Queen is 'very down to earth' says Sir Paul McCartney
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Sir Paul McCartney, 79, has revealed how he “couldn’t deal” with the fall out of The Beatles’ split in the early 1970s due to the intense scrutiny. Therefore he and his wife Linda McCartney decided to “escape” to a remote sheep farm in Scotland, where they both decided to embrace sustainability and vegetarianism.
During their 29-year marriage, the McCartneys had four children: Mary, Stella and James, as well as Heather, who Linda shared with her first husband and who the musician later formally adopted.
They would regularly visit a farmhouse retreat in western Scotland, which Paul purchased before they met, a hidden place he used initially to “escape Beatlemania” and later to deal with the fall out of the musical split between him, George Harrison, Ringo Starr and John Lennon.
Speaking on how the pair “eloped” full-time to the farm in the early 1970s, Paul recalled: “We had a farm in a place called Campbeltown which is south down the Argyll peninsula, south of Glasgow so we spent quite a lot of time there.
“The Beatles break-up got a bit heavy and the business scene, and you just couldn’t deal with it. So we decided to just elope, even though we were married. We just escaped there, and it was just a sheep farm.”
Once they spent more time at the farm around the animals, the pair began to question their culinary choices.
Paul has told The River Cafe podcast: “We realised we were eating leg of lamb and that’s when the penny dropped.
“So we said, ‘You know what, shall we just try and not eat meat?’ In those days it was actually difficult, but we decided we would make it a challenge.”
“They both liked and needed time away from the city, and were equally attracted to natural surroundings,” wrote biographer Barry Miles.
“We’d just enjoy sitting out in nature,” Paul said.
The song Two of Us and Let it Be was written by Paul during one of their country drives.
“This song was about that: doing nothing, trying to get lost … [and] the wonderfully free attitude we were able to have,” he added.
Linda recalled the setting: “Scotland was like nothing I’d ever lived in. It was the most beautiful land you have ever seen, way at the end of nowhere.
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“To me, it was the first feeling I’d ever had of civilisation dropped away.. so different from all the hotels and limousines and the music business, so it was quite a relief.”
Linda went on to promote a vegetarian diet through her cookbooks: Linda McCartney’s Home Cooking (with author Peter Cox, 1989), Linda’s Kitchen, and Simple and Inspiring Recipes for Meatless Meals.
She explained her change to vegetarianism by saying that she did not “eat anything with a face… If slaughterhouses had glass walls the whole world would be vegetarian”.
The McCartneys went on to become outspoken vegetarians and animal rights activists.
In 1991, Linda introduced a line of frozen vegetarian meals under the Linda McCartney Foods name, which made her wealthy independently of her husband.
The H. J. Heinz Company acquired the company in March 2000, and the Hain Celestial Group bought it in 2007.
A strong advocate of animal rights, Linda lent her support to many organisations, such as People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), the Council for the Protection of Rural England, and Friends of the Earth.
She was also a patron of the League Against Cruel Sports. She narrated a TV advertisement for PETA in which she said: “Have you ever seen a fish gasping for breath when you take it out of the water? They’re saying, ‘Thanks a lot for killing me. It feels great, you know.’ No! It hurts!” After her death, PETA created the Linda McCartney Memorial Award.
Linda died of breast cancer in 1998 and Paul has since been married two more times.
Firstly to Heather Mills in 2002 and then to his current wife Nancy Shevell.
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