Published on 1st June 2018
Former Farmers Weekly Farmlife editor and now freelancer Tim Relf explains why he loves the variety of his job – and why he’s fond of an outspoken Fat Lady.
Describe your job in a sentence
I’m a freelance, offering journalism, PR and media services to rural publications, businesses and organisations.
When did you decide to be an agricultural journalist?
1994. I’d just finished a one-year NCTJ course and saw a vacancy with Farmers Weekly. I was ecstatic when they offered me the job.
What’s the best thing about your job?
The huge range of people I get to talk to. In the space of a day, I can find myself chatting to a rural police officer, a company boss, a chef at a cookery school and a member of a Young Farmers Club. Who’s the most famous person you’ve met in your job?
I briefly met Prince Charles, but the most fascinating person I’ve interviewed was Clarissa Dickson Wright, who was one half of the Two Fat Ladies TV duo. She was fiercely articulate, extremely outspoken and very funny. She also had 10 middle names!
Where’s the most and least-glamourous place your job’s taken you?
The most: a log cabin in rural Sweden (a trip I shared with photographer Jonathan Page). The least: an interview in a Little Chef car park on the A1.
Which do you prefer - writing or editing?
When you’ve interviewed someone articulate, writing is easier. When you haven’t interviewed the right person, editing is easier.
What’s the weirdest thing a reader has ever said to you or sent you?
When I told them how to spell my surname, they sounded puzzled, paused and then asked: ‘Are you sure?’ If you didn’t write about farming, what would you write about?
I’d like to review books (in another life I write fiction as T.R. Richmond). How untidy is your desk?
It’s pretty tidy right now, but I’m writing this on a Monday and it gets progressively more messy over the course of the week.
Tell us something not many people know about you
I wrote a column for Cat World for many years.
Relf in a minute:
Name a guilty pleasure Gardening
What was the last TV show you binge-watched? The French crime drama Spiral.
Where’s your favourite place to visit? Portreath in Cornwall.
What one thing are you better at that anyone else? Spelling my surname!
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