Tuesday, 15 June 2021

Farmer Cro.


When I bought my original farmhouse here in France, it came with just over 2 acres of good mostly level land, plus a small plantation of Sweet Chestnuts; about 20 very-mature trees.

Dealing with the Chestnuts in Autumn was simply hard graft, tedious nightly sorting into 'large and small', and hazardous selling. The merchants, of course, always tried to knock down the price..... I learnt the hard way.

One of the first actual grown crops that I attempted was Gherkins. These are the small undeveloped fruits of the 'Ridge Cucumber', that are picked when between 2-3 inches long. They were an easy crop to grow, and the merchants came to the house every other day to collect them. I suppose we sold between 5 and 10 kilos at each occasion. They grew like crazy, and required constant picking.  

I soon fancied myself as a proper farmer, and decided that I needed to grow a pukka 'agricultural crop' on my land. My first attempt at 'agriculture' was Maize; one of the easiest crops to grow.

I borrowed my neighbour's small Massey Ferguson 35 tractor, and was given a five minute lesson on ploughing. I must say that my effort was pretty good, and when later rotovated, the field looked as good as anyone's. My crop did well, but on account of my reluctance to spray with herbicides, the final harvested crop came with a lot of unwanted seeds, and went to feeding our, and a friend's, Hens.

The following year I had a go at Wheat. Again I ploughed and harrowed, then hand broadcast the seed in old fashioned style (as in Millet's painting above). In my area, it was normal for growers to exchange their Wheat crop with local bakers for bread. Unfortunately my crop was again full of unwanted wild seeds, and the baker turned it down. Again it was used as Chicken feed; most of the crop being sold to a local organic farmer, who didn't mind a bit of grass seed amongst the grains.

After my second attempt at playing Jolly Farmers, I decided to quit, and I devoted my land to the much easier production of hay, which I was happy to give to my neighbour. 

I left farming to the professionals.

Monday, 14 June 2021

Cherry Season.

We have three Cherry trees; two red cherries, and one yellow. Both red ones had no fruit whatsoever, and the yellow one is only just beginning to ripen.

However, my lovely neighbour, José, has plenty of trees, just one of which has fruit this year. His others, like mine, suffered from late frost.

He always offers me some fruit; normally he has plenty, but I was quite surprised when he offered me the above this year. I didn't expect him to have any.

They are totally delicious. Big, plump, dark, and juicy; just as one imagines Cherries to be. How wonderful to have such good neighbours!

My own yellow ones will be ready soon, but they are nowhere near as good as these.

Lunch was a Girolle omelette, a simple salad, and of course, that bowl of Cherries; all washed down with a big glass of cold diluted Lemon juice.

It was 33 C yesterday, and the pool water was 25 C. A real Summer's day.  Rain and storms forecast for mid-week; I'm not surprised.


Cricket Season

Forget Football and the Euros, it's Cricket season; and perfect weather for it too.

My oldest, Kimbo, is a keen Cricketer, and plays for a decent Hertfordshire team. This last weekend he chalked-up his best ever score as an opening batsman. He and his fellow opener scored 112 between them, with Kimbo, at No 1, scoring the highest, by just 4 runs. He was eventually bowled LBW.

I like to think that it was me who encouraged Kimbo's love of Cricket. I would take him to watch Sussex, bowl at him in the nets, and got him a junior trial at Sussex CC (unsuccessful).


So, well done Kimbo. 58 is a pretty good knock;.... one to be proud of!

N.B. He did point out to me that his score was higher than any of the England players v NZ over the weekend; so maybe there'll be an opening for a new England player?

Well done darling! Papa xx

Sunday, 13 June 2021

Never a dull moment.

I was busy working away indoors when I heard a distant cry "Cro, Cro, come quickly, I've just seen a black and white Pygmy run under the car".

Well, I've never been one to miss an opportunity, so out I went to confront this timorous Pygmy.

"It's gone over there now" shouted Lady Magnon, pointing at the bank behind the house. "What is?" I asked; "Where's this Pygmy?".

"It's not a Pygmy; it's some sort of multi-coloured hairy creature".

"Have you been drinking?" I asked.

