Kate Humble: My family values

Dad was incredibly hard-working, stubborn, very principled and hot-tempered, all of which I am too, and we'd argue because of our similar temperament, but I did, and still do, worship my dad. He was the best storyteller – no one could read Winnie-the-Pooh like him, with all the different characters' voices. Mum was much calmer and the peacekeeper of the family – she was the family anchor.

Our parents made us realise that the most joyful and important things in life cost nothing. But if we wanted things, we had to earn the money or save up. Understanding the value of something and then treasuring it are the best priorities a parent can give a child.

We moved out of London when I was nine months old to a Victorian farmhouse in Bray, Berkshire, next to a working farm. My parents wanted more space and Mum says I was quite a hyperactive baby so the thought of me cooped up in a tiny urban house was probably more than she could bear!

I was horse mad and from the age of five, I could earn riding lessons, by doing grubby jobs looking after horses. My childhood was like something straight out of The Famous Five. I was a tomboy (and still am) and if I was forced into a dress, I was vile. Mum despaired. I climbed trees, fell down things and did snail races. I was always covered in scabs and stitches from falls. I've never been elegant.

I was incredibly independent as a child. My mum tells me that when I was three I disappeared one day and I was found a mile away with my wheelbarrow at the pig farm up the road. As far as I was concerned, I was just going on a little adventure.

I was three when my brother Charlie was born. I don't think I was a particularly nice big sister. If we played, I'd always get the best toy or the best spot. We were quite different – I was much more physical than him and into horses so we just grew in separate directions and did our own thing.

I was probably quite a vile teenager. I was difficult and wilful and had all these lofty ideas about disappearing off to do more exciting things, which Dad and I would be at loggerheads about. My mum would annoy the tits off me because she was meticulously tidy and insisted Charlie and I were the same. She'd be washing the dinner plates the second we were finished. Ironically, I'm much the same way now – I can't bear mess.

We come from a very small extended family. Mum was an only child and Dad has a stepsister and half-brother, who died in his 50s from muscular dystrophy. We saw my maternal granny, who lived in Hertfordshire, quite a lot and she'd come and stay. It made organising the guest list for my wedding to Ludo in 1992 pretty easy!

Ludo and I agreed from the start not to have children. I suspect Mum would have loved it if I'd given her grandchildren and was sad and disappointed initially, but they were incredibly happy that I'd found such a wonderful husband – with whom they'd set me up. It was always expected that after a couple of years, we'd move out of the city to have kids, but that was never my plan. Thankfully, Charlie has two little children, who my parents absolutely adore, and my parents dote on my dogs.

Kate Humble is leading the Barefoot Wine Beach Rescue Project, which aims to keep British beaches "barefoot friendly" by collecting rubbish

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