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Liz Jones Exclusive!* Why, after five terrible years, I'm leaving the country and won't come back!

The brainy and brave Mail on Sunday columnist left her home in the countryside to return to London. Here she recounts the horror and trauma of life in the sticks

As I told my many, many readers on Sunday, I have finally left my bijou mansion in Somerset and I'm on my way back to London. I had moved to the country in order to devote my entire being to my life's true cause: the development of a respite home for mentally exhausted cats, a journey which I would dramatically document with a weekly column for the Daily Mail and a book deal (like Nelson Mandela's Long Walk to Freedom but with fashion and horses).

I thought country people would accept me with open arms. I would be their diamond. They would be my rough. And I would be in them. Instead, they treated me with contempt. They might as well have put up a sign saying 'no blacks, no homosexuals, and no fashionistas!'

For five years I lived in the countryside. At times I felt like a prisoner but prisoners are lucky, because at least they have wardens dedicated to ensuring their safety and psychiatrists to ensure their mental wellbeing. I, on the other hand, had just spent five years living alone, being treated like a criminal. My crime was being a slim, childless and incredibly popular newspaper columnist. Guilty as charged. Indeed it was I, Liz Jones, that had inspired Julian Fellowes to make Lady Edith become a columnist in Downton Abbey. Melanie Philips has been telling people it was her, but she's a liar!


I admit I was naive when I moved to the country. I had assumed the inbred locals would be kind and gentle folk, with names like 'Mollie' and 'Seth' and have a nice pub, like in that reality show Emmerdale (the countryside's answer to TOWIE). But instead they were vicious and cruel, like the locals in Deliverance. And I was their Ned Beatty!

I was totally clueless. Having spent most of my life in London, I had no idea that milk came from cows. I thought potatoes grew on trees. But I learnt quickly. I tried my best to blend in like a local and would say 'oohh arrrrr, bye eck it's bloody cold ducky!' at passing strangers but they just looked at me like I was mad.

But my biggest shock was yet to come. In the country they have these places where they grow animals. These places are called 'farms'. Once the animals are pretty enough, they take them to a 'slaughter house'. They never come out alive! They are then taken to a shop where they are butchered by a 'butcher' and the meat is sold to fat people who haven't got the imagination to cook vegetarian meals. You can imagine my horror when I discovered this sort of thing happened in the country.

I am a vegetarian because I love animals. I identify with their vulnerability. That is why I sometimes adopt the look of a rabid hare. When I drove into the nearest town and went to a restaurant, I asked the waiter if they did vegetarian options. He looked at me like I was an Afghan girl asking for an education!

The mums in the village also didn't like me. Naturally they were jealous of me, because they have stomachs with the texture of lukewarm readybrek and no life. It's not true that I dislike children. I just don't want them within a 10 mile radius of me.

Country people also have no consideration for others and frequently allow their horses to take a poop in the open air. The look on one man's face when I went up to his horse's poop and handed him a Cath Kidston horses poop bag was priceless. Horses poop might be good for roses, but it's bad for my manolo blahniks.


When I finally plucked up the courage to explore the village, I discovered they had an Oxfam shop. I walked in and said 'Take me to your vintage!' but all they had was cheap acryilic jumpers from BHS, trousers with elasticated waistbands for fat people, some ghastly baby toys, and a couple of Barbara Taylor Bradfords for the illiterate locals. But I did find a leaflet suggesting I buy a goat for a family in Africa. I looked at the picture of that poor little goat's face, all alone with no one to feed him or pet him, and immediately bought one to go to a nice family in Africa who could give him the love I only wish I could give. I love animals.

There were times when I was lonely for human company, which is a difficult situation to be in when you don't like men, women, children or old people. I haven't had a chum since my invisible friend Penny dumped me when I was 5. She said I was 'too neurotic'. Ha! Who has the successful column in the Daily Mail now Penny? Me!

In my darkest hour I thought about leaving. When I discovered some local people had thrown eggs at my car - not even free range! - I began to suspect the village didn't like me much. Then I remembered the Queen Mother and how she bravely stuck it out in Buckingham Palace during the London blitz and thought that I, Liz Jones, should bravely stick it out too. But then I thought, it's unfair to compare my experience with the Queen Mother's. After all, the Nazi's didn't chuck battery eggs at Buckingham Palace did they! Enough is enough. Time to leave.

I had naively thought that moving to the country would be a mutual love affair. The country folk would teach me how to enjoy simple things like grass and sunshine, and I, Liz Jones, would teach them how to mix designer with high street. But the village didn't even have a high street!!!

I am now on my way to London, cats in the passenger seat, dogs in the back seat, horse in the boot. I am coming back to you my beloved London. At least now I can be fully honest about my experience and tell you all about it in my many, many columns.

*According to Victoria Wright.