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LIVE24SEVEN // Local C LAI R E IN THE COUNT Y


Claire Thayer’s has a confession-


- Love love love…Love Island!


My guilty secret is out – yes, I was addicted – there it is out in print for the world to see and I feel all the better for sharing it with you.


Last year I endured it in the background, as my youngest watched it night, after night after night – mindless drivel I thought, just like Big Brother, determined not to watch it and ignoring all the hype.


This year, as the trailers gained momentum I thought I would just watch ONE episode, just to see what all the fuss was about, especially as this series included a local, young farmer called Chris. I couldn’t help myself – from the first ten minutes of the first show I was hooked. How was a country boy from Gloucestershire going to survive, alongside an interesting mix of characters; Geordies, Scousers, Mancunians and a sprinkling of ‘Made in Essex’ type chaps and chapettes!


It made compulsive viewing; I watched it night after night, because I was transfixed. What an insight into a totally different world and as for the language…I had never heard any of these expressions. ‘Tuna melt! Muggy! 100% my type on paper’ I learnt that not only was their use of words alien to me but from an era of ‘no sex before marriage’ it seemed that sharing a bed was totally fine, yet THEY seemed so old fashioned over the L word (think it was L for love, rather than L for lust) and seemed childish when they were asked to be a boyfriend or girlfriend, how the world has changed! We were quick to pair up in Young Farmers, yet the closest we got to ‘sharing a bed’ (good use of a euphemism) was a fumble in the back of a ‘Series Three’ landy – with our Hunters on, and our Puffas still fastened.


Chris Hughes & Olivia Attwood


Following the highs and lows of Chris was at times painful to watch and he was certainly not as I remember the boys in our Young Farmers club, not that I saw many of them with their budgie smugglers on, night after night! As I recall, they didn’t have the all over tan that Chris had – because they worked hard haymaking, they all had proper farmers tans, which meant brown faces and necks, brown arms and everything else whiter than white – or so I was told! I was also told that their legs were semi hairless, worn off around the tops of their calves from their wellies…


Pushing that image to the back of my mind - it was worth watching Love Island not only for the psychology of these 20 somethings, but also for style tips on swim suits, sunglasses and thongs. (I hardly noticed the shorts that were worn by the boys – cannot imagine why?) Discussing it with my eldest, made interesting conversation.


Over the course of the series, I watched Chris endure the screaming Olivia, watched him cradle his plastic baby, watched him cramming sausages down a bikini top and seeing his tears live on TV, made him all the more innocent and loveable. I own up, I ended up watching every episode as even his friendship with Kem made for addictive TV.


I cannot help but wonder what will happen to Chris and Olivia and the rest of the gang now that they have all been catapulted into the outside world and the world of fame. All B grade celebrities, forever on the front of glossy magazines, the centre of mindless gossip and no doubt, soon to feature on the next series of ‘I’m a celebrity, Get me out of here’ - will their lives ever be the same again?


It may just be worth a little trip up the lanes near Guiting to see if Chris is back on his tractor and see if Olivia is out in the field, delivering his flask of tea and homemade cake, as I did as a 20 something, for my young farmer boyfriend. Or whether Chris is now in Essex, having his spray tan, wearing his white skinny jeans, and clubbing every night.


Time will tell…the one thing I do know is that one day he will make a wonderful father and if he was my son I would be rather proud of him!


/ 72


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