Hard times

« I’ve come to tell you that I’m selling my land” she said as she stepped carefully through the front door. She followed me into the kitchen, her gait slow and stooped. My husband stood to greet her, bending down to plant the obligatory 3 kisses on her soft, hairy cheeks, as she repeated her opening sentence. “I’d sell it to you, mais mon pauvre, you could never afford to buy it.”

I caught my husband’s eye. We had heard the rumours of course that the field was up for sale, but it was simple farming land and no building would be permitted. I wondered who would want it, but I already had my suspicions.

My husband had worked the field for years and by rights he should have first refusal, but she must have read my mind “They’re offering me three times what it’s worth. Three times!” she said “and what with Marcel in the nursing home now, I need the money to pay the fees.” Her voice trailed away and I gazed down at the floor.

It’s the Parisians, the people who own the house next to the field. They don’t want any neighbours you see…” I looked up. Suspicions confirmed. Reading between the lines, I knew that they would be buying it as an investment, in the hope that one day it would become building land and that the price would soar.

“You might want to check with them, to see if it’s worth sowing or not this year” she continued. I glanced at my husband as he nodded. I knew what he was thinking. We probably wouldn’t have been able to buy the land even at the original agricultural price, but that was beside the point. “It’s people like them that are pushing the prices up and farmers out!” he said. The old lady nodded in agreement, turning to leave, her eyes tinged with sadness “I don’t like it either” she said “but I’ve got no income of my own. I’m sorry but I don’t have any choice.”

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10 Responses to Hard times

  1. tut-tut says:

    This is happening all over the world. I’m outraged for you.

  2. Lizzy says:

    It is so hard to stick to your principles when money is needed and offered. I feel for all of you. It is never a good feeling when beauty is purchased by those who would ruin it.

  3. Heidi says:

    I’m sorry.

    So beautifully written.

    – Heidi

  4. Yes, the state of things everywhere as the gulf between the haves and the have-nots continues to widen…

    On another note, glad your apple ordeal all turned out okay!

  5. Mary Alice says:

    This made me cry. I understand it. It happened to us as well.

  6. Hexe says:

    How frustrating and sad. How ironic that people from the city buy land in the country because they enjoy the solitude and the open spaces and yet they then plan to destroy the thing they wanted.

  7. Kathleen says:

    Oh my. This is a too familiar story. I grieve with you.

  8. meredith says:

    I know. Our tiny little house is already worth 30% more than what we paid for it 5 years ago because of all the Parisians paying “n’importe quoi” for a house around Aix these days. We could sell, but to go where?

  9. cari says:

    Our game farm and nature reserve doesn’t exist anymore either. It’s been plowed up for commercial co-operative farming. Big money, big business…the outcome will always be the same. So sad and so shortsighted.

  10. Oh, I am so sorry. It has been happening like that where I am from for years. Land that has been in agriculture for years and years slowly being sold off to “city people” as a “good investment”…but it is never good for the people that actually work the land.

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