All the stuff you never knew you needed to know about life in rural France.....and all the stuff the books and magazines won't tell you.

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

As if life isn't difficult enough....

brina sulle vigne - frost on the vinesImage by Uberto via Flickr
The master of this house has always kept a close eye on climatic conditions....with hosepipe bans in force for the last five years - here -, it becomes a habit.

But it is not only local weather conditions which are taken into account.

One whiff of frost in Brazil and the cupboards are full of coffee....another whiff of frost in Italy and and olive oil is transferred from supermarket shelves to our own at a speed faster than that of light.

I forget what climatic disaster produced the sacks of split peas, beans of all varieties, lentils and chick peas which gave the cellar the air of a war time pill box, sandbagged against assault, but it certainly taught me how to reconstitute five year old chick peas, which is no mean skill and still useful when rashly buying them from Super U.

Currently, the seventy per cent rise in the price of wheat on the global market has led to a decision to stockpile flour and pasta, and, with the benefit of vague memories of taking economics at 'A' Level more years ago than may be decently contemplated,  the alternatives to wheat-based products - beer, couscous, polenta, oats both pinhead and porage and any other cereal which comes within reach. I suspect even quinoa will be snatched up...just in case.
I am lobbying for whisky and pearl barley.

The Brazil sugar crop having succumbed to frost as well, I suppose the house will also be full of sugar sacks, so we risk being denounced to the gendarmerie by the crone on the Super U checkout for adulterating wine...a practice strictly reserved for professionals.

It isn't only climatic conditions which bring about the urge to hoard.

In the past, this house has stocked up on enough loo rolls to build a full sized replica of the Tower of London...unwary visitors looking in cupboards for extra towels would come under attack from super packs of twelve descending upon them and would start to have doubts about the water...

It has also stocked up on cheap cotton clothing imported from China on word that the French were tightening up imports to favour their own domestic suppliers, whose factories are in low paid North Africa....just in time, too! The price of tee shirts has rocketed in recent years.

There is just one problem with all this....the house is on the market.
No, two problems.

The obvious one....if, in the unlikely event that anyone with the folding stuff takes a fancy to it, we sell the do we transport the equivalent of the contents of a large branch of Waitrose?

The less obvious one....nowhere in all the T.V. programmes and magazine articles about making your house attractive to potential buyers have I come across advice on how to present a large branch of Waitrose as a family home.
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  1. Use the hoarding as a PLUS not a negative. Just say, "And for an extra 10,000 euros, you get to keep all the loo rolls and the like." Sold!

  2. are the best estate agent I have come across....I'll happly pay you commission on the sale!

  3. Thanks to the new wonderful comments section on Blogger, I have now managed to delete all the comments going back goodness only knows how long..I thought it was a storage device, so emptied it...

    My apologies to all of you kind enough to comment.

  4. You didn't mention war, Fly. When the first Gulf war happened, I got a panic-stricken phone call from my ex-h's grandmother advising me to stock up on staples. Indeed, having guffawed loudly, when I went to the supermarket for a normal shop I was surprised to see that others had followed her advice and the shelves of oil, sugar etc were seriously depleted.

    I wonder if those who stockpiled are still consuming their stocks.

  5. Sarah, war is a given in this household...and in the larger sense too...a civil war anywhere and we start to see what is produced there and shoot out to stockpile it.
    The wonder is that it all gets used!
    Thank goodness we have so many visitors.

  6. As you keep an eye on these things, could you please let me know if there's likely to be risk to Nutella stocks. That's what's consumed most in my house... :)

  7. Sarah, the Turkish hazelnut crop went down to frost two years ago....from the lack of a price hike in Nutella I deduce that it doesn't contain much hazelnut.

  8. Fly, you are a font of crop knowledge. I salute you!

  9. credit to's Mr. Fly who keeps track of all this...