Wednesday 30 September 2020

Two more Years.

At 9 am yesterday morning I had the Compact Royce's biannual road worthiness test (test centre, below), later an exciting parcel arrived from Amazon. Today we will be closing the pool. Rain is forecast for the rest of the week.

Of course the car passed her test with flying colours. I'd put 4 new tyres on her, given her a good wash, and filled the water for the windscreen washer; what more could she have wished for! She's now good for another two years.

A couple of books arrived in the post. Lady M's old school friend Jane's new book about life outside the classroom (she was desperately hoping no nasty secrets were being divulged), and some silly political scandal book, that she immediately said wouldn't interest me; she was right.

Closing the pool is always a horrible job. It's not simply a matter of switching off the pump. Over-Wintering chemicals need to be added 24 hours in advance, the new plastic covering needs to be cut to shape, and the whole pool needs to be squeaky clean. It's always a depressing activity which heralds cold weather and the long wait before opening-up again. It's also best done on a fine sunny day, which is what we're forecast for later today.

From Thursday 1st Oct', we are promised rain for over a week. We've already had our first fire of Winter last Sunday, and I now see log-sawing being a major activity until April/March. I've had a trial run with the chainsaw; and everything works OK.

It's a possibility that we might have some mushrooms towards the end of the week, but I'm not over-confident.

I now need to search-out my gloves, and scarf; and put my swimming kit away. 

You will no doubt be pleased to hear that I'm still wearing shorts.

Tuesday 29 September 2020

Palombière en famille - Terroirs de gueuletons

Not so long ago there were Palombières everywhere; it was an important part of local hunting tradition. Often they were built up in the tops of the trees; unlike the one in the video which is on the ground.

These Pigeon Hunters 'hides' use both live and decoy birds to encourage the passing flocks to land on the branches above, and often hundreds would be shot in a single day. This practice has mostly stopped these days, but the huge flocks of migratory Pigeons still pass by; stopping en route for a night's rest. Last year I saw huge flocks passing overhead. The ones in the video are in the Gers; South of here and to the West of Toulouse. 

In case you're wondering what the hunters do with hundreds of birds, well they freeze them whole; later just peeling them, and eating the breast meat only. The rest is usually, rather wastefully, discarded.

Here are Vincent and Arthur with hunter Bertrand Stiers, and his three sons. 

Monday 28 September 2020

New folk in town.

You may remember my tale of some young bakers who were 'run out of town' recently. Their old bakery has now been taken over by newcomers.

I say newcomers, but in fact they are existing bakers from our nearby village of Montcabrier.

We used to visit this old wood-fired bakery many years ago when it was run by a comely elderly lady who would often be found in Winter, snoozing with her feet warming inside the opened over door. It was always an all sourdough bakery; as it is now by the present owners.

Anyway, they have decided to expand, and now have a second branch in our nearby village/town.

They are sticking to their 'all sourdough' policy, which suits us well.

Lady M has just come home with the above; a couple of Boules which Madame kindly sliced for us on a noisy ancient machine.

We are very happy; their bread is superb.

Sunday 27 September 2020

Just another weekend in Loony-Ville.

Here we go again. This is last weekend's gathering of the loonies. No masks, no acceptance of any pandemic, and sadly not a single working brain between them.

On Saturday over 15,000 gathered in London's Trafalgar Square to declare that the pandemic doesn't exist, or if it does it's the fault of 5G technology, Bill Gates, or Boris; preferably all three. The usual suspects were pontificating; Piers Corbyn about conspiracy theories, and David Icke probably about The Queen being a Lizard.

You really couldn't make it up. There they all were, breathing all over each other, madly spreading the virus whilst claiming it doesn't exist, and amusing themselves by throwing bricks at the police.

There were just 16 arrests! Why were they not ALL arrested? Not wearing a mask in public is an offence, as are gatherings of over 30 (I think). 9 Police were injured.

