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.

Monday, 19 December 2011

And meanwhile, as Merkozy fiddles....

English: Old petrol pump Old petrol pump outsi...                     Image via Wikipedia
The gendarmerie van pulls up in the farmyard. Its sole occupant gets out and heads for the barn.

Hoy! Victor! You there?

In the tractor shed...I'm overhauling the muckspreader. Well, you're a stranger these days....what fine breeze blows you in my direction? Here....let's drink to it.

Well, I'm on duty..

So who's going to breathalyse you?

Yes...well, go on then. What've you got that Albert's?

Yes, a good drop, make the most of it, he's got esca in the vines and he'll be pulling a lot out this winter...
Anyway, what's it all about? I see you're on your own...

Yes, I wanted a quiet word...

If it's about young Laurent's speeding ticket then all I can say is that one of those Parisians with holiday homes round here must have copied his numberplate...
How the hell could my muckspreader be doing 170 kilometres on the periphique at three in the morning!

No, no...that'll get sorted out. But the muckspreader is involved, in a way...there've been complaints.

Complaints? What about? If that's those English again complaining about me not ploughing in Bernard's duck manure for him for over a week ...when we had that hot spell a way back...they can just forget it. They're living in the country, not the middle of London.

No...but you know you're supposed...

I know what I'm supposed to do, but I was organising the Algerian veterans do what with Jean-Antoine being ill...and anyway, it's Bernard's responsibility to get it ploughed in in twenty four hours, not mine...I was just giving him a hand.
So what's it about if it's not the manure?

Well, it is the seem to be collecting a lot of it.

And if I am? Not illegal, is it? I'm a farmer. Farmers always have manure.

Yes, of course.....but there have been complaints that you're not keeping it in an approved don't have it drained and whatnot in accordance with EU regulations.... it's all in your barns.....piles of it.

You'd think people would have something better to do...what business is it of theirs?

I don't suppose anyone would have been interested but after young Laurent drove the muckspreader through Ste. Conasse last week with the spreader attachment still going, it caused a bit of ill feeling...

With all this rubbish going on about the euro you'd think they had other things to worry about!
I'm sorry if Mme. d'Enculade got her car covered in it, but that's life in the country!

From what I hear it was lucky the cold snap had started...if people had had their windows open you'd have had a delegation round your ears in a flash and a fair few claims for compensation.
Still, let's stick to the point.
Do you or do you not have a slurry facility in line with EU  regulations?

Yes, you know I have...your son's girlfriend works for old Machin who installed it.

So why is all that muck stored in your barns?
I hope you've not been buying one round here has a permit to sell manure..

No, people without 'a slurry facility in line with EU regulations' have been giving it me......for my project.

And what might that be?

Well, with all this crisis and whatnot, we're supposed only to buy things made in France...but there isn't much made here anymore so that's a bit difficult...look at my muckspreader...made in Italy!

I don't know who you think would be buying manure in those quantities Victor...but you'll still need a permit to sell it...even if you stick a tricolour on it.

I tell you, I'm not buying or selling manure!
I was wondering what to do to make a few bob extra....on the small scale, you understand...and then it came to me!
People are getting paid God knows what to make those windmill things...which is why the electricity bills will be going up what about something much more efficient....
Biogas! Made in France!

From the manure?

Yes, to start with...but you can use anything organic. Next year, the supermarkets are going to have to recycle all the stuff they chuck out in their bins and my idea is to get this up and running and go for a contract with The Mutant over in Les Deux Biscouilles.....
They pay me to take it away and I make the gas and sell it!
Win win!

But manure's not the same thing as supermarket waste.....oh no! Don't tell me that's you!

What's me?

The dustmen are complaining that someone took all their food waste bins from here, St. Ragondin and Ste. Conasse this week.....

Well, yes...I wanted to see how it would work so I got young Laurent to nip round the night before the collection and pick them all up...a sort of dry run for The Mutant contract.
Don't worry, I've got all the bins hosed out and he'll take them back as soon as he gets back from the dump...

Where, I suppose, he is dumping all the containers and wrappers....

What do you think we are! We're not fly tipping. This is professional.

And I suppose he'spaying the professional rate at the dump?

No, or course not...we're farmers.....

Isn't it a bit messy, this food recycling?

I should say so...Laurent had to take a shower and put his clothes in the wash by the time he'd finished...but it won't be so bad with the supermarket packs, they won't have been opened and squashed up with other stuff.
I was thinking that I could hire a couple of English pensioners to do the dirty work....they're all on their uppers with the pound the way it is...

Was,Victor, was. The way the euro is going the English will be the only ones with any money round here...apart from the politicians, that is.

Well, all the more reason to diversify...the biogas. It's a way of showing your patriotism...not just national but local....environmentally friendly...
It's win win!

So where are you making this stuff? The food waste gas, I mean?

I've fixed up the old root clamp...few valves and'll be a few days before it gets started properly, but I've already got the manure the slurry facility in line with EU regulations. That's going well. I'll soon be able to sell it off.

But how are you going to sell it? You can't lay pipelines all over the commune?

No, I'd thought of using that old pump  I used to use for the tractors......people can bring their cubis and fill them up at the pump....just like getting your wine in bulk...

Victor, you can't just start up like this. Where are your permits? Have you contacted the Fire Brigade for an inspection? Gas is dangerous stuff!

Typical! No wonder France is in a mess!
You get an idea to make a few bob and help the environment - just like these firms flogging windmills - and the next thing you know it's permits and inspections and all to be paid before before you see a penny...and when you do make a penny you've got the taxman hanging on one of your balls and the social security on the other...all useless mouths!

And don't go on to me about safety...I've worked it all out and there's nothing to worry about.

If the worst came to the worst and the tank explodes my bungalow is behind the cattle sheds so I'll be sheltered from the blast....I can claim the sheds and the animals and whatnot on the insurance and the only house in the path of the blast is owned by English.

And anyway, there won't be an accident. Young Laurent has made this sign to hang on the pump.
What do you think? You can't miss it! And it's in two languages!

Defense de fumer
Now smoking.

Enhanced by Zemanta


  1. Fly, wonderful post, made me laugh out loud. The thing is, it could be true!

  2. Steve, merde, alors!

    Wylye Girl, we've both known the type, I think!

  3. "Systeme-D" (demerde).I loved the image of the muck-spreader at 170 kmh. Just another poo-flinging day in the jungle.

  4. English Rider, there have been a number of cases of farmers being dobbed with speeding tickets...someone is using their number plates on their fast cars!
    Mark you, I've seen some pretty speedy tractors in my time...including one with only three wheels.

  5. Merde all around, then? Great post. Wishing you and mr. Fly a happy Christmas and New Year.

  6. e, merde galore!
    Have a great holiday season with plenty of good reading...we've stocked up from Better World Books...3 dollars a book and free delivery...a great start to the New year!

  7. Hello:
    What a wonderful story, brilliantly written with such splendid characterisation, all of which we could picture so well and which, also, we found to be very funny indeed. But, alas, underneath it all lies an element of truth which has echoes of the real world in which the EU would have us live.

  8. Lovely Fly. Happy Christmas to you and yours

  9. Jane and Lance Hattatt, where it comes to the EU you either laugh or cry...personally I detest the over regulated homogeneity of it all.

    Rosie, thank you. Have a great time at Christmas and good luck for house hunting in the New Year...I have a feeling the grapevine will come through for you.

  10. Absolutely brilliant. Made me laugh out loud.

    Now I wonder whether I could set something up with my neighbour...her animals' manure is everywhere..I have to wade through it to get down the hill.

  11. Ayak, where there's muck there's money....but looking for it is something else!

  12. I had to read it twice, at first skim I thought I was reading a true story :) And I love you gave it the "entrepreneurship" label.

  13. Love it! Happy Christmas Fly.

  14. suej, somewhere close to you you must have a neighbour like this...everywhere I lived there was a Victor!
    Happy Christmas!

  15. The Banking Nerd, I wish you could have met my neighbours in la France Profonde...the story is not too far from reality!

  16. ROFL!! Well,that's this year's Christmas pantomime taken care of, Fly. :-) You have to laugh or you'd cry or hit something.

    Wishing you and Mr Fly a happy Christmas and all the very best for the New Year.

  17. Perpetua, thank you...and best wishes to you and your family...2012 has to be better...doesn't it?. Please?