"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.Tickets for the event cost from £60 and there will be a live band, three-course meal and casino.Traditionally, the under 26- year-olds living in the country met through their local Young Farmers club.
"It was very refreshing to be sat next to two people I didn't know," Charlotte says.
"We organise rural singles' events such as regional pub grub nights, sailing trips and an annual ball." More than 300 people, mainly in their forties and fifties, attended the Mud Lovers ball last year.
"People come from all over the country and there's a seating plan done by area to combat cliquiness," Lucy 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.