Amongst the crowd one could see the familiar white masks and banners of the 'class war' anarchist movement. Yes, they were all there; every ding-bat in London.

There's only one conspiracy amongst these folk; you spread the virus as much as possible, then blame Boris. Puerile.

Bake Off 2020.

The only cake I've ever baked was an Olive and Bacon Cake, and it was delicious.

Baking as a gastro-occupation has never appealed to me, but watching others compete with their baking talents has a strange appeal.

Bake Off 2020 has just begun, and luckily the programme is being repeated on Saturday afternoons (E4 1.00 pm). Perfect viewing for damp or cold afternoons.

The first episode has just taken place, and it was filled with drama. There were accidents, collapses, and a few dreadful attempts at portraiture.

Without question the most interesting challenge was the 'portrait cake'. Each contestant was asked to choose a favourite personality to depict in cake. We saw Bob Marley, Freddy Mercury, David Attenborough, Bill Bryson, and even (predictably) Marie Antoinette. All were pretty disastrous, but the programme's presenters did manage to say a few nice things about their edibility.

It's a fun TV Programme, with a weekly elimination. The culinary tasks become more exacting as the weeks pass, the contestants reduce in numbers, and the programme eventually builds to a tense finale to find the winner. 

Who would have thought that a cake baking programme would have been so popular!


Saturday 26 September 2020

Young Boy Salutes Troops

I'm not sure quite what's going on here, but it has 'feel-good' factor.

Back to the old Routine!

Since Monday 16th March, here in France we've had our freedom severely limited; much like most of the rest of the world. 

In all those months I've hardly been more than about 20 Kms from home, and even then only once a week; or even every two weeks. I should add that we live way out in the country, and those 20 Kms are the distance to our nearest decent shops.

With a second wave of Covid now knocking at our doors, I'm getting pretty pissed off. We are all now confronted with new restrictions, to which we will naturally adhere. The weather has turned foul too, making matters seem worse.

I won't be stocking-up with bog paper, or baked beans, or pasta. Luckily we have most of what we need, and we also have plenty of dry wood in stock. We'll simply have to hunker down and hope that my local Leclerc supermarket will have a decent supply of quality Turkeys, Sprouts, and Potatoes around Dec 23nd. Christmas Day is on a Friday this year, so no weekend panic buying. I can see no further than that. 

Also, bloody Brexit has raised its nasty head again, and the uncertainly surrounding 2021 is ever present. In fact I shall do nothing, and simply hope that they don't notice that I'm still here.

So, I'm in a sort of limbo. Stuck at home, and possibly about to be booted out of France and have my simple eremitic life-style taken from me. It's crazy; I voted to 'remain', and in many ways I'm the ideal foreign resident. I import all my funds, I've never been a drain on the French social services, and I'm a law abiding citizen; which is not something one can say about all ex-pats.

I'm not happy; in fact I'm becoming bloody annoyed (internally).

Friday 25 September 2020


It's late September, and we are only just picking our own Tomatoes.

After a disappointing start to the growing year, we are now harvesting some very large and tasty fruits from the two grafted, and very expensive, plants that Lady M purchased to replace all our diseased one's.

We have had about three Tomatoes so far, and all have been over 500 gms. They are of the 'Marmande' type; solid, with no wet mess of pips in the middle. Perfect for slicing; about half of one of these makes a good salad for two. The bushes are loaded.

I'm now wondering if I'm going to have a sudden glut. If I do, I'll do more bottling; we can never have too many jars of Ratatouille.


Thursday 24 September 2020

"After you've gone "

I'm not normally big on Jazz; it's not something I would regularly listen to during my daily evening music hour, but I make an exception for the exceptional Joan Chamorro band.

Here we have Eva Fernandez singing, with an amazing Sax solo from genius Luigi Grasso. Rita Payés is on bone, and Joan Chamorro is joined by Andrea Motis on back-up Saxes. 

