Thursday, 22 March 2018

How life was.



This house, above, was the last true peasant farm in my immediate area. A few years back it was bought by a Dutch family, who are slowly restoring it as a future retirement property. You cannot imagine the state it was in when the 'M' family lived there.

Back in '72, when I first bought my original Farmhouse, the 'M' family of three lived there. The brutish husband, his poor tiny slave of a wife, and their Bull-like son who did all the hard work; I think he slept under the table.

I always used to help with their wine-making, and hay making. This was usually followed by a meal in their primitive kitchen. Although the whole place reeked of misery, there was a rustic charm about their ancient way of life.

They killed one Pig each year, and made all their own Hams, Sausages, Patés etc. As well as their vines, they also had a small vegetable plot that produced the spuds and greenery. In those days most farmers grew a few acres of Wheat which was given to the baker in exchange for the year's Bread. It was all they needed.

Pleasant families lived pleasant lives even if they were very poor. Miserable families (like the M's) lived miserable lives, and nothing could change them.

If you have the time to watch some of the short video below, you will see something of the way these people lived, not all that long ago. Plus a great recipe for a 13 day Soup; but do remember to clean your fingernails! Probably best to skip to begin at 1 min 50.





38 comments:

  1. People who lived miserable lives also aged badly. I think the man in the video looks older than his age.
    The glasses the shelves are grey in soot.
    Greetings Maria x

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    1. The dirty glasses are for visitors. His own one is almost clean.

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    2. I went into a ruin where an old man lived with his wife. There were chickens wandering about on the kitchen table. I've been houses where pigs wander about the kitchen. And a house where pigeons roosted in the bathroom where they kept their coal and flew in and out all day. I declined their offer of a cup of tea. This life is not dead.

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    3. The house above always had hens in the kitchen. Once a cat fell into their soup, and she just took it out and served up.

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    4. Lucky cat. There are places where they'd make a curry with it.

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  2. Interesting,i shall watch it again in the evening when i'll have more time.

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  3. Not so far from South Norfolk today.

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    Replies
    1. Do they all still have six fingers?

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  4. A far cry from the idyllic rustic lifestyle as envisaged by town dwellers.

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  5. I thought it was charming, a simple way of life. Trouble now for so many rural communities, the blooming foreigners sweep in, tart it up and visit a handful of times a year.

    LX

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    1. And no homes left for young locals.

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  6. Fabulous! Good food, dirty fingernails, was that a pigs head he was putting in the soup?When I was a child brawn was on the menu as well, it was jellified.

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    1. All good stuff; and he probably washed at least twice a year!

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  7. He had food, shelter, and lovely surroundings. Many have less.

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    1. And he keeps smiling. Can't be bad.

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  8. Great video. I think it’s vey sensible to sleep in a cupboard. And one clearly doesn’t need all those glasses.
    I make soup like that. Well, not with a whole head. Once we ate the same soup for three months. I just kept adding stuff.
    But I expect it’s a hungry time at the end of winter when you’ve run out of leeks and spuds.

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    1. We eat soup for lunch every day through winter; in fact 'lunch' in French is called 'la soupe'. My soups often go on for weeks just with the occasional addition.

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  9. I loved this little video. It made me think of when we had our allotment and went out to it almost every day. We were never happier and yet we were grubby making cups of tea and drinking from less than clean mugs etc.
    Society expects us to be squeaky clean and upright now and we are always being nagged about health and safety.
    These peasants may not have had much but they probably had acceptance of the lives they lead. We do not have that now.

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    1. I think he says somewhere that smoke preserves. I presume that included the glasses.

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  10. '...reeked of misery...' So much for the country idyll!

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    1. To everyone else it's an idyll; to the M's they made sure it was misery. Monsieur M was a nasty old man who wasn't happy unless he made everyone else miserable.

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  11. He looks happy enough. Reminds of an old aunt here, rafters showing the branches of trees used to make the roof. Food cooked over the fire. Loo in the stable. Wonder where his toilet is.
    The son has done the place up but really it hasn't changed all that much. Loo longer in the stables but still outside the house

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    1. When we first arrived here, no-one had indoor loos. It was almost the first thing I did.

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  12. I'm not surprised that they bought it, being that original. Yes in the seventies so much was still around of an old way of life in many different countries, that is now gone. I feel like the generation that's the bridge, between what was and what is.

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    1. When we arrived here, the neighbour who I'm talking about (Monsieur M) still ploughed with 'oxen'. The shouting was unbelievable.

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  13. Replies
    1. A nice way of life too. I was very impressed by his veg' garden.

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  14. Ah, life was so hard then! Thanks for sharing the video. Fascinating. When I was a kid in the 1960's living with my aunt & uncle, my uncle plowed with an old mule (we called her Black Gal, because she was black...duh!) and plow. I recall when he finally bought a VERY old tractor. He was ecstatic, even though he spent most of his time working on it. Once, the big back tire just fell off while he was plowing which cracked us up. Ah, my childhood farm memories! LOL! They grew all of our food and also pigs, chickens and cows. If we had chicken for supper, one of us kids had to go catch it and wring the neck. No KFC back then!! xo

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    1. I quit the UK when I was 25, and came to live here in S W France. It was like a different world, with no indoor loos, no telephones, very few TVs, etc. The Massey Ferguson 'Pony' tractor was still very popular. Very different now, thank goodness.

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  15. Life is still quite hard for some round here. My neighbour doesn't have a toilet, nor a bath. I'm not quite sure what his arrangements are, but he is cheerful enough, and doesn't smell. His water comes from the well ie a hole in the back room, covered with some corrugated iron. He recently had a chimney fire and replaced it with a couple of upright roof tiles instead of a proper pot. The only time I've seen him upset is when someone stole his collection of ahem, rather strange plants, he was growing in his little secret back garden.

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    1. An INDOOR well sounds quite sophisticated. I suppose a few of these people still exist, but they're dying out fast. I hope you look after your neighbour!

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    2. I think the indoor well was once outdoors, but his family built over it, which is now his back room. Still has an earth floor!

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  16. Wonderful video Cro of a way of life which I suspect has not entirely disappeared in some parts of the world.

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    1. Even in central Europe. Certainly some of the mountain folk still live very primitive lives.

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  17. You deleted my comment! No, I wrote it in my head and then forgot to write it. One of my great great grandfathers grew up in very poor circumstances in Ticino canton in Switzerland. While the times are very different, from what I have seen of the town he grew up in, it would have been a subsistence life. The ground is extremely rocky, so hard to grow anything, it think. Luckily he emigrated to Australia and eventually I was produced. The video did not surprise me at all.

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  18. The ground is extremely rocky, so hard to grow anything, it think. Luckily he emigrated to Australia and eventually I was produced. The video did not surprise me at all.สมัคร D2BET

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