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Cotswold farmer on her new book all about farming life

All Areas > Entertainment > Literature

Author: Thomas Hadfield, Posted: Thursday, 28th November 2019, 09:00

Sue and Aubrey Andrews Sue and Aubrey Andrews

Aubrey and Sue Andrews have been farming in the Cotswolds for three decades, rearing award-winning Texel sheep.

The husband and wife duo live and work on their farm in Miserden, the village where they first met all those years ago.

“Horses have always been my passion and in my late teens I moved to Miserden to work for the legendary showjumper Pat Smythe,” said Sue. “It was here I met Aubrey.

“We have lived in Miserden for over thirty years, where our two children had a delightful childhood. Both are now married with young families and still live close by.”

Sue, who is originally from Hastings in East Sussex, admits she wasn’t a bona fide sheep expert when they first started out – that title went to Aubrey.

She continued: “We started with nothing – no inherited farm and very little money.

“Aubrey knew a considerable amount about sheep and was working full time on an arable and sheep farm, but I knew nothing of sheep, just horses.”

But over the years the pair have garnered reputations as successful shepherds.

So much so in fact, that in what little spare time she has, Sue has taken to writing about their experiences.

Her articles on farming life have featured in local and national magazines, and this year she published her first book, ‘If Clouds Were Sheep’.

“The idea of writing our story ‘If Clouds Were Sheep’ evolved from those early days,” she said.

“I jokingly say the book has taken me thirty years to write, but some of the early chapters have been taken from notes and articles I wrote a considerable time ago. The second half of the book was completed in six months, although it needed a certain polish to finish it off.”

The book tells the story of Sue and Aubrey, and the never-boring, eventful life they’ve had as Cotswold farmers.

“It is a memoir based on our farming progress from the unexpected gift of a temperamental Black Welsh Mountain ram to now having a flock of pedigree Texel sheep from which we sell worldwide,” explained Sue.

“It also encompasses both family and village life – the friendships that make everything worthwhile.”

Sue describes in the book the challenges they’ve faced over the years – from the foot and mouth disease outbreak to last year’s ‘Beast from the East’.

But she says there are also plenty of lighter-hearted moments.

“There’s a chapter called ‘Fred’s Holiday’,” she laughed, “when a farmer who lived nearby asked if we could feed his chickens while he was away.

“We agreed and when we went around he said, ‘so the chickens are here, and if it’s also alright can you look after the beef cattle and milk the cows’ – we were working two farms at once!”

‘If Clouds Were Sheep’ was published by Cheltenham-based publishers Crumps Barn Studio in early October.

In the short time since its release the book has received positive reviews, from readers including Cotswolds author Katie Fforde.

“The response has been absolutely brilliant,” said Sue.

“People on social media have been messaging me to say they’ve enjoyed and been inspired by it, it’s fantastic.”

This response has spurred Sue on, and she says her second book is already in the works.

She added: “It’s partly written, it’s going to be released next year. It’s going to be based on the Cotswolds seasons.

“I love writing. It is escapism, as is reading. Farming and stock still take priority each day, but then I disappear to my office and can be happily immersed there writing for the rest of the day.”

‘If Clouds Were Sheep’ is available on Kindle and in paperback from Amazon and all high street bookshops.

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