I love the way the three girls applaud Grasso's solo; they obviously have huge admiration for him. Superb.

Wednesday 23 September 2020

Scrumping Pears.

My neighbour's huge Pear tree is just about 25 metres from my front door. It invariably drops hundreds of Pears each year; most of which are inedible.

Being such a tall tree, the Pears fall from a great height, leaving them either squashed or seriously bruised. The lower branches have been cut off. Finding good Pears is rare.

However, this year we seem to have been luckier. I go most mornings to see what has fallen over night, and usually manage to find several that have survived the drop. As long as they are eaten that very lunchtime, we find them OK.

I happen to like Pears very much, but hardly ever buy them. The owner of the tree never comes to collect any, so we're not depriving anyone. They're not the greatest Pears, but they come from just a few metres away; and they're FREE. The tree from which they fall is that huge one on the extreme right; just beyond the pool. A scrumper's dream. 

Tuesday 22 September 2020


All three of my children took time off to travel the world between School and University; taking anything from one to nearly three years.

None of them needed to write home for money, each working their own ways around as they went.

Of course it wasn't all work. Youngest son (sporting his beloved dreads, above) probably experienced more that the other two, but that was because he was prepared to do things on the cheap, in discomfort, and with a bunch of like-minded friends. The two older children were more discerning. 

Above shows him in Oz about to wrangle with a Crock'. It's a good thing there was a fence between them.

With the world's current problems, our children will probably be staying home for their gap years; and, sadly, they will be lesser people for it. Another unmentioned aspect of the pandemic.

Monday 21 September 2020

Fishing for Tiddlers.

I mentioned once before that as a small child I was taken to a wonderful Northern French outdoor restaurant which had a stream running through the middle of it. Nets-full of small fish were dragged from the water, dusted in flour and instantly deep fried. They then arrived at our table within a minute or two. It was probably my first true gastronomic experience; I loved it.

So, here are those bonviveurs Vincent and Arthur doing much the same, but much older than I was, and with a bunch of mates. Just looking at those plates of deep fried tiddlers (goujons) takes me straight back to that magical day at the restaurant.

And, oh, look away at 3 mins 20. That steak is pornographic...I'm drooling.

Sunday 20 September 2020

Tour de France 2020.

I can't even tell you who won this year's race. I'm glad it's over, having hardly watched more than a few minutes of the whole tour. 

Personally, I totally lost interest on the 13th, when both Bernal and Quintana dropped back with a dozen K's to the summit of The Grand Colombier.

I shall re-kindle my interest in 2021 (if there is a tour).


The latest COVID idea is that people may gather in sixes; not fives or sevens, but sixes. 

But what if one lot of six should encounter another lot of six in the park, and make twelve? Are they still two lots of six, or one lot of twelve? And what if a group of 20 claim to be together for 'educational' purposes? With hefty fines on offer, Brits need to know.

If you intend to attend a church service, you can be over 30 in the congregation, as long as you abide by certain mask/distancing rules. However this does not apply if the service is to be held outdoors, when organised by a business or charity; when you are allowed more.

I could go on, but just try to make sense of that for a start! There seems to be no logic in any of these knee-jerk rulings and numbers. Many Pubs are now to close at 10 pm, obviously the virus is less contagious until then.

One gets the impression that there is one HUGE Tug-of-War going on. On one side there are the realists with their nanny-state protective position; on the other there are the Piers Corbyn and Kate Shemirani loonies, who see the spread of the virus as a badge of honour (not that the virus even exists for them).

Of course, over here in France they have different ideas. No more than 10 people can legally gather in a public place, and masks must be worn by everyone over the age of 11. Strange, as there was a well attended, organised, walk (about 30 people) that passed behind our house a couple of days ago. Not one of them was wearing a mask, and all were huddled, and nattering, together.

In my illustration above you will see that 'Large families and support bubbles will be exempt'; this is exactly why some of the larger Asian communities in the north are now again in lockdown. Is there any surprise that cases of COVID are rising rapidly!

