Well I am angry I had hoped to make it through a week without being angry but it is not working out. Luckily I have made my own platform where I can moan to my hearts desire. I am the first to admit that my french is not great, but on the whole I can understand what is required of me and at the moment I understand that circumstances make life quite difficult for everyone.
I try to be a good citizen I attend our local markets with local produce through rain, wind, shine and covid pandemics. I deliver and sell fellow farmer produce when I know they are having a tough time and I try to be supportive where and when I can by sharing and liking on Facebook. I call and text people to make sure they are well and take a few moments at a distance to enquire after my various customers states of mind and health. It is a small gesture, I like to do it. I feel like I am giving back to society a little of my freedom as I am allowed to move about selling food.
This morning a post arrived on Facebook which was important for people to know about, a single payment for businesses in need as they are shut. I shared it as I am in an enviable position of still being able to trade.
Farmers do not get a single payment, because we have food to sell.
Well yes we would have, were we allowed to go to our established places to sell it. Every farmer I know who trades at the market has lost one or more sales days per week due to market closures and reductions in size. Some farmers now spend 1 or 2 days per week tracking down clients and selling online and then organising the logistics of delivery, payment, route planning etc. I am not moaning just stating facts. We still have to do the same amount of farming and preparation in between all these other extra curricular activities. However that is not why I am cross. I am cross because for a pandemic that promises to be around for some more time, as it has already been around for some months, the organisational capabilities of people leaves me cold. The incomprehension of the powers that be that as a meat seller you cant just pop into the field one day and pick a lamb leg to come to market. To be legal you have to go to a state registered abattoir for resale of your own farmed meat. This requires the farmer to guess what people are going to eat the following week, as you have to book in your animals at the abattoir the week before you take them in.
I was waiting for my call to confirm my place at our local market this week which I had been told I would be allowed to attend and had planned and catered for this appropriately. In my innocent stupidity I believe people when I am told we have to circulate those with similar products as there are not enough places at the market it will be every 15 days. Great I think we should be in a fairly strong position, as far as I am aware there are no other farmers of lamb selling at the markets I attend, others sell pork products so fair enough. So my 15 days rolls around and as no one wants to answer my calls I await my phone call like a good girl and…….. I am cancelled once again for this week.
Now my cold room is full once again and I have to once again spend the week emailing, preparing and delivering the final product that with a bit of empathy from the organisers could have been averted by me having an ability to plan ahead. If you are wondering what the response was when I asked why they could not fix a list of dates for each standholder and make a timetable for each standholder, the answer was well we dont know how long it is going to go on for…… rolled eye balls…… really…… I suggested in polite terms, which was difficult for me at that point, that it was unlikely that any of the markets would be operating at capacity until the end of the summer so would it not be best to have a plan in place. If I had had a wall close by I would have been banging my head against it.
And then on my way home from the accountant where I had an important rdv to avoid being penalised by not having my vat returns in on time, despite there being a pandemic, I drove past Intermarche and Lidl with busy car parks and tried to stop my head exploding with irritation. If we return to the status quo after this period of triumph for nature I will lose faith in humankind and society, and will probably become some dried out, wizened, bitter old woman ressembling the witch from Snow White who spends her life wondering why life did not become what she thought it ought to.
I am going to do like the dog and put my head in the water and wait for things to pass.
See you all soon
I am farming sheep and goats on the Dordogne/Gironde border with my husband and our 3 children. We have an on farm butchery and sell our meat direct to the public via the markets and delivery points in our local area