There’s this bird, right. It sits on top of an electricity pylon. Its just a small pylon. Well, more of a post really. It runs electricity around the village we stay in. Its only a small post cos there’s only ten people in the village, so no need for some kinda Transformers/War of the Worlds style pylon, just a post with a coupla electricity wires. Anyway, this bird, it sits on top of this little ‘pylon’, and every time it sings, before its ‘usual’ bird-type song, it mimicks the sound of electricity passing through the wire. Get that!!! Every time it opens its freaky beak, it makes the sound of electricity and then tweedy-tweet-tweets its li’l head off. It must be completely radio frickin’ rental or what?!! I wonder if other birds spit on it and call it names like Le Freak Ce Beak or idiot or something. Freaked me out or what?! I thought I was going bonkers, I kept hearing electricity. I mean, who hears electricity? Actually, the truth is that I thought I’d woken up one morning and turned into a super hero. I was well gutted when I saw the bird. Still, a superhero who hears electricity aint much of a superhero in my book. A superhero who can make peoples trousers fall down just by thinking about it, now that’s my sort of superhero. Or one who can change the colour of the icing on Iced Gems or do 20 sit-ups, that would be ace. But electricity hearing man? I wouldn’t even get on Surprise Surprise with that…
Anyway, thought I’d share that strange experience of the French countryside with you, God knows its not the only insane thing that happens in these ‘ere parts….
As previously informed, we have left Meribel, with its minus 20 threats and its 28 Euro sanitary towels and made it, via the Millau Bridge (the Worlds highest/tallest bridge), to Rainbows End Farm. AND FUCK ME, IS THIS PLACE REMOTE!!! We didn’t even know we’d arrived when we arrived, we drove straight past it and had to do a U’y (which on a road 3 feet wide in a Motorhome took all of my Nigel Mansell skills, believe). We were later told that the look on our faces when we got out of Bruce was like choosing contestant number 3 on Blind Date, the screen going back and Keith Chegwin standing in front of you with a t-shirt on saying “Space Invader” and a picture of your bum ‘ole underneath! Seriously, it was freak out time for the two idiots from England. I have never in my life stayed somewhere so out-the-way from anything. The couple who greeted us, Matt and Dan, were actually the best two people you could ever have asked for in such a situation, they made us feel extremely welcome and within minutes we were tucking into a wholesome feed, whilst our host, the farms owner and sole patron, Rosalind, completely ignored our existence and just sat there going on about how she nearly burnt the surrounding woodland down and had to run around stamping out a fire, hither and thither. I immediately thought of Rumplestiltskin and then of running as fast as I could in any direction away from here.
And it has since struck me how mad it is that we fear the unknown when the unknown could be the greatest thing we have ever known. And, in a reflective period, of which 23 hours and 51 minutes a day is about the norm, as there aint much else to do, I’ve made the decision that, as much as I can possibly force myself, every unknown situation I enter into from now on, is going to be one which I wholeheartedly look forward to. Because however much we would love to, we just don’t think, generally, positively about heading into the unknown. There’s always trepidation, fear, unease, apprehension, call it what you will, but generally, there is rarely excitement, enthusiasm or thrill at entering into something or somewhere that you have no knowledge of. And yet, why? Negativity breeds negativity, positivism breeds positivism. So, why be negative? Discuss…!!!
Anyway, Rainbows End is run by Rosalind, who is pretty much as Beatnik as a 62 year old woman can be. She has this massive farm, on this hillside in Autheze, 34210 Ferrals Les Montagnes, France (in case I need rescuing!), which is in a TINY French village consisting of 10 peeps, 2 horses, some chickens, a cat, a dog that barks at everything and is gonna wind up in a fire by the time I leave here if it doesn’t stop waking me up at 7 every morning and a few sheep, which are quite possibly the ugliest things I have ever seen. One has the eyes of Satan, the hair of Gary Glitter and the most baaaa’y baa you’ve ever heard, as if it was a contestant on Stars in your Eyes, impersonating a rasta sheep, but was actually Brian from Aldershot.
Autheze has no Shop, Pub, Bus Stop, GIRLS, anything that ‘normal’ places have but quite possibly the most amazing natural landscape of anywhere outside of Bethnal Green. Seriously, I wake up to birds singing (whatever type of home appliance mimickery they feel like at the time), blue skies (14 days out of 16), the sound of a running river (which is like the sound of the ocean, but smaller in scale) and the sound of windy-pops from my co-farming buddy, which you’d think ruined the whole experience, but actually adds a certain ‘Earthiness’ to the proceedings! From fear to farming idyll in 3 days. Now, I love the place as if it was my own (which, considering everyone here is approaching triple figures, may be easier to put into action than first thought!!)
