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"It's how you hear about hunt balls, Young Farmers meetings and parties, and you can see who is going," says Vittoria Pannizon, 27, who lives in Gloucestershire. "After that we kept bumping into each other and eventually went out for supper in Cirencester." Vicky Cooke, 34, a teacher living in a village near Rugby, met her fiancé, Richard Jones, 33, from Sutton Coldfield, on My Single Friend. "Dating in the country is always a problem due to distances," Mary Balfour says."All my friends are married and starting families, and no one wanted to go out on the pull. "Richard was the third person I met through My Single Friend. "You can meet people but the fact you have to drive puts pressure on any date.But according to Patricia Warren, a farmer's wife from Derbyshire who runs the Country Bureau, a rural introduction agency, the country dating scene can be bleak, whatever age you are."Communities are small and people work long hours," she says. "I've gone to so many hunt balls this year, I've become a bit of a joke among my friends.The nationwide body of 662 clubs hosts social events throughout the year such as parties and quizzes.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."But that kind of event doesn't happen every month; it takes a lot of effort to arrange." Determined to improve the chances of fresh encounters in the countryside, Lucy Reeves, 30, from Northamptonshire, founded rural matchmaking website Muddy Matches with her sister Emma in 2007.
"The downside of hunt balls and race meets is they can be cliquey," Lucy says."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?"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.