MANY people head to France for a fresh start and look forward to finding a new home, maybe starting a new business or just the chance to make new friends.
Farmer's wife Chris Moorey experienced all these things when making a move to the Mayenne region, but also arrived with some reminders of her life in the UK including her dogs, a Shetland pony and a 1948 Land Rover.
Chris and her husband Philip ran a sheep farm in the UK but were keen to expand, however, the cost of land on the Sussex Downs meant their plans were permanently on hold, and then they watched a television programme about farming in France and before they knew it the couple had bought 75 acres in the Mayenne countryside.
The story of their life in France is told in Fraiche Fields et Patures New, written by Chris, and charts how the couple came to be farming a flock of 350 sheep as well as trying to run a B&B and welcome guests to their home.
In one passage Chris finds herself a little occupied when a car rolls up to the front door.
Our very first, unannounced, guests turned up one evening when the kitchen sink was full to overflowing with assorted lamb paraphernalia: tubes, bottles, teats. A twenty five kilo sack of Ewes Milk Replacer powder was in the middle of the kitchen floor and the whole area was lightly coated in its fine, sticky, yellow dust. I glanced out of the window and saw an English car drive into the yard.
Chris has published the book herself and you get a clear 'warts and all' guide to farming in France, not only the hard work that has to be put in, but the paperwork and constant juggling of finances.
However, what does come through is the help and support that the local community afford each other, from distilling calvados to coming to the rescue of a farmer who suffers a terrible accident whilst out on his tractor.
Fraiche Fields et Patures New tells of the first five years of Chris and Philip's life after buying their farm in 1990, and to know that they are still there shows their farming life in France remains fresh and new.
Title: Fraiche Fields et Patures New
Author: Chris Moorey
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