There is no question that the second wave has arrived. The UK, France, and Spain are all suffering badly (I'm sure other countries are too), and it'll get worse as nations set their economies against spreading virus. 

Wear your mask, wash your hands, and try to keep away from crowds; only that way will we avoid the illness. Mostly, use your common sense.

Christmas for two in this house!

Saturday 19 September 2020

Moules, but no frites. A Friday lunch.

These days I buy my Mussels in 1.4 kilo vacuum packs. Not only are they all perfect, but they are all guaranteed live. They cost over twice the price of loose ones, but it's worth the extra cost.

I finely chop some onion and garlic, fry in butter and olive oil, then add a good splash of white wine. When all is bubbling away I add the washed Mussels and wait for about 5 minutes. All very classic.

Lady Magnon suggested that I add some cream, but I told her that too much luxury wasn't good for her.

A very pleasant, and cheap, lunch. We should eat them more often.

Friday 18 September 2020

First Chestnuts.

Here we go again. As regular as clockwork. It's mid-September and the Chestnuts have been dropping for a few days.

We ate the above last night, and, as usual, I doubt if we'll eat many more before Christmas.

Now is the time to eat (or preserve) them. They, like most things, are always better freshly dropped/picked.

My preferred way to eat them is to cut the traditional cross on the pointed end, then boil them in salted water for about 15-20 mins. They then peel easily, and only require a small sprinkle of sea salt.

It's the taste of Autumn.

Thursday 17 September 2020

Oz v Canada.

Time was, when Canada was simply some British Commonwealth outpost to the North of the USA. It grew huge swathes of cereals, produced lots of Maple Syrup, and had nicely dressed Mounted Police.

These days it is regarded very differently. Whilst the USA is going through difficult times internationally, Canada has been advancing in leaps and bounds in the eyes of international observers. It has become a very desirable place to live, and Brits are now choosing it over Australia for re-location; which doesn't surprise me.

Immigration figures prove its popularity. Australia will accept just 160,000 immigrants annually until 2023, whilst Canada will take 340,000 permanent residents this year, rising in 2021 and 2022.

Both countries have been hugely popular with wander-lust Brits. They offer space, good life-styles, and are both family friendly. However, both countries have increasingly ageing populations and low birth rates. They both need young blood.

When I was younger, Australia was always seen as the sensible option for aspiring entrepreneurs and young professionals; Canada was seen as a little dull and old fashioned. These days things are very different. Whilst Oz retains its beach-babe image of surf, sea, and sand, Canada is seen as an advancing nation in finance, manufacturing, and science.

I'm now expecting to hear the word 'Canada' bandied about, much more than before.

Having said all that, I read that NZ still comes top of the list of countries to retire to (if they'll have you).

Wednesday 16 September 2020

Billy's girlfriend.

He seems to have a preference for the older woman. Amie is a beautiful, big, dark, German Shepherd. She looks like she'd have your hand off as soon as look at you, but in fact she's a sweetheart.

I'm not sure who's more in love than who, but I do know that Billy adores Amie. Maybe he sees her as a mother figure.

They play together quite regularly, tearing around the garden, and play fighting. In the past it's been the possession of a particular fallen Quince that has amused them the most, but now they've all gone and an old tennis ball has become the prize.

We have one other German Shepherd who visits, but she's getting old and prefers to sit in the shade and watch. His previous friend, Marley (another GS), now stays at home. I think he's been 'discouraged' from his wanderings.

Tuesday 15 September 2020

Ze Olde Chimney Sweepe.

Modern chimneys are not the same as the old ones like ours here. Ours is a big old stone edifice that you fire a shotgun into to clean it, whereas the new ones at the barn are metallic and tube shaped, and need delicate poles and brushes.

And here is M Bacquey (Junior) up on the roof with his kit; his dad was inside waiting for all the muck to appear.

