Tuesday, 11 December 2007

First Blog Entry

Having dabbled with an intermittent blog on a closed site I though it was time to open up. With luck it will also double as a journal and record of my progress here at the farm. The farm is 11 hectares in the wonderful Lot et Garonne in southwest France.

I've now been here for 10 months. On down days I feel I've achieved very little but then I come across one of the photographs I took back at the beginning and realise I have actually done a reasonable amount. The blog will hopefully enable to track the progress I make and also remind me of what not to do.

I officially took over the farm at the end of February 2007. The owners hadn’t farmed it for quite a few years but the fields had been rented out to a neighbour. The farm building it's self was sound but hasn't been modernised since the 60's. There is no mains water, it all comes from the well, no mains drainage and the electricity is dodgy to say the least. It's only 9Kw which means if I'm not careful about what I switch on I trip out the mains switch. It also explains why all the lights only had 40-watt bulbs.

French bureaucracy is renown and part of the slowness in getting things done is due to traipsing round various offices getting everything you need registered. I'm beginning to get used to carrying round my life history plus latest telephone and electricity bill just to get a simple question answered. I'm also getting used to there being no such thing as Customer Service as I know it from the UK in the shops. Buying stuff can be a nightmare; I've learnt to buy things only if there is everything I need in the shop. Items come in, sell out and the shops may get more but just as likely they wont. Asking doesn't help, as invariably they will tell you they just don't know. That said, I love being here and most of the people here have been really welcoming and helpful despite the fact that they are facing a British re-invasion of this area.

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