Ex-rap­per’s small­hold­ing

He was once a fa­mous boy­band rap­per. Now Abz Love and his girl­friend Vicky Fal­lon live qui­etly on a small­hold­ing in Wales. They talked to Kim Stod­dart

Country Smallholding - - Front Page -

There’s noth­ing new about mu­si­cians and pop stars mov­ing out to a large pile in the coun­try­side once they’ve made it. It’s ac­tu­ally in­cred­i­bly com­mon: Paul McCart­ney, Robert Plant, Alex James … they’ve all done it. Former 5ive rap­per Abz Love and his girl­friend Vicky Fal­lon, how­ever, have done some­thing al­to­gether dif­fer­ent. In the re­cent BBC 2 se­ries Abz on the Farm we saw the cou­ple skint and max­ing out their credit cards in or­der to fol­low their quest for self-suf­fi­ciency on a mort­gaged £142,000 small­hold­ing in deepset West Wales.

The cou­ple have leapt bravely into the un­known in a de­sire to try and learn to live off a small plot of land. They’ve moved to the mid­dle of nowhere to start a new life from scratch and, in the TV se­ries, come across as very gen­uine in their in­ten­tions. I was in­trigued, and so I went along to find out how they’ve been get­ting on since the cam­eras stopped film­ing.

It’s been al­most a year since they made the move and, al­though they’ve had to con­tend with a lot of chal­lenges, they re­main 100% com­mit­ted to mak­ing small­hold­ing life work for them. Their en­thu­si­asm for learn­ing to work their nearly four-acre plot and all that en­tails is in­fec­tious and there’s clearly a lot more to them than you might first imag­ine.

For ex­am­ple, they didn’t sell their story to the high­est bid­der: they were of­fered more money to do the se­ries on Sky Liv­ing but turned it down for the op­por­tu­nity to work with the nat­u­ral his­tory depart­ment of the BBC in­stead. As Vicky ex­plains: “We wanted to do more than the usual celebrity crap. We work in an industry that re­wards the wrong kind of peo­ple and we wanted this to be ed­u­ca­tional. If we can make peo­ple laugh along the way that’s great be­cause laugh­ter is good for the soul.”

Abz quit his band late last year and since then has been fo­cus­ing full time on what he sees as a move into some­thing real. Some­thing that he can de­pend upon, even­tu­ally. “It’s so em­pow­er­ing. I love ex­plor­ing and be­ing out of the crazi­ness.”

He ex­plains: “I’ve had it all; I’ve been around the world three times, ate at the finest res­tau­rants, met the celebs…but this is what mat­ters – learn­ing how to work a lit­tle plot of land.”

I’ve in­ter­viewed a lot of small­hold­ers now for this mag­a­zine and have seen time and time again how an ini­tial de­sire to make, mend and ‘do’ ab­so­lutely every­thing tends to wane af­ter the first few years. To be com­pletely self-suf­fi­cient would take all of your time and en­ergy and peo­ple either need to get a job or learn to cre­ate a liv­ing from the land. Either way, this gen­er­ally in­volves fo­cus­ing on par­tic­u­lar ar­eas and skills rather than try­ing to do ab­so­lutely every­thing for them­selves.

Yet it doesn’t mean it’s a com­plete pipedream. Abz and Vicky have been guided dur­ing the se­ries by res­i­dents at Lam­mas, an eco-vil­lage in Pem­brokeshire, who live en­tirely off grid in homes they have made for them­selves.

So how are they get­ting on?

Well, they are still buy­ing most things in; ex­cept for the veg­eta­bles they have started to pro­duce and eggs from their chick­ens. But then it’s by no means an overnight trans­for­ma­tion. It takes time to learn how to do things for free and to see food in a dif­fer­ent light. As Fal­lon says: “I look in my fridge and if it’s empty I think I must shop, even when I’ve got a poly­tun­nel full of pro­duce. I’m still learn­ing how to make what we’re grow­ing into some­thing de­li­cious and get­ting over that men­tal bar­rier of food com­ing from the su­per­mar­ket.”

Af­ter hav­ing a lot of drainage work car­ried out on their land – which had flooded badly – the fields have fi­nally re­cov­ered and grass is grow­ing again. How­ever, a few months back they came to the con­clu­sion that their land is still un­suit­able for heav­ier live­stock graz­ing

I’ve had it all … but this is what mat­ters – learn­ing how to work a

lit­tle plot

and they sold their two horses. It was a hard and up­set­ting move but they were still feed­ing their horses hay in June so in the end it sim­ply had to be done.

In­stead, they have plans to try out smallscale goat or al­paca keep­ing and are about to buy some more chick­ens to add to their small brood. They also fancy get­ting some Khaki Camp­bell ducks which they’ve been told are good for help­ing to keep the slugs on the veg patch un­der con­trol. Given the poor sum­mer we’ve had in West Wales this year, I can vouch for the fact the slugs have been hav­ing a bit of a field day…

They have a lot of wil­low on their land so Vicky would like to learn how to make things with it such as bas­kets. Abz is al­ready think­ing about a duck pond is­land he’s go­ing to make for the im­mi­nent quack­ing ar­rivals and, well, there are plenty more plans and ideas be­sides. * Kim Stod­dart also moved to a small­hold­ing in west Wales af­ter giv­ing up a high-fly­ing job in the South East

Ex-rap­per Abz Love and his girl­friend Vicky Fal­lon with their dogs on their small­hold­ing in Wales

Some calm by the camp­fire: a long way from the glitz and glam­our of the ‘celeb’ life

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.