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My Invisible Neighbours and the Great Fruit Exchange Rate...


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We rarely see our nearest neighbour their garden backs onto our vegetable plot and if they are gardening we may just see them otherwise they go to work at 7am and return at 6pm into their walled compound.

If we have a surfeit of veg we put it on the wall and it disappears and later it is replaced with a return of bounty.

Monday we put a nice big cauliflower on the wall - this morning we got two sacks of kiwi fruit. The current exchange rate seems very good for caulis gainst kiwis!

My wifelet made jam this morning and we are now planning some kiwi wine.

We are not planning another cauli on the wall before we have got through all the kiwis.

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Isn't this one of the reasons we all love living in France?

We have a similar system with our neighbours, who we also don't see...  They give us fruit, we make English deserts with it...   They seem to love these - or at least they are too polite to say otherwise!!

Haven't given them any custard yet though!!  I think that would be one step too far!!!

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When I started my garden here I planted lots of strawberries.  I watched them flower and gloated over the new green fruit as they swelled.  But they never seemed to ripen!  Some weeks later, I was talking to a friend of mine in the village (who grows strawberries and has two small daughters), I asked him how his strawberry crop had been.  Great! he said.  I told him about mine - how I had considered whether maybe birds were taking them - but that all the fruit disappeared as soon as they were ripe - there were no half eaten ones left.  He shrugged and admitted it was a mystery.  The next day, there was a knock at the door.  Two tiny girls were waiting, looking very  anxious and holding a large bag of cherries...[:D]  Apart from the involuntary strawberry/cherry exchange, I have had tomatoes for rare seeds; jam, tatting and plants for bouquets, honey for melons and lots and lots of herbs, preserves, seedlings, seeds, apricots, grapes, figs and wine for love[:D]
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Here in the Vendee it is exactly that just leaving veg/fruit on one's wall hanging on the gate and just simply put on the window sill. This year our neighbour just simply crossed the road and left huge bags of figs!

Earlier in the year I had given her bunches of asperge. Then she gave me and I gave her.......

However one of my most lovely memories of France was this summer when we had a quartier des voisins (is that correct) when we gathered under the shade in our neighbours gardens. Everybody cooked and brought lots of gooies and the men were in competition with their local 'brews' I made a terrine from an old recipe and also a figue and apple compote but jazzed it up with some hot chillies. I now have a waiting list and have made batches labelled them and they are going to be Christmas presents.
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