I have something to confess. I know that I shouldn’t acquire any more animals, what with 5 cats, 3 dogs, 8 ducks (poor Dickie the Duck snuffed it so we’re one down), 4 geese and 10 chickens. I work full time at writing, travel about all over the place, flit between London and France like a human yo-yo and am writing three books (very slowly). The long-suffering OH (other half) is very good and looks after the animals when I’m away and friends and family help out. So, I know I shouldn’t get more animals…
… but. You know how it is.
A friend who is returning to the UK had some chickens in France that needed re-housing so… I volunteered. Eleven of them in total, a mix of breeds including some called Cream Legbars that lay blue eggs (one of them is named Houdini and she really lives up to her name). I’m afraid that was the clincher – a chicken that lays blue eggs.
Colours are important when it comes to food in France.
A while back I helped my neighbour Remy with his potatoes. He has a corner of a big field in Agincourt (you know, the one where the battle was fought nearly 800 years ago in the Hundred Years War) where he grows potatoes and carrots. His crop of run of the mill pomme de terres for baking, boiling and frying was magnificent and it was back breaking to bag up the enormous haul. However, what he was most proud of was a small patch of navy blue potatoes and deep purple carrots!
My friend who gave me the chickens tells me that when she gave some blue eggs laid by her Cream Legbars to her neighbours, one of their children told a teacher at school about them. The teacher insisted that it wasn’t possible for a chicken to lay a blue egg. The kid took an egg to school. The teacher said the kid painted it. Apparently the issue was never resolved to anyone’s satisfaction. Lots of my friend’s neighbours were so taken with the blue eggs that they’ve bred them and she says her legacy is a corner of Nord-Pas de Calais where Cream Legbars now abound!
I’m pretty sure that Remy, my neighbour and mentor in the garden is going to be very impressed with my blue eggs. He will be able to serve them with roast purple carrots and deep blue mashed potatoes and we will all feel like were on some sort of psychedelic gastronomic journey…
You might not think this is a very exciting thing but I’ve learned that living in rural France, it’s the little daily pleasures that forge friendships and create links with people!