They are impeccable sweeps, you really wouldn't have known they'd been here; you could have eaten off the floor, it was that clean.

Done for another year... now, where's my shotgun. I'd better do ours at the same time.

Monday 14 September 2020

Goodbye Sir Terence.

There is no doubt that Sir Terence Conran changed our lives.

His mid-1960's store, Habitat, brought to the High Street things we had only ever previously encountered abroad; mostly in France.

His simple, plain white painted, stores offered us Le Creuset cast iron casserole dishes (mostly orange), large round tissue-paper lampshades, duvets, and even woks. You walked into his stores and literally became enthralled.

His other great love was good food, and he opened over 50 restaurants, from the simple to the gourmet. Whist studying at The Central, his tutor had been sculptor Eduardo Paolozzi who was a passionate foodie, and had introduced him to the pleasures of simple Italian foods which he later tried to emulate in his eateries.

Conran's philosophy was that 'good design makes people's lives better'; and he was right.

So, goodbye Sir Terence; your 88 years were well spent, and you certainly improved mine.

p.s. My small black leather wallet, which I've owned for years, was designed by his son.

Sunday 13 September 2020

Onwards to Autumn.

The dozen best bits about September.

1. Lotte Lenya's ubiquitous song

2. Beautiful early morning skies

3. The absence of tourists

4.  Chestnuts will soon fall

5. The return to being 'busy'

6. Big fat Cauliflowers in the shops

7.  Mushrooms in the woods (maybe not this year)

8. Lunches under the Quince tree

9. Squashes and Pumpkins at Haddock's

10. Our few ripening Tomatoes!

11. Figs

12. Lady M's September hat

Saturday 12 September 2020

New Laptop.

It's another Acer; a Swift 1. It's slightly smaller and lighter than my previous laptops, but the action, and the picture definition, are superb.

I did lose all my Facebook friends, but maybe that's not such a bad thing. I may even delete my account (if such a thing is possible).

Otherwise, my blog is still here, as is my online newspaper, my weather forecast, YouTube, and a good new photo processing app' to replace the now defunct Picasa 3. I'm not sure what's happened to my Skype account; I will need the help of someone with a mobile phone.

But possibly most importantly, I have swapped Google Chrome for Microsoft Edge; which seems fine.

Yes, I like it.

Friday 11 September 2020

A tale of two parcels.

I hardly know where to begin with this story; it is bizarre to say the least.

Firstly let me say that we've had more strange behaviour from the French postal services than I thought was possible. This is just another example amongst many I could offer, although officially this one is the fault of Parcel Force and their French equivalent.

Two days ago, at mid-day, a man arrived with a big 4.4 kilo parcel. He handed it over, and hurriedly left.

The parcel boasted two different delivery addresses; one for a man near Paris, and the other for my daughter-in-law, Kellogg. The parcel had two separate delivery address stickers for the man near Paris, but one had an address for Kellogg stuck over it. The man had chosen to deliver the parcel here.

Lady M had a look at what was inside, and it turned out to be some English hand-made leather seat covers for some classic car. Had the parcel been for Kellogg it would have contained some essential oils.

Luckily the Parisian man's phone number was on the address label, so I called him; and, yes, he had Kellogg's parcel. We laughed a bit, scratched our heads, and tried to find a logical answer to their mistake..... we couldn't.

Well the pantomime ended with me having to re-wrap it, take it down to The Post Office (yes, that one) and send it to where it should have been delivered in the first place. He will do much the same with ours. It cost me €13.75 (not too bad I suppose)

p.s. Just for fun, I will add this other strange story. My youngest son had sent a correctly addressed large parcel to his Mother-in-law in Sweden, and paid €60 for the pleasure. Two days later it was delivered back to him, HERE. When he returned to The Post Office (yes, that one again) to explain that they'd made an amusing mistake, he was made to pay for it all over again; another €60. They wouldn't budge! What a bloody con!

