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Sour Grapes and Sodding Croissants

August 29, 2012

In France, the vendange is starting, but I shan’t be there to see it.

My days of riding out on the wheel arch of the tractor to spend hours gossiping my way along the rows of vines are over.

I live on the other side of the world now, where the wicker basket at the waist has replaced the plastic bucket, fingers replace the secateurs, and the bright coffee berries the dark grapes of my Loire Valley.

What follows is an acount of my twenty odd years in rural France while the twentieth turned into the twenty first century and the society around me changed from the old ‘System D’ – making things work – to bone headed adherence to rules.

It is my view, based on my own experience and those of my French friends who taught me so much.

There are plenty of other views…..usually featuring sunflowers, lavender fields, pink wine and sodding croissants…..but they are not my views.

Here you will meet people.

Gendarmes, lawyers, local politicians,  vignerons.

Bakers, butchers,  civil servants.

Expats even….but above all elderly ladies and gentlemen with long memories and caustic tongues.

My friends.

My France.

To be continued…slowly….

12 Comments
  1. Ken Brown permalink

    Have the French government never sent a hitman after you? 😆 If eg you’d been blogging about the US I’m sure an agent would have turned up long ago. Maybe they’re too bogged down in the paperwork,eh? 😉

  2. I reckon my continued safety is due to the French view that learning other languages is unpatriotic.

  3. Oh I am so glad that you came over to my blog to visit. I just know I am going to enjoy yours. I will be riding the arch of a tractors wheel following the vendange sometime this week I hope.

  4. I used to think longingly, as I clung to the wheelarch, of the days when I was classed as young enough to ride in the van with the buckets and dogs!
    I’m also here

    http://real-france.blogspot.com/

    and if you’d like more info on Mlle. Davy, e mail me.

  5. I remember my days as a vendangeuse (f there is such a word) – my grape-picking pal was so dying to ride on the back of the tractor 😀 Sausage and bread and red wine and dark chocolate for our second breakfast around half eight in the vines.

    In terms of bureaucracy and rules, Spain is getting worse (hardly surprising under Rajoy) – I’ve got a post planned to include some of that../

    (See I told you I would try and catch up today – you’ll just have to approve an awful lot of comments 😉

    • I’m up for the task…

      We nearly exchanged our house for one in Spain and although at the time disappointed it didn’t go through it now looks like a well disguised blessing. At least i have a handle on French government swindles….

  6. Caught up now and the new blog is now on my blog roll, so I wont miss any more gems.

    • Lovely to see you here…especially as without your tuition I’d still be too frightened of WordPress to start!

  7. You need to make this into a book Helen.

  8. That’s a great offer…thank you. I’ll be in touch.

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