Theo Hobson

Is there anything more uplifting than Our Yorkshire Farm?

Is there anything more uplifting than Our Yorkshire Farm?
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I’m not sure what to say about Our Yorkshire Farm, a documentary on the utterly redeemed Channel 5, that doesn’t sound hyperbolic to the point of idolatry and slight nuttiness. If there is anything else in our culture that is as wholesome, pure and good as this, please tell me about it. 

Amid all the murk and sleaze and bigotry and inverted bigotry and tired complacent mediocrity, there is a family that knows how to live well - a family that has more or less restored the whole notion of virtue. Yes, virtue! Amid all the crappy Netflix shows, there is Sidney, who is learning to run his first sheepdog. 

Amid all the stale chat about how we’re going to learn lessons from the pandemic, maybe, there is Miles, who looks after the chickens. Amid all the tediously quite-good novels by people like Kazuo Ishiguro, there is Violet, who found some owls nesting in a barn. Amid all the pollution and traffic and roadworks and angry looks from angry drivers, there is Nancy, who found a ginormous snail. Amid all the depressing chat about depressing racism in depressing American cities, and every other branch of the stupid boring culture war, there is Edith, who came last in the family fell race. Amid all the ghastly vile plastic celebrities camping around on unforgivable game shows, there is Ruben, who is doing an apprenticeship. Amid all the dull dull dull political chat about visionless politicians, and the boring pious enthusiasm of bumptious Radio 4 scientists, there is Raven, who is studying medicine, and is greatly admired by all her younger siblings. 

And now I feel like Maria in The Sound of Music, praying in her bedroom, because she has forgotten Kurt’s name and has to say ‘God bless the other one’. But yes God bless the other beautiful little girl. And God bless their dad, whose name I’ve also forgotten, a wise and gentle Yorkshire man with no bluster or pride or chippiness, just a deep love for his work, and a deep gratitude that he belongs to ‘the finest profession in the world.’ Clive, that’s it, God bless Clive. 

And of course I’ve saved the presiding deity for last. What can I say about Amanda Owen that doesn’t sound gushing and creepy? I don’t care how it sounds. She is basically the best person I have encountered in recent years. She is better than all the vacuous show-offs who write articles in newspapers and launch their own range of who-cares-what and think they have the best opinions about everything. She just lives well, and mothers well, and loves well, and farms well, as far as I can tell. There is no need to say anything clever or witty or insightful about her. Just rejoice that this ghastly time has produced such authentic pastoral purity. 

And please God let her call it a day now with the publicity, before the shallow shabby world gets its clutches on her perfect brood. She has given us the gift of a symbol of light and hope. Let her now back off, and shut the farm gate to us needy intruders, while all is well.

Written byTheo Hobson

Theo Hobson is the author of seven books, including God Created Humanism: the Christian Basis of Secular Values

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