Linda McDonald-Brown: Changed days

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It’s a standing joke among those who know me that I live in wellingtons, and it’s true – they do seem to have become a permanent fixture on my feet, regardless of whether I’m working with animals, going food shopping or picking up boys up from school.

In fact my entire wardrobe nowadays seems to consist of woolly scarves, polo neck jumpers, leggings, wellingtons and jackets that alternate between smelling of horses and pigs.

So different from my days in London when I was working for IPC Media, the largest publishing house in the UK. I would think nothing of buying clothes every week, eating out at expensive restaurants and having luxurious spa treatments on a regular basis.

And don’t mention my hair. I cringe when I think back now at how my regular six-weekly cut would set me back £80 … and I thought at the time that was a bargain!

Unfortunately, although I no longer pay that sort of money for my hair, my expensive tastes still linger. As one friend pointed out to me recently, I have champagne tastes but with lemonade pockets – and I have to admit she’s right.

I’m still in London mode when it comes to my appearance but my salary isn’t. Working as a freelancer who has built her career on the back of pigs is probably not the safest way of ensuring I have enough money either now or in the future.

Magazines are notorious for delaying payment: the bigger they are, the worst it becomes. In some cases I have known myself wait three months after an article has been published before payment reaches my bank. And as for making money out of pigs, that’s as likely in this current climate as it is Elvis rising from the dead.

Although I have been forced to cut back on my extravagant spending, due in no small part to the extortionate cost of animal feed, I absolutely refuse to buy cheap when it comes to face cream. When you’re getting on, as I am, you need as much help as you can to smooth out the wrinkles and fill the cracks. I’m familiar with all the expensive creams – Clarins, Creme de le Mer, Givenchy, to name but a few. Are they doing me any good? Well, I don’t want to stop using them to find out.

My one treat now is visiting Prana in Castle Douglas to have my hair cut and, if I can afford it, a spa treatment. I sit there flicking through expensive glossy magazines, relaxing as they give my poor withered hands a massage and drink proper coffee, and, for the couple of hours I’m there, I’m transported back to my single non-animal days in London but without the horrendous cost.

Then it all too soon it comes to an end, and I put my smelly jacket back on and a woolly hat to keep out the cold and head back home to the country.