The work is pretty heavy sometimes, but seeing the Rotavator take Steve for a run the other day was worth all the back breaking bending and digging and lifting that goes with modern day slavery.
I gotta share this with you. I just heard Steve say to our host, through the floorboards, “I’ve never known a dog that could walk backwards”!!!! Is that sheer genius or what?! That’s literally the level of our conversation now. We’ve been deprived of human contact in a social sense for so long, we just have to look at each other and make guttural noises to communicate. Generally, followed by a snigger and then bottom mimickery! But its incredible how you get sucked into the life of the 10 people who live here, it really is like a mini Brookside. Nothing happens and everybody talks about it. You start having opinions on people due to what there interpretation of nothing was!! Its WEIRD! And if someone comes into the village one day, WOW, IT IS SOOOOOO EXCITING!! I couldn’t stop talking about the colour of the post woman’s van for two days, I mean, a yellow post van? Can you Adam and Eve it? Radio Rental, ‘ere!!
We’ve had two days off in 15, one of which we spent in a nearby city called Carcassone. Its about 45 km’s away, which in Bruce is an overnight drive! I spent the day walking around the small, quaint town centre, saw a beautiful oil painting exhibition and then sat near a fountain in the baking sun watching the World go by. And what a World! 10 gals to every fella and when I say gals I mean PROPER FEMMES!! Straight up, I fell in love with France that day. Until, that is, we got lost in the mountains in the pitch black coming home, then I started to poo mon pantalons and decided Londons rush hour wasn’t so bad after all. Still, we made it back in time to eat Rabbit in Mustard sauce with roast ‘tatoe’s and red wine!!! Heck yeah, the food here has been, how you say in England, fookin’ lush guff, mate, innit. Straight up, this Rosalind lady is some kinda Hugh Fearnley in disguise. River cottage? Shut up mate, this is Chicken Liver Cottage, with crème fresh and ‘Roasted Fennel and Squid compote’, ya get me? AND THE HONEY!!! O-M-G, honey coming outta my pores, im telling ya. If I had a woman, we’d be having kids of Miel, im so loaded on the stuff. Its amazing what someone can make from Top Budget and Lidl’s own brand! But its still tres amazant!
The other day off we had, I walked for a while until I found a forest,climbed a big old dead tree and sat in it writing poetry in the dappled sunshine. Rip Van Winkle, eat ya heart out…….. then give it to Rosalind, she’ll make a heart and artichoke salad out of it, with a side of pickled otter coxsyx, drizzled with compassion!
We also went to a little French market in Olonzac with her the other morning, where me and Daft Vader bought some small sausages, a tin of Chestnut and Vanilla goodness and a box of wine from a vineyard for 8 Euro’s. There was even an accordion player at the market, making me feel all romantic…… with myself. There are times when I really miss the love of a good woman…..
Oh yeah, while I remember, I’mreading a book by Mikhail Bulgakov called The Master and Margarita. Its PROPER FAR OUT, definitely worth checking out. And I’m still reading The Dhammapada, which, although being pretty petit, is a book I’ll probably be reading for the rest of my life. I’ve also registered and been accepted for a silent meditation retreat for ten days in Barcelona from the middle of June so any of you who liked the old Saul, better come make the most of him cos soon, there’ll be a new and improved version and you may not be able to handle how mit dem rad he’s gonna be!
Anyway, my co-traveller hates it here so much, we’re staying another two weeks longer than planned which means date of departure is about 10th April. Then, I’m off to see a friend of mine in Bordeaux for a coupla days (probably), then we’re off to farm in Aveyron, Najac from 19th April for 2 weeks (check out Aveyron on t’net, its stunningly, beautifully…..good)
It proper are good for ya tho, farming ‘ard and the such lark. I seriously recommend WHOOF-ing to anyone, especially in these financially ludicrous times, cos you don’t spend a penny, you eat amazing, (supposedly) organic food, you do some hard work which is good for the soul (and body, seriously, I’m WELL fit now!) and you get to meet some completely different people then your usual environment allows. Plus there’s the added incentive of getting a great sun tan and learning to do things you never knew. I’m building a horse paddock, for crying out loud! But if ya single, bring something for the lonely nights, cos you can only abstain for so long before even Satanic sheep have a certain kinda charm, ya get me?!
Oh yeah, and if you are gonna join WHOOF, make sure you register for WHOOF-ing, not WHOOFT-ing, cos otherwise you get sent a load of dodgy emails showing guys doing very strange things to each other. Altho, what men do with their own Penis’ is pretty damn crazy and slightly cool….. just remember not to mimick in a field when you think no-one is watching otherwise you’ll be the talk of the village. And when there’s only 10 of you, word spreads, know what I’m sayin?