Archive Article: 1998/12/18 - Farmers Weekly

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Archive Article: 1998/12/18

18 December 1998

Shropshire farmer Lloyd Jones joins our team of Farmer Focus writers. He has 175ha (430 acres) of owned and rented land at Westbury, near the Welsh border. Winter cereals are all drilled, but the last patch of potatoes is posing problems. To find out how he and our other writers are tackling this autumns sticky situations, turn to pages 52-53.

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Archive Article: 1998/12/18

18 December 1998

PINK! Youve done it pink! From that moment on the atmosphere in the car was decidedly frosty. My two younger daughters were disgusted, and when we arrived home they grudgingly went into the lounge to see for themselves.

The lounge, which had taken a beating during the last six months while the kitchen and dining room were being transformed, had been painted pink with mulberry regency striped wallpaper in the alcoves that gleams in the light.

"It wont look very Christmassy," said Beth.

Not Christmassy! The alcoves look more crackerish than crackers do. Wait till the furnitures back, we said.

That was a month ago. They still havent forgiven me. The test is to come; we will be putting up the Christmas decorations at the weekend and Im getting quite excited now. The kitchen is finished, we can easily seat 14 around the extended table, and the tree can stand in the window rather than be hidden in the corner.

Weve been in party mode for weeks. We had a Livarot Confrerie dinner dance two weeks ago, an afternoon and evening event including a walk around old Alençon in the afternoon in which Tim took part. (I had one of those "parties" at home, to sell household cleaning agents, perfect just before Christmas!)

Tim had to put on his confrerie robes for an aperitif at the mairie before going on to the dance hall. I joined him there and we were herded into an auxiliary room to change (for those who werent dressed already) and regroup into our specific confrerie.

The sight of all those groups representing different foods or wines was amazing. I loved the deep burgundy velvet capes with cream pointed collars which the Bordeaux wine representatives wore. (One was standing in front of us. We were all squashed together and I just wanted to stroke his velvet cloak.)

Some had feathers in their hats; some looked odd. The frogs legs group had short bright green smocks with frogs on the back. Ours is a calf-scour brown velvet coat, silk shoulder cape, and Tim had a hat with five bands of green silk around it to represent the rafia bands found around Livarot cheeses.

We had to queue outside the hall then wait to be introduced before we each walked in as a fanfare was played. We were 30 different groups, 250 people in all. Once seated we had the initiation ceremony for new members and special guests, then the presentation of the prize cups.

This was the 25th anniversary of the Alençon charcuterie confrerie, and they have competitions for the best

producers. On the stage there were four presentation shelves of cups and when these had been presented the shelves were refilled. We finally sat down to eat at about 10pm and the meal was delicious.

Since then we have had the "mature persons" Christmas dinner put on in town, an annual event organised by the local Lions, and our

milk-recorders retirement supper, all getting us into the party spirit.

Now my fingers are itching to get that "pink" room glitzed up to keep the offspring happy.

Merry Christmas everyone!

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