Love story from the French coun­try­side

Irish Examiner - Farming - - NEWS -

I fell in love while I was in France on my hol­i­days. Did I tell not tell you be­fore now?

Yerra, ’ twas easy, re­ally. Fel­lows fall in love in France all the time.

It must be some­thing to do with the heat, or the crois­sants.

My love story would bring a tear to the eye of the Bull McCabe him­self, for ’twasn’t with a woman that I be­came smit­ten, only a fine lump of land. The grand­est farm I ever did see.

It all be­gan one fine sunny day, when the ra­di­a­tor of my jeep started blow­ing steam, and I hap­pened upon this lovely ru­ral spot, while in search for wa­ter.

I made my way of f the dusty French road, and onto a farm I rolled.

“Bon­jour!” says I to the farmer who came out of his hum­ble dwelling to greet me. “Is there any chance at all of some agua?” I asked, us­ing all t he French I could muster.

“No agua,” says he, “only eau.”

“Well,” says I, “I don’t care what you call it.

“Just give me a gal­lon of the stuff, or my jeep might blow sky high and kill the both of us.”

Sure enough, my beretwear­ing pal soon came rush­ing with wa­ter ga­lore. “Gra­cias, amigo,” says I, for I was in­deed grate­ful. Then us­ing his lim­ited English, he asked “You like drink yourself?”

“Wo u l d I what?” I ex­claimed, and my throat as dry as a camel’s. Drink duly ar­rived, and be­fore long, I was sit­ting on the porch of his home, with the finest drop of wine in my glass that I ever did sup. “What kind of farm­ing are you do­ing, com­padre?” I asked, for I can be ter­ri­ble nosey, with drink on board. And he told me he was do­ing the worst kind of farm i n g , fo r eve r y t h i n g h e touched seemed to go ar­se­ways.

I a s s u r e d h i m I k n ew ex­actly how he felt, for I farm in a sim­i­lar way my­self. Then he told me that ’twas all tillage he did, but that he made lit­tle by way of money, on ac­count of be­ing in love with his neigh­bours’ wife. He couldn’t con­cen­trate on farm­ing, you see. It was all very French, for sure. And then he added that he would quite hap­pily give the farm to me, if I gave him the keys of my jeep, so that he could elope with her­self, for the love pangs were very strong, he ex­plained. And he knew my old jeep, in spite of a few mi­nor flaws, was good to go.

“You like farm?” he asked. “You take it, I take jeep, and neigh­bour’s wife.”

Well, I have to tell you, the of­fer sounded mighty tempt­ing, for I had fallen in love with his farm in­stantly. And as I strolled out across his yard, and sat upon his tractor, I could well see my­self grow­ing old in the com­pany of that land.

The French farm nei­ther had a ditch nor a gate.

It was all open plan.

So no mend­ing of ditches or hang­ing of gates. Which is all I ever seem to do back home.

But sense dawned. For, by ac­cept­ing the deal, I would be en­cour­ag­ing dev­il­ment of the worst kind.

“No, señor!” says I, “I can­not be party to your plan.” And I strongly ad­vised him to seek out a con­fes­sional box.

I left the farm be­hind in France, and nat­u­rally enough, have spo­ken of lit­tle else since re­turn­ing home. My heart is bro­ken, for didn’t I have a mighty French farm there in my grasp, only to let it slip be­tween my fin­gers.

I was a fool surely. The love of the land must truly be the strong­est love of all.

LOST IN TRANS­LA­TION: De­nis Le­hane fell in love dur­ing his visit to a French farm.

A love story that would bring a tear to the eye of Bull McCabe.

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