Do I make a full-time TV show or do I be­come a full-time farmer?

The Sunday Mail (Queensland) - TV Guide - - THE LAST WORD -

“THE chal­lenge last year [sea­son two] was to turn it from an ex­per­i­ment into see­ing if it could be a sus­tain­able pay­ing ven­ture. In sea­son three is it pay­ing yet? Well, I wouldn’t say it’s a full-time in­come, but we are def­i­nitely much closer.

It’s one of those things … when does it stop be­com­ing a TV show and when does it start be­com­ing a full-time farm and what do I do? Do I make a full-time TV show or do I be­come a full-time farmer? Be­cause it’s very dif­fi­cult to both.

We shot for the bulk of last year and had a lit­tle time off over Christ­mas – then it was back into shoot­ing and fin­ish­ing the [ River Cottage Australia] cook book.

Then I fi­nally got time to take stock for first time in 18 months. Oh [grins] ... and wel­come a baby [baby Otto was born to West and part­ner Ali­cia Cor­dia in late April].

I think it hap­pened [Ali­cia fell preg­nant] in the UK ac­tu­ally – if we do the maths – clearly it was some­thing they put in the food, but we also stayed in a beau­ti­ful place off the Isle of Skye with beau­ti­ful clear Scot­tish Loch wa­ter, so maybe it was that ... or maybe it was just that we were in the mid­dle of nowhere and in a beau­ti­ful cabin and we were so happy to be there with each other.

It was quite sur­real watch­ing Ali­cia’s belly grow. When it comes kick­ing and scream­ing into the world the real love re­ally starts.

We’ve been to­gether six years. The wed­ding plans are on the back-burner. We don’t want to rush it, we don’t want it to be a stress, nei­ther of us are go­ing any­where – in terms of with­out each other – so there’s no race to get down the aisle.

You won’t see the preg­nancy in the se­ries. It’s some­thing that goes back to TV hap­pen­ing in a bub­ble. So much of what hap­pens here is real, but through an ed­i­to­rial lens. Be­cause Leesh and the baby are two to­tally rock-solid, real things I don’t want them to be in­ter­preted through an ed­i­to­rial lens. We want to keep a bit of us to our­selves.

Some bad s**t has hap­pened on the farm this sea­son, but not on the same scale it did in sea­son two [when crops were lost].

The big suc­cess has been get­ting more con­sis­tent sup­ply out of the veg­etable gar­den, be­ing able to sell some veg­etable boxes to the peo­ple in Tilba – be­ing able to put four or five dif­fer­ent things into those boxes on a regular ba­sis.

First sea­son it’s like ‘one zucchini – yeah’. The sec­ond sea­son it’s like ‘oh s**t, a tonne of zuc­chi­nis’, now it’s – ‘enough zuc­chi­nis’ – we’ve re­fined the process.”

RIVER COTTAGE AUSTRALIA TUES­DAY, 8.30PM, LIFE­STYLE CHAN­NEL With Deb­bie Schipp

Photo: Nick Wil­son

Farm life: Paul with one of his chooks and, inset, with Ali­cia and baby Otto.

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