Thursday 10 September 2020

No mushrooms, but we still live in hope.

There are only two sounds around us at the moment; combine-harvesting Maize (probably for silage), and the mowing of the Chestnut plantations (above). Both sounds herald Autumn, and the imminent arrival of Winter.

The weather is still almost perfect. The mornings are cool, the pool water quite cold, but the afternoons are around 30 C. Yes we still swim, but getting in the water is slower than usual.

If, in the future, you think of holidaying in this part of S W France; September is the month I would recommend.

Serious rain is forecast for next weekend. If it's long and hard enough it would be perfect to bring up some mushrooms. We've had very poor Cèpe harvests for the past two years, so we need to build-up our preserves again.

Wednesday 9 September 2020

Just in case you thought that 'PC gone mad' was simply something The Daily Mail invented; read on....

This nice lady above, Alison Birch, runs a uni-sex hair salon in Stroud Gloucestershire UK.

She was looking for a new hairdresser and gave an advert to her local Job Centre.; she was looking for a well qualified 'happy friendly stylist'.

Well, as they say, you couldn't make it up. The PC folk at the Job Centre refused to take her advert' because it discriminated against unhappy people.

Of course Ms Birch thought they were having a joke; but no, they really were serious. No longer is she allowed to employ 100% happy crimpers, she must now employ a few miserable ones as well.

You really couldn't make it up!

William Shatner - Lucy In the Sky With Diamonds

I'm still getting acquainted with my new laptop, so whilst I explore, I offer this wonderful version of The Beatles song by the inimitable William Shatner. Enjoy.

Tuesday 8 September 2020

L'apéro Braséro Gueuleton

Here they are again; Vincent and Arthur eating, drinking, and living life to the full with a few mates.

I am without sound on my laptop, so I don't know what is being said, but I suspect the boys are trying to flog these rather nice looking BBQ's. Oh well; why not!

Just wait till 4.00, when that girl starts slicing into those Côtes de Boeuf. It's like carving butter. Yum.

Monday 7 September 2020

Autumn tasks.

I seem to be up to date with my list of pre-Winter tasks.

All the grapes have been picked, and taken to the compost heap. 

The Wasp/Hornet traps have been filled with beer and jam, and are now hanging in the bigger Fig trees.

The lower branches of the orchard's fruit trees have been cut off, so that I can mow without cracking my head open.

Then there is the traditional whistling, and sponging of the car. The 'Compact Royce' has been given her annual wash-and-brush-up. All that moss growing in the crevices has been removed, and even the hub caps have been buffed. She's looking very dapper in her new sparkling silver coat.

And the Lutyens bench has been given a really good soaking with Diesel Oil. In case you didn't know, Diesel makes a very good, and cheap, wood preservative and insect repellent for outdoor items (it does smell a bit for a while).

Still a lot of serious pruning to do, but I have several months in which to do it.

Sunday 6 September 2020

850 gms.

I don't think we've ever had a bad year for Quinces.

The fruit we really want to grow well; doesn't. Yet the ones we really don't care about too much never fail.

This bad boy weighs 850 gms, and is just one of about 50 all similarly sized.

I shall roast one this evening, with a Chicken; otherwise they will all go to the compost. 

It's the same every year. A terrible waste. Oy vey!

Saturday 5 September 2020

Problems by the bucket-full.

I'm going through a bad patch.

Everything I do at the moment seems to go wrong. 2020 hasn't been a good year so far; and it's getting worse.

Apart from my problems with The Post Office (La Poste), my laptop has decided to pack-up. The key board bit, and the screen bit, seem to have argued, and will no longer speak to each other.

I ordered a new one via (I need a 'qwerty' key board), and for some bizarre reason my payment was rejected. I eventually managed to speak to someone at my bank, and they said it was nothing to do with them, and I should re-order. As with my Fray Bentos pies in the past, I am now expecting several laptops to arrive. I have informed Lady Magnon that she might be having a new laptop for Christmas.

