Friday, July 11, 2008

Well I'm back from France....came back early as I was feeling poorly and changed my ferry for one in a force 8 gale....nevermind! Berrien was as lovely as ever and we went to the beach in the pouring rain too!
Back to the grind stone the weeds have grown at the same pace as the veg so lots of weeding! All the spuds were lifted before I went and we have a large sack of lovely first and second earlies. The mixd salad leves are amazing this year......we can eat salad with every meal! The tomatoes are ripening, the first cucumber has been eaten, and the radishes are taking on giant proportions! We have grown so far....tomatoes 5 varieties, tomatilloes, cucumbers, peppers, aubergines, chillies, spuds, parsnips, persil(a sort of cross between parsley and parsnips) carrots, kale, russian kale, cabbages , white sprouting brocolli, red cabbage, celery, round and long courgettes, 3 types of squash, sweet corn, black salsify, leeks, onions, french beans, runner beans, pumpkins and other stuff I cannot remember! Tomorrow the bed where the spuds were is being planted up with lots of new stuff!.........I love growing food! Talking of food the meat chickens were all killed this week and our freezer is stuffed! They weighed between 2 ad 2.8kg at nearly 10 weeks old. We ate a small one fed 5 people with more for a pie tomorrow! Fabulous taste and texture!
One of the pigs went to the abattoir on Thursday morning.........C Snell is one of the last family run abattoirs in the west country and is where Hugh Frarnley Whittingstalls 'River Cottage' livestock are killed. All my sheep and pigs go there and I wish people who think abattoirs are cruel could have seen my pig sauntering down the ramp to Trevor, the head honchos encouragement of "Come on sweetheart, this way" and the nice Spanish vets words of "come along darling" ..........this to the pig....not me! She is to be made into sausages by Somersets champion sausage maker!
I want also to tell you some good news and some bad/sad news!
First the good can hear me on Farm Radio!!! follow the link!
The sad/bad news is that Yeovil market has closed after over 150 years trading on the site in the centre of Yeovil. Why is this sad? Well Taunton market and Highbridge market closed earlier in the year, both markets that were in 'Market Towns' There are only 2 livestock markets in Somerset now........the new out of town shiny new Sedgemoor livestock centre near Bridgwater and The out of town Frome livestock centre. There is a certain poingnancy about all this because this is first of all a long way for many people to travel to market but more importantly it destroys a way of life, the weekly social outing for farmers and their families, a place where frmers, who are often isolated and socially excluded can chat, moan, laugh and talk the talk with others who understand their way of life. Often while the men talked prices, bid on the beasts, bemoaned their losses or rejoiced in their meagre profits over a fry up in the market cafe, the rest of the family who had come too hit the shops to stock up on rewritable CDs, school trousers, new wellies etc as well as a trip to the hairdressers and the bank or a quick rummage in Morrisons!
At these shiny new out of town livestock centres you can buy a few things, but they are too far from the local highstreet or indeed anywhere!
Our local rag summed it up with the following quote at the end of their report.........
'It was late in the evening before an erie silence descended over the site and the market gates were padlocked for the last time. A large chunk of what had been Old England, a place of tradition and community spirit had gone for ever'
What will replace it? Apparently a housing scheme including social housing, an old peoples home and some shops are to be built as part of Yeovils regeneration doubt called 'The old market'?


The Shepton Witch said...

Sadly, like the "new improved" huge abattoirs that helped spread foot and mouth not so long ago, the new shiny farmers markets will present the same opportunities for the same problems and further isolate the already besieged farming community. Ain't progress great?

maylin said...

Hi Val, I have just come across your blog by 'accident' following a link on Ouessant sheep, from a French Spinning Forum on Ravelry. What a seredipitous accident!

I met you at the last 2 Wonderwools (I am one of the stalls from France).

Even more coincidental is that avant Fance I lived in Frome so can mightily agree with your sentiments. Frome suffers from out of town everything. I remeber all the hoo hah when Sainsburys was built (the market moved out to Standerwck so long ago I barely remember it) saying it would take trade out of the town - and it did. Luckily Frome is a very cultural town and still manages to be vibrant.

I look forward to following your blog and will definitely be coming to Fibrefest next year.

Anonymous said...

I've listened to you on the farm radio. I was on there a while back, but no mention of my name! It was titled 'The Farmer's Wife' and you know how much I like that expression!

Fr. Peter Doodes said...

So very, very sory to read about Yeovil Market closing. In our area we are working to save our cattle market. When it is too late, and Tescoland becomes the alternative name for our towns, will the population in general realise that the very character of our country has been lost.

I am told on a regular basis that 'you can't stop progress' but like buildings, our markets should have a grade 2* listing.


hen said...

It is so sad to hear about the market. I have to admit to never being to one, but I do have a sense of the meaning of them to a community.

Fantastic piece of radio Val!!


willow said...

I was sorry to hear that the markets are all closing. I grew up just outside Taunton and remember the market well. I've lost touch with the area now (I left to go to Uni and never made it back) but somehow I expected things to be as I remember them - obviously not the case.

Val Grainger said...

Thanks for the comments folks.......if any of you are ever in this area do come and see us! I agree that markets should be listed....they may not be pretty but the history they represent is priceless. Tescoland has indeed arrived.......every high street looks the same now, even has the same charity shops!