Impulse Buying – Achats d’Impulsion

I made an impulse buy this morning. And I’ve bucked all the trends by doing so. I’ll explain.

1. According to research, impulse buys are most likely to happen in large towns and cities, and not in rural areas. I made mine at quiet Boussac’s Thursday market.

2. Young people are the biggest impulse buyers. Up to 90% of under 25s impulse buy, whereas it’s only 37% of 50 year olds. I’m not quite 50 yet, so there was, let’s say, only around a 38% chance that I would make an achat d’impulsion today. But I did.

3. Men are more likely to impulse buy than women. It’s true. And they spend more. In the UK men spend £25 on impulse buys, against £19 by women. This is a scary amount in both cases and adds up to around £70,000 over an adult’s lifetime. Wow! Well, I’m not a guy, but I also didn’t spend £19. I’m still not fitting the profile.

4. The most popular impulse buys are clothes, DVDs, books, booze and magazines. My purchase didn’t fall into that category.

So – what was my impulse buy? Two cou-nu chickens, about 5 weeks old! They cost €2.80 each.

Arriving home

It’s Chris’s fault. He needed to go to the hardware shop for some more plumbing bits and pieces. He persuaded me to come along for the ride, since I’m a bit down in the dumps at the mo. So I did. And after we’d been to Boussac Brico, we decided to stroll round the market. This ended up with us going to the poultry stall to order our turkeys (5 whites, 2 bronzes and 2 blacks this year), and that’s when I made my impulse chicken buy.

Now I unexpectedly had my young chickens, I needed food for them. I only have blé at home. So we had to go to Gamm Vert for that. That’s a garden centre, so that meant we also ended up buying more seeds, and also 15 lettuces and 12 beetroot seedlings to inspire our struggling ones at home. See what a slippery slope this impulse buying lark is?

Still, that should satisfy my coup de tête retail therapy urges for a while. Chris can breathe easily again!

Settling in


Excellent Eglu

Side view of the Eglu and run

I must have had my Eglu for about seven years now, maybe longer. My what? Eglu – it’s a space age chicken house made by Omlet. Check out the website. The company now produces several versions of the Eglu and also houses for bees, rabbits and guinea pigs. I’m glad to see Omlet is doing so well. It deserves to. It produces top quality items.

Originally intended for our first two chickens in Ireland, Lady Egg and Princess Layla, the Eglu has since housed more chickens but also ducks, turkeys, guinea fowl, rabbits, guinea pigs and, currently, kittens. It’s incredibly versatile, totally secure and generally brilliant.

It was one of the few items that Irish couriers condescended to actually deliver to our house. We used to have a dreadful time with them back in Cork. They would avoid bringing anything out to you if they possibly could. We only lived a couple of miles outside Bandon, a small town, and around twenty miles from Cork City, but you’d think we were on the moon. The excuses we’d get for them not to come out – too far off the beaten track, not on our map (I even gave our GPS location to them sometimes), won’t be going that way again till 2012 … It was shameful. So I used to have to pick things up from the various depots. I gave up ordering stuff from Amazon altogether because we never got that. It was either nicked or sent back to the warehouse, the couriers claiming no-one was at home when they tried to deliver it. Grr. So it’s wonderful here in France where couriers’ vans turn up when expected and never have any trouble finding us, and we really do live in the middle of nowhere now. We were semi-suburban in comparison back at Finnis!

Back to Eglu related content. There was great excitement when Ruadhri and I collected our first two chickens all those years ago. Our neighbour Joy had told me about a lady who sold chickens, so we went out there with a cardboard box. I was rather stunned when the woman opened a shed literally packed with chickens, grabbed the two nearest by their legs and dropped them on their heads into our box. But I’m used to chicken management techniques now! And when we found our first egg in the nesting box of the Eglu the very next day, well, that was it. I was hooked on chickens. Lady and Princess were super chickens. They spent their holidays with Joy’s chickens every year, and the rest of the time free-ranged over our garden, and hardly missed a day with egg laying. Lady’s eggs won a prize at the Bandon Show one year. Classy chicken or what!

But for now, the kittens are comfy and cosy in the Eglu. We’ll keep them there another week or so until they’re properly settled in, and then move them out into one of the stables. I shall need the Eglu back for more chickens soon …


What’s in a Name?

Several visitors to the farm have asked me what the ‘Fragnes’ in its name, ‘Les Fragnes’, stands for? And these visitors have been French! If they don’t know, then there’s not much hope for me. We had a theory that it might mean ‘hovel’ since there were two of them when we bought the place. (I’m glad to say they are hovels no more.) Not so very far away, across the border in Indre, is Le Fragne. I took the kids there for a look around, but I didn’t spot one of anything that we have two or more of here. So I conclude that ‘Fragnes’ is just a name.

Nestlé Moschops (Nessie for short) bravely hunting voles last winter

There are other mystifying names on our farm. These belong to the animals which the children are usually responsible for naming. There has been The Big Cheese (a rabbit), Panic Attack (a duck), Dreadnought (another duck), Evil Twin (a cat) and Leopard (a bantam). The currently best-named animals are Nestlé Moschops the dog and Majority the hen.

Since The Big Cheese we’ve given up naming the rabbits. They’re not pets, shall we tactfully say? I originally had a very organised plan of naming each litter with a particular letter of the alphabet, working our way through systematically. Letter A went well, as the buns all looked different from each other. However, next came a litter of clones which made it trickier. Then we sadly lost a couple of litters. Should we count those in the alphabetical run through? The system crumbled. So these days the latest female to have babies is always Momma Bun and if we give names at all to the offspring, they’re pragmatic ones like ‘And Gravy’, ‘Curried’ or ‘Tagliatelle’. (Do try Gordon Ramsay’s rabbit tagliatelle, by the way. Excellent.) We’re currently running down our stock of bunnies as we’re not especially fond of rabbit, apart from the tagliatelle dish, and they’re a lot of work.

Our first two turkeys were suitably and purposefully called ‘Cranberry Sauce’ and ‘Stuffing’. But since then we haven’t named them beyond temporary nicknames. At the moment we have White Turkey and Black Turkey. Black Turkey should really be Grey Turkey as she’s a dinde grise, but compared to our other turkey, she’s black! Both have been laying eggs for us, so they’re no longer oven-bound. Black Turkey is broody at the moment, sitting on three duck’s eggs which may be fertile. We had two batches of bantlings last year i.e. ducklings hatched and brought up by bantams. Will this year see turklings?

Our guinea pigs began with a gem theme, with Amber, Ruby and Jasper. We diverged slightly into fossils, Ammonite, and then an astromonical theme took over – Supernova, Stardust. Since then it’s become a free for all. We have Poorly Pig who was attacked by a cat when she was tiny and was very poorly for a while: there’s Archer, Mario, Blackberry and Scratchy – the latter because she is. Amongst the poultry we have Sham, Puma, Matilda, Hotel (he’s a duck and his mate was Tokio – but she flew away! If you don’t get that reference, then ask any tweens or teens in your household.)

Windermere Lady Coulemelle (aka Windy) - a calm, serene lady

The llamas and alpacas mostly have sensible names – Katrina, Ciara, Oscar and Bernard, for example. More unusual is Windermere Lady Coulemelle – but we didn’t come up with that one. