One of the many great features of our holiday place in Normandy is the beautiful landscape surrounding us. It is a varied and undulating scenery; crop fields and large grazing fields for the dairy herds broken up by small woods, copses and hedgerows. The local farmers manage their land very well; they cut the grass along the roads and they chop down trees on a regular basis, letting nothing go to waste. All the wood is used either for fences and similar, or for stoves like ours, at a cost of €50 per cubic metre. If you buy larger quantities you get a better price.
We like to think that our farmer friends look after the environment in an excellent way, although they sometimes dump all sorts of rubbish in funny places. There is a natural rhythm to the agricultural year with sound old farming practices. This time of year is particularly suited to maintenance, repairing and forestry, apart from the milking every morning at seven and every evening at six.
Then there is the EU, the European Union, and the co-ordination of, in particular, agriculture; what to grow, how much to grow, subsidies for certain crops, subsidies for NOT growing certain crops, rules about raising animals, large and small, and the space they need, i.e. their own creature comfort zone. And this is where I have an issue with the chicken farmer over the hill.
Like so many farmers he has branched out, but his main business is still fowl. He now seems to be expanding his chicken division. Not only will he be feeding up more chickens, but he needs to stick to, possibly new, EU rulings regarding the personal space each individual chick is entitled to. So his two big chicken barns with their characteristic feeding towers close to the family home will now be joined by three new barns on the other side of the road. Tons and tons of earth have been shifted in the last few months, the ground has been levelled and the foundations now bear witness to what we can expect in the future. I am not concerned with the smell or the sound because these buildings will be situated several hundred metres away from any public road.
As my regular readers know, we like to go for walks all around our little hamlet. Just up the hill from us we often stop to take in the views, just a little short of the said chicken farm. If we look over the farm we can see “for miles and miles”. If we look down to the left we have one of our absolute favourite views, that is, until now.
Even approaching this beautiful hill from the other side, like we do when we arrive on holiday, fills us with joy and anticipation. But now, he has ruined our view. Just look at it!
On the other hand, in his defence, I have to admit he should get some credit for creating this bird and fish pond by the road some years ago.
But he is ruining OUR VIEW, buuuhuuuh!