"When I think of traditional dating agencies in the countryside, I imagine women in spectacles wearing tweeds and lots of underwear," says Sarah Beeny, founder of dating website My Single Friend."The internet has opened up a fun and less embarrassing way for people to meet new people in their area." Young country dwellers also organise their social lives on Facebook. I tell as many people as possible about the website now." But the internet can't solve the problem of geography.Party-goers stay in nearby hotels and can join a pre-ball activity and a hearty walk the following day.This year's ball in Sywell, Northamptonshire, on May 22 has a "black tie with a muddy twist" dress code.Muddy Matches is an online community designed to bring together rural lonely hearts (see below)."The downside of hunt balls and race meets is they can be cliquey," 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.
"A lot of people say it's the rural dating agency," she 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?"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.