We poked about in the undergrowth of the bank behind our house, then all of a sudden... "There it is!"

Suddenly I could see a small black, white, and tan, creature looking at me; and he was in no mood to be caught.

It took about 15 minutes of chasing the beast from one spot to another, before, with the aid of the children's Butterfly net, and my thick leather gardening gloves, we caught the vicious beast.

Lady M remembered that our lovely neighbour Sara had had Guinea Pigs, so we phoned her Father, and he confirmed that she'd lost them a few days previously. She came a few minutes later to collect it.

It seems that there's still one more out there. Billy had found the one above, maybe he'll find the other one too.


Saturday, 12 June 2021

Not Haddock's

At this time of year, my attention is naturally focussed on Haddock's; it's the productive part of the garden. But there are other parts too, and here is a potpourri of some of the other bits. 

And, finally, here's Billy, who's usually either chasing a Tennis Ball, or relaxing under the shade of the Quince tree.; in this case the latter. He's smiling!


Friday, 11 June 2021

More Macron Malarkey.

On January 1st 2022, Emmanuel Macron will take over the Presidency of the EU for a 'rotational' six month term in office.

He has announced that his first action will be to change the official language of the EU from the current dreaded English, to French. It's good to know where his priorities lie.

This was attempted once before by Jacques Toubon. Known as the 'Loi Toubon' it was designed to insist that French was used whenever possible (in France). Toubon himself instantly became known as Jack Allgood, and the use of English throughout France seemed to increase dramatically.

People will always veer towards a language that works best in whatever situation. If the use of the word 'Cornflakes' sells your product better than Flocons de Maize, then that is what you will use.

We were amused recently, when stopped at a temporary traffic light, to see that the car in front of us was a Citroen 'Cottage'. Good luck to Macron if he tries to stop future Citroen cars being named 'Bungalow', or 'Apartment over the Chip Shop', etc.

English is the language of Diplomacy, the Air, and the Sea. It is also the world's preferred second language. We all know Dutch, or Danish, or Swedish people who speak English better than most English natives; and they are very proud to do so. 

Today, English is still the world's most spoken language. There are 1 Billion, 348 Million speakers of English as a first language; of French there are just 267 Million.

If 'Teacher's Pet' Macron thinks he's going the change all that; then good luck to him.

Thursday, 10 June 2021

Oradour-sur-Glane, et al.

Oradour is back in the news again, via a recent book on the subject; 'Silent Village' by Robert Pike.

I imagine that most people know the appalling story of Oradour-sur-Glane; a village about 2 hrs to the North of where I live. 

Exactly 77 years ago on the 10th of June 1944, soldiers entered the town of Oradour-sur-Glane, ordered all the inhabitants to gather in the village square, then separated the men from the women and children.

The men were all 'machine-gunned', and the women and children forced into the church, and burned alive. The soldiers left the village with not a single building unscathed. All 642 innocent villagers were brutally murdered, and the buildings, etc, in respect, have hardly been touched since (see Wiki). The village apparently had had no resistance workers (Maquis).

It was the Brits who, later joined by the Americans, saved Europe from this type of barbarism, the Concentration Camps, and from semi-compliant occupation. The UK lost 450,000 citizens whilst assuring France's liberty, so one might have imagined that the French would be a tad grateful!

Charles de Gaulle ran from France, and spent much of WW2 safely within the walls of a pleasant home in Hertfordshire, England. Those of us later seeing those photos of him proudly leading his men down the Champs-Elysées on August 24th 1944 (above) to celebrate the end of German occupation, are 'slightly bemused'; to say the least. 

Back in France, on July 4th of 1940, de Gaulle was tried as a 'deserter' and was sentenced to 4 years in prison, in absentia, and his French nationality was withdrawn. Then on August 2nd 1940 he was again tried, and was awarded the death penalty, as well as military degradation, his loss of nationality, and the confiscation of all his property. Four years later he amazingly returned to France as a 'General', and was treated as a hero.

The blood of our ancestors remains on French soil, but now that we've left their expensive and inefficient European club, they wish to ignore all that, and are doing their best to punish us. 

The French will never forget Oradour. RIP.

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