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"The fuel bills are horrendous sometimes but at least you can get easily from door-to-door," she says."In London, it's so stressful; trains get delayed and if you drive, you can't park. Driving to parties in the country became one of my best pulling techniques; everyone wants a lift home." But what's the point of falling in love with someone who lives miles away from your house?
A study by Louise Elliott, a land agent for Savills, suggests that the parents of about half of people in farming communities met via Young Farmers and a quarter were introduced by a farming friend."Find a dating buddy; someone who is in the same situation as you," she says."Single friends will also give you moral support if you're feeling depressed about meeting the third frog in a row." If you've been brought up in a country community, the chances are you will already know a lot of the people living locally.According to Patricia Warren, this can make socialising stale. Two of Charlotte's friends organised a singles party on Valentine's Day and 70 people turned up."It was very refreshing to be sat next to two people I didn't know," Charlotte says.When I moved back to the country it occurred to me how hard it is to meet people.As soon as everyone starts to couple up and have children, meeting new people gets harder," she says."There are amazing men out there who want a wife and children but feel as if they've been sitting on a tractor for the last 10 years and haven't met anyone." Charlotte, however, is socially proactive. But it's rare to be introduced to a new face and even if I am, the likelihood is that they'll know my friends." For many rural communities, the hunt ball is an annual highlight, organised ostensibly to raise money for the local hunt, but presenting locals with a rare opportunity to dress up and swing each other around on the dance floor."I'd never go to one on my own," Charlotte says, "but as long as I have a wingman, I'm fine." This is exactly the right approach, according to dating expert Mary Balfour."Jamie lives less than eight miles away but I'd never met him.It turned out my parents knew his parents and I was friends with his brother." However, in the past five years, social networking sites have revolutionised rural dating.