Down to the river. Sophie barks at some anglers. Then off en famille to the good bakers. Todays offering a 9.5/10 - buttery, flaky and light. Sophie is rendered completely silent with joy which indicates she's giving it at least 15/10.
Our wealthy neighbour has cut down a line of beautiful old chestnut trees to build another garage. Is my grumpy reaction NIMBYism or justifiable irritation ?
The old farmer shows up in the venerable Mercedes. I can see a change in him. He's moving more slowly and his voice has developed a definite advancing years 'hoarseness' .
We have a long chat. He's well as is his 'lady friend'. His second jab caused him no problems. Plans for a trip to see his fathers grave in Belarus are deflected with a judicious ' I'm leaving the drive until next year. Getting a visa is too difficult right now'. Sophie sees that there's a C-A-T standing on the drive. She howls. He laughs.
I go back to The Rickety Old Farmhouse and bring over a bottle of Gris de Gris as a gift for his lady friend. The temperatures are supposed to soar into the mid-30's next week. There's nothing like a super chilled glass of a good rose on a hot and muggy evening to end the day on a high note. Doubly so when you're ninety.
He's brought a fold up chair with him. He takes the bottle, thanks me, opens up the boot, pulls out the chair and then sits and carefully reads the label. In the process he drifts off for fifteen minutes of well deserved rest.
A few years ago, on a trip to Chennai in India, we stumbled across the supposed site of St.Thomas' martyrdom. It's now the site of a huge, wedding cake style cathedral of highly dubious architectural taste. I'd assumed the Saints presence in India was an old folk tale. However, recent research shows that two thousand years ago there was a lively flow of trade across the Indian Ocean from the mid-East to India : https://open.spotify.com/episode/7sjItZSn6uNdaooVGhEC0n?si=5eAamiOBSWiDbzl7NifXqg&nd=1
The Old Farmer really has slowed down which, at his age, isn't surprising. Did you get any joy from the Volvo people? A pity about the trees. Crass.
Changes in our friends are more noticeable when we don't see them for a while, but it sounds as though the Old Farmer is still getting the most out of life. I am very glad he has decided to postpone his trip to Belarus. As to your neighbor, a billionaire with bad taste and no appreciation for nature is a bad combination. The pond seems to have recovered but the chestnut trees are a problem at a different level.
The Volvo people didn't generate a lot of joy. When a new engine was put in the garage 'forgot' to reprogram the software that works the aircon. The main dealer has now ordered some parts which will require another trip to have them installed. It's as if the after sales service part of the business plan has been forgotten.
No doubting the old farmer is determined to enjoy each and every day - no matter what life throws at him !
When we lived in New Orleans, our next-door neighbor lived in a house which was one of several on the block owned by her brother. We called her the Treekiller because she cut down every tree on every property he owned! We, on the other hand, had a lovely large spreading tree in the corner of our back garden, and in the heat and sun of New Orleans, the efficacy of the shade provided by that tree was clearly visible on our power bill. She and the German billionaire are obviously two of a very unfortunate kind.
Sophie is really suffering from a lack of Jaffa cakes (although I suspect the croissant ends make up for it). I'm about ready to ship her some just to make her happy!
Justifiable irritation. What's wrong with the man? We agree with Lisa. People come to villages like yours for exactly the peace and natural beauty they then set about destroying and turning into the urban jungle they were escaping from.
Trade across these vast ocean distances was going on astoundingly early. I'm reading The Boundless Sea, by David Abulafia, which starts tracing the human criss-crossing of oceans at 176,000 BC. https://www.theguardian.com/books/2019/dec/29/the-boundless-sea-david-abulafia-review-by-alexander-larman Highly recommended - tho long and with very small print!
There aren't too many people in Europe who'd be wanting to plan a visit to Belarus at the moment. May the Old Farmer stay safe in the village, tinkering with his venerable Mercedes and sharing a glass of good rosé with his lady friend.
Surely there was some restriction to forbid the billionaire from cutting down those beautiful trees? Though it's too late now. Your reaction is entirely understandable.
When we first came to live here, our builder told us that sadly few Germans had any respect for either local laws or their neighbours' concerns for their environment. He said that they treated it as if it was the Wild West! It seems your billionaire feels the same way about your little corner of paradise. It's distressing that you all have to put up with his destructive and selfish ways.
Amazing that the Old Farmer is planning another long trip for next year! These days I think twice about a trip out of town, and he can give me a good few years. He really has the right attitude to life.
Inca thinks that croissant ends are a good substitute for Jaffa cakes, though not quite in the same league.
It seems that billionaires everywhere can get away with anything and have no conscience or scruples. Your irritation is most definitely justifiable.
Think of how many decades it took for those trees to get big. A real crime to cut them down. Is the billionaire planting new ones? Or does he not care, since it will take decades for them to grow as big as the ones he destroyed? Our former neighbors tried to sue us to force us to cut down a line of trees; they didn't like having leaves blow in their yard. They lost. Plus the two yards were in a kind of bowl that turned into mud much of the year if not for the trees drinking up the water--why they were planted in the first place.
Belarus is definitely not a wise destination for the moment.
It's upsetting to see trees being cut down. Idiot billionaire!
Wealth does not make a person brilliant, in fact, just the opposite....the doofus!
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