Wednesday 16 August 2006

Robins and Jam

A friend drew this article in the Guardian to my attention, another in the continuing series of easy money makers on Brits in France. His comment was ‘dreadful people’. This is the same friend who referred me to a piece about the self obsessions of bloggers, so I’m really beginning to wonder what his true opinion of me is. I read it, my egocentricity wouldn’t allow otherwise, but I’m not entirely sure what his point is.

Yes, the people in the article aren’t the sort I’d be likely to make a close personal friend of but is there so very much more wrong with them than the same people hammering out their chosen lifestyle in Essex or Edinburgh? Why is it considered de rigueur upon emigrating to another country to become more native than the natives? In the UK I’ve eschewed any number of customs, rituals and expectations to create a lifestyle that suits me – it may not be the best way to do things even by my own benchmarks but form has shaped the person and the person shaped the form. It would barely meet any standard form of British cultural cliché and I wouldn’t expect to suit anyone but myself and very close family. If the expectation is I will offer the sincerest form of flattery to the French by becoming indistinguishable from them (to the British eye at any rate) then I feel that both the French and I will have lost something in the deal.

It is important to recognise that other cultures have other rules, law, taxes and to accommodate them gracefully, I do not think it’s necessary to become a clone of any part of the culture of a foreign country unless it is natural to do so. In fact, I think those that do risk becoming risible as a result of it.

The plums are getting ripe. We have four trees in total and the fruit is delicious. All the trees are some type of greengage, probably Reine Claude or something very similar. It would have been nice to have some prune plums so those will have to go on the list of fruit trees to buy. Unfortunately many of the fruits are infested with maggots but I shall get around this by making jam.

We have tried making plum wine before with little success so that’s probably not worth the effort this year when we hope to make about 100 gallons of cider. I have to say I think that’s a rather optimistic aim, but there is plenty of fruit and it’s beginning to ripen satisfactorily. Anyone who wants to come over for a fruit picking party is very welcome.

There has been a robin in the garden for about a month now. We’re very pleased, makes us feel like we’re real inhabitants and not just holiday homers and Paul is convinced he’s seen a fish in the sheepdip pond. I saw a trail of stirred mud but it could just as easily have been a frog or a crocodile because I couldn’t see what had caused it. When the jam is setting later today I’ll stake out a place by the edge of the water and see what I can see.


Niles said...

What sort of kit do you need for 100 gallons of cider?!

Anonymous said...

"I’m not entirely sure what his point is"

None, as usual :)

(It could hardly be anything about your blogging habits as I hardly ever read your blog (my unreliability rather than your quality) - I just thought the article was funny)