I grew up in the country but now I live in town due to a) having a townboy husband who has nightmares at the mere suggestion of moving house and b) the budgetary pressures produced by three sons.

I trek into the city to visit the university, to keep my reproductive psychology reading up to date, and to buy bras.

I long for a field so I can have my own horse, instead of borrowing m’father’s or m’sister’s, or at the very least a bigger garden so I can keep chickens. I compensate for my lack of land and livestock by having a dog, two cats and two guinea pigs.

 Why I’m Stroppy:

Several years ago, when I was up to my eyeballs in small children and before I had internet access or a decent computer, one of my brothers dropped in with his laptop and said “Come on, we’ll set you up a hotmail account.”  I must have spent at least an hour trying to come up with a user name – I did a lot of gardening back then and was trying to come up with something with a favourite plant in it, but all of my suggestions had been used about 300 times already. Suddenly it came to me: I was a Jane Russell type, the dark-haired and smart mouthed opposite of the simpering blonde Marilyn Monroe I had seen in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes a couple of days earlier.

 I suggested it and my brother laughed for about 15 minutes, then typed it in and, lo and behold, no one else had come up with that particular moniker. I told my other brother and he laughed like a drain for about 30 minutes. Then I told my husband, who looked bemused, and my sister who wrinkled her nose and curled her top lip slightly and said “oh”; both are signs that I’m onto a good thing so I stuck with it.

I’m still the only Strop I know, and I’m  proud.

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