So, for the moment I am using an old laptop (Windows XP), combined with a simple Amazon Fire pad to read my Emails. It all takes so bloody long; but at least it works.

If I haven't been replying to your comments, please forgive me. It's not that I don't want to; believe me!

Friday 4 September 2020

Yet more French Bureaucracy.

Regular readers may remember the frustration I am experiencing with some silly Post Office savings account I have; about which I wrote on Aug 19th.

Since then I have returned to the Post Office on numerous occasions; the last being yesterday when I was expecting to simply pick-up my savings book with the interest added.

Of course I should have known better. Yet again they wanted more information and more signatures. It really has become a joke. The amount of money I'm spending on petrol will soon surpass the amount in my account.

This time they wanted details of my UK bank account..... goodness knows why, it's not the sort of information I divulge happily. I ended-up giving them details of my French account.

I'm now just off to see them again with all their latest requests! More anon...

I'm now back from the Post Office. I gave the nice lady what she wanted, and she told me that my money would be credited to my bank account, and my Post Office account was now CLOSED. When I asked why, she didn't seem to know, but said that if I wanted another account I'd have to fill in more forms. NO BLOODY THANK YOU.

Thursday 3 September 2020

Vera Lynn - Land of Hope and Glory

Dear Vera Lynn died just a short while ago aged 103. Thank goodness she wasn't around to witness the BBC's appalling snowflake leftie decision to ban the lyrics of Land of Hope and Glory, Rule Britannia, and even Jerusalem, from The Last Night of the Proms. What a disgrace.

These are our National Songs. They are not to be messed with. If you don't want to sing them; don't. But don't stop others

We were all horrified when George Floyd was killed by American Police back in May, but the subsequent world-wide rally-call of 'racism' everywhere, and towards everything, should have nothing to do with singing traditional British songs back in the UK.

Well, I'm pleased to announce that the lovies at the BBC have changed their minds, and in the face of almost 100% outrage have decided to make a total U-Turn and allow the traditional singing.  If I manage to watch it, I shall certainly be singing along. So, I believe, will Lady Magnon, and several million other Brits.

Wednesday 2 September 2020


One of our greatest concerns over the recent heatwave and drought, has been for wildlife.

We have put out bowls of water for the hedgehogs etc, seeds out for the birds, and even fed carrots to the horses. I suspect the animal world has suffered far more than we humans.

We had a small amount of rain recently, and I was pleased to see the above yesterday morning. The soil is obviously now moist enough for small rodents to dig, and find worms. I don't know what was responsible for this hole, probably either a mouse or a vole. I expect the poor creature was very happy to be able to dig again.

Tuesday 1 September 2020

Good TV.

I'm sure there's a frustrated farmer inside me. I'm not really a TV person, but programmes of this ilk fascinate me.

'Our Yorkshire Farm' is much more than just about the tough life that certain farmers experience. It's about a young family and their holistic view of life.

Amanda Owen wasn't born into farm life. She comes from Huddersfield (I think). She is 41 years old, has 9 children, and says 'she's been breastfeeding for the past 15 years'.

Her hill farm on the Yorkshire Dales has 2000 acres, 1000 Sheep, 6 Dogs, and 4 Ponies. It's a bleak but beautiful farm with no immediate neighbours.

It's the way she approaches life that is the main crux of the programme. Whilst always managing to look attractive, she is constantly reviving Lambs, showing her children how to help the Sheep give birth, how to warm a frozen Lamb in her old cast iron range, organise the children with their daily tasks, etc. Her daily work-load is non-stop; most people would require an au pair, a farm hand, a cleaner, a cook, and nanny, to cope with all she does.

A remarkable woman, and an uplifting programme. You don't need to be interested in farming to appreciate these snippets of her wonderful life. She's an example to us all.

'Our Yorkshire Farm' appears on Channel 5; or if not, on YouTube. Catch it if you can.

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