Monday, 12 May 2008

Working on the PAC

It’s PAC time here in France (the Politique agricole commune, otherwise known in the UK as the Common Agricultural Policy) the deadline for returning the forms is Thursday and mine are still to be filed. Today was designated PAC day and having spent the morning trying to decipher the forms I gave up and decided a trip to the agriculture department was the only option. So around an hour later I’m at the department in Agen and this is the sight that greets me.

I knew about the holiday on the 1st of May, I knew about the holiday on the 8th of May, what I didn’t know about was the holiday today! I did get an inkling before I got to the building; the car park by the river was just about empty but that wasn’t too strange as it’s usually full of students cars and I thought that they might still be on holiday, but when I climbed the steps up to the road outside the offices and there wasn’t a single car shoehorned into every available parking space I knew I was onto a loser. So a return trip is planned for tomorrow.

The PAC took up most of the day apart from the usual animal things. Mr Tibbs is making himself at home although he is still a little nervous.

I’d just finished the alpacas and was wondering which bit of the garden to do next when a really strong gust of wind hit the house and continued. The sky darkened over the nearby town and it was just possible to hear the thunder as it started to roll in. Gardening was off the list for the rest of the evening.

I just had time to grab a quick, out of focus, picture of these. My little camera isn’t really good at close ups and in fact the normal setting is better than the close up setting.

This little group of orchids is growing on the edge of the ditch that runs along the side of the road to my farm. I’d seen one flower spike last year so went looking for the leaves earlier this year to mark the spot and hopefully save it from the commune grass cutter that cuts all the verges and clears the ditches. This year, due to the weather, very little verge cutting has been done and as a result of this I’ve found 10 flower spikes this year. Six are on the road side of the ditch and will be mown so I’m contemplating using the bulb planter to remove them and replant them onto my side of the ditch near these where they wont be mown down.

The final picture tonight is my pudding; the first 3 strawberries from the pots on the patio. I’ve only 6 plants and they were in a poor shape having been neglected last year. They really appreciated being re-potted a few weeks ago and immediately flowered. I won’t have a glut of strawberries but they should tide me over until the alpine strawberries are ready. That won’t be long as they are a mass of flowers at the moment.

I had these sliced and sprinkled with a little lavender sugar and a dollop of crème fraiche – heaven.


softinthehead said...

Your PAC trip was very reminiscent of my entire week in France. I have those plates !!! Mmmm strawberries that reminds me I bought some today. See ya!

dulwichmum said...

Dear Deborah,

Thank you for taking the time to come and offer me your support today. It is very much appreciated.

DM x