Thursday, 18 August 2011

Foreign Vets, Home-grown Fruit & Veg

Several times over the past couple of months we have had 'Ministry' vets  turning up having got lost, the latest one at the beginning otf the week. The main reason for these arrivals is that on the whole they have been Spanish & therefore unfamiliar with the area. They have been sent out armed with a map, the name of a farm & the farmer & little idea of where they are going.
They arrive here, get out of the car, tog themselves up in wellies & over- trousers, grab their clip boards then come to the door & say they have come to test our cattle. They have not as they do not have an appointment.
They then ask if we are Mr. Jones? We say 'No'. They say 'Is this ....Farm?'  We say 'No'. They say 'I am lost!' We say 'It certainly looks like it!' &  then have to go through a great rigmarole of trying to find out where they are meant to be, which is difficult for the poor Spanish vet having to cope with Welsh place names & for us having to interpret & show on the map that in fact they are probably even in the wrong parish!
What I am getting round to is that while the vet is only doing his or her job, they are very conscious, as are we, that they are compromising the anonymity of farmers having their cattle tested for TB by a lack of local knowledge & frequently an inadequate grasp of the English language & a strong accent, a situation made more difficult by local accents & that many older Welsh farmers are more at ease speaking Welsh.. For some reason a lot of the vets employed by Defra seem to come from Spain & also in the local abattoirs & it is a cause for concern and there is potential for serious mistakes to be made.

We have been picking plums...there is bumper crop this year but sadly they are lacking flavour, so we have bottled them in a syrup. They will be delicious in the winter when made into crumbles & sponge puddings.
The blackberries are beginning to ripen now and it looks as though there is going to be a very good crop of them too. Hazelnuts are ripening as well and I hope I shall be able to gather a reasonable quantity to keep for Christmas before the squirrels get them. In the garden I have a red hazel which produces deep pink nuts with lovely flavour.
While the polytunnel has been keeping us well supplied with cabbages, courgettes & sweetpeas, the tomatoes are doing very badly. Very little fruit has set & what toms there are are not ripening. We cannot think of a good reason for this at all & it is very disappointing as one of the best things about this time of year is freshly picked tomatoes for salad lunches with good bread & local cheese.

Younger Son, KT & the Baby took A. our French student to the Pembrokshire Show near Haverfordwest on Tuesday. They had lovely time & A. came back very pleased with his day having bought himself a real Welsh rugby ball. I hope he has room for it in his backpack!

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