn’t fulfilled her dream.

Her countryside fantasy looked vastly different ankle-deep in Magnus’ cow pats. It was like living in a dysfunctional family. What with Billy the goat stealing clothing, the cockerel Craig yelling the odds and Margaret had this habit of spitting. It began to get on her nerves. (Mags was a lama, not a neighbour. The neighbour Trevor, was more a swearer than a spitter.)

After one month Beatrice had learnt all the mistakes about feeding the animals – as she’d made them all. Swotting up on ‘A Dummies Guide to Farming’ she was finally firm in her belief that she wouldn’t kill anything or cross-breed and create a new species.

After three months, enduring the winter (who takes on a new project in the worst weather conditions of the year?) she became adept at DIY and could mend any fences or hutches. The trickiest part of running a farm seemed to be the finances. Beatrice was not an economist but knew that future projections were bleak. Even a frantic fortnight of jam-making hadn’t improved her sticky situation.

That night in bed (minus fantasy Angus she noted) with four blankets, a duvet, and two hot water bottles, Beatrice remembered how her boys, when younger – had loved muddy puddles and dirt tracks. Suddenly she knew what to do.


A year later ‘The Filthy Farm’ was in full swing. She had quad bikes, grass sledging, mini tractors, a café with farm produce as well as animal petting and feeding slots.
She didn’t need mantras, just a reminder of how far she had come.
Beatrice tidied her shovel away before the arrival of the lady from the animal rehoming centre.
“I’ll just back the horse box up to the stable!”
Beatrice had adopted her first donkey. His long dark eyelashes were gorgeous.
“He’s a handsome fellow. What’s his name?” Beatrice enquired.
The lady shut the box.

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