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Frederick Forsyth


Forsyth Forsyth
Remember the test that the Home Office devised to make sure that those applying for British citizenship are thinking along the right lines? Well, we asked the farm-dwelling writer Frederick Forsyth to write us a spoof version, for those intending to move from town to country, to chime with our outside broadcast in Bishop Burton investigating such issues.


Home Office - ' Life in the UK' citizenship test

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The odd word of advice - by Frederick Forsyth

So you have decided to move from the city to the countryside? You want to live a life free of stress and strain, surrounded by village-style neighbourliness and jolly rustic humour?

How very wise. But to those born and raised as city-slickers the rural depths may have hidden mysteries and unexpected pitfalls. Forgive therefore a few gentle warnings and some harmless questions to probe your readiness for this transfer.

Farmers tend to rise before you do. They occasionally have a long lie-in till, say, seven o'clock. If the next-door farmer's cockerel wakes you before six in the morning, do not try to shoot it. The sound of your shotgun will drown out the church bells a few yards from your bedroom, which woke the bird in the first place.

Be careful of sheep, especially those with blunt foreheads and huge testicles. Think: if you crawl on hands and knees, dressed in long white woolly comms, through a pen with a Texel ram in it, what will happen? Well, you will both get a very nasty shock.

Entering the village pub, do not sit in the seat reserved for Boy Roger. It will not be marked, so better ask first. Despite his title, he is probably about a hundred and one, with a hair-trigger temper. He will speak in a Norfolk accent that has been completely incomprehensible since World War Two. This may account for his temper and his propensity to use his crutch as a scythe if anyone sits in his chair.

When sheep, horses and especially cattle have been herded down a lane, certain substances may be left on the tarmac. Do not hit them at speed in your eco-awareness hybrid car. There is a hosepipe ban in force and you will have to clean your car yourself, apart from compensating the Boy Roger who was sheltering in the hedge at the time.

Never admit you admire David Cameron, and certainly never that you have met Tony Blair.

And now, a few questions to test your preparedness:

1. What is a Green Belt? Is it (a) a swipe round the chops from Zac Goldsmith, (b) something awarded to William Hague fro breaking Seb Coe's neck? Or (c) a large tract of land set aside by John Prescott? Of course, it is (c).

2. If the Boy Roger whips open his grubby mac to reveal two pheasant you suspect came from the local estate without the benefit of permission, do you (a) drive seventy miles to the nearest functioning police station to report it, (b) go up to the manor to grass him up or (c) slip him a fiver and get out Delia Smith on pheasant casserole? Again it is (c)

3. You decide to attend Sunday matins at the Norman church. Do you (a) memorise 'God of you fathers, known of old', (b) take a small pressie for the vicar's boyfriend or (c) bring your tambourine? Well, all three to be on the safe side. Very little is certain nowadays.

4. And finally, if a wood pigeon, clearly hit several fields away, drops dead into your pine nut salad during Sunday lunch on the patio, do you: (a) faint, (b) complain to the Chief Constable or (c) get out Delia Smith on pigeon pie? Well, if either of the first two, perhaps you should head back to the city.

The countryside is probably not really your cup of Rosie Lee.

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