Rural life in France

Rural business line repaired in less than 8 hours

This week a tractor collided with a post delivering our telephones lines, tearing the cable and leaving us stranded. The guy who did it was cutting the verges and banks in our commune, a service he performs three times a year (early-spring, mid-summer and late-autumn). This is the second time he's taken out our line, so by definition he's now a recidivist!

Adieu Minitel !

It's official: the plug is finally being pulled on France's Minitel service on 30th June this year!

Way ahead of its time

Launched way back in 1982, the Minitel service was revolutionary, enabling at its height 25 million subscribers to communicate with each other safely and conveniently.

La garde-robe

My schoolboy humour and enjoyment of vocabulary get equal kicks from the medieval toilet suspended on the back wall of Trapeharde. Although the date over the front door is 1809, it's fairly likely that the shell and structure of parts of the place pre-date that. The toilet alone is suggestive of this given its rough and ready design.

Surrounded by orchids

It being May, the orchids are back and this year there seems to be an abundance of them. Perhaps this year's unusually wet spring in the Gers favoured them.

In previous years we have counted between 12 and 15 different species of orchid either on our land or very close by. So far, the count is perhaps 9 and the late-flowering ones are yet to show themselves. What is different this year is their abundance and duration. They are everywhere and a stroll outside requires special attention not to tread on them.

Meet the Soays

Our corner of the Gers is wonderfully hilly and we’re lucky to have a steeply-sloped 2 hectare (5 acre) field behind the house which is just too steep for a tractor. It’s ideal for sheep and inside the 800 metres of fencing that we've surrounded the field with we keep Soay (pronounced 'sow' – 'ay') sheep.