I think before my travels I once blogged about the unsightliness of outdoor clothes… Well, I have to say, I did acquire a bit of a fondness for my North Face coat in the snow-laden salt flats, and without my Hedgehogs (no name drops here at all, ahem) the Inca Trail would have been even more of a painful slog than it was. Now why do I bring this up again, you wonder. Well, because there is something more tragic than being caught dead in outdoor gear. No! You say. In fact, yes! It is true. And that thing is the country pumpkin.
No, that is not a typo. I’m not talking about those traditional (and largely inaccurate) stereotypes of country dwelling folk who don’t know anything about life beyond their own rural paradise; who get to the city and stare in awe at a skyscraper. Frankly, I don’t believe that kind of bumpkin really exists any more – from my personal experience I would say the young farmers are as savvy and streetwise as the most ‘street’ of city kids. But maybe still with that sweet innocent glow provided by the fresh country air… Sorry, now who’s dishing out the stereotypes? Anyway, as I was saying…
Beware the country pumpkin. She (or he) who is spotted outside their usual urban backdrop, getting (probably forcibly involved) in outdoor activities in totally daft clothes. And you know what? The other week, that she was me. Oh yes. It was bad. I was dragged off by my mum – on the spur of the moment without any warning – to a country estate for a nice Sunday walk. Now, I don’t really have any objection to that; I quite like being outside on a September Sunday in the sunshine. The problem was that that day I was totally ill-prepared for the hilly gardens, woodland, muddy ground and grassy knolls that I was expected to amble, stroll, and finally trudge around for a few hours before I could reasonably suggest sitting down and getting that day’s caffeine hit in the overpriced estate cafe.
Super-duper skinny jeans, a leather bomber and a pair of traditional-style ballet pumps (not suitable for extended outdoor wear, according to Topshop) are not made for these occasions. A fact I discovered as I was trying to take the necessary stride I needed to get up a hill, and couldn’t stretch my legs far enough to do so without the risk of tearing said skinnies, or sliding backwards through the mud in my ridiculously delicate (but oh-so-lovely) ballet pumps.
This is the sad portrait of the country pumpkin. City dwellers, dressed city style, rocking up to the country village/ pile/ lakeside retreat/ woodland picnic/ gentle hill walk (could go on forever with this list, you get the gist) making total fools of themselves and being subtly, or not-so-subtly, derided by the people who usually bear the brunt of the country jokes. I did feel like running and hiding in the nearest, and largest rabbit hole I could find, in the hope of escaping into a wonderland where I didn’t feel so totally out of place. Perhaps Alice was the original country pumpkin? If that’s the case, at least I’m in good company. And, I can still take refuge in the thought that at least I’m not one of those people who goes to the country dressed ‘county-style’ and sticks out like a sore thumb because, quite frankly, they couldn’t look more ridiculous and unauthentic if they tried. Maybe.