Thursday, 24 April 2008

Le fermier

I have been wanting to write about the farmer for a while. I first met him about 2 years ago when I went to the land with Ian for the first time. He owns one of the neighbouring farms and when we are over we pop over to say hello and keep him informed of what we are doing. Well, mostly it has been me sitting there nodding while Ian and him speak in French and I act like a blond! This time however, my French had improved a little and although I can't yet join in much of the conversation I can understand a fair bit of it. Monsieur Mulatier is what everyone would imagine a French farmer to be. He is stocky, with a round and ruddy face and grey hair. He has a gap where one of his front teeth once stood and wears blue cotton farming overalls and an American baseball cap. He speaks with a kind of nasal and drawn out local accent which Ian tells me is quite mild but which I find quite hard to follow. He lives in a small and unmodernised farmhouse with his wife. The job of the farmers wife is to deal with the books, money, paper-work and the affairs of the house, while Monsieur Mulatier deals with the tractors. He has at least 5, of which only three are working. When Ian went round he had the parts of one of them spread all over the garage floor.

Ian and Monsieur Mulatier discuss tractors, farm equipment, the local politics and the gossip (Mr Mulatier likes to know all he gossip about the English families). He then invites us in for an aperitif (which Monsieur Mulatier enjoys a lot and may explain some of his ruddy complexion). I am always offered one but it would not be polite for me as a woman to accept and it would be rude for Ian to say no!

I had to drive for the rest of the afternoon as Ian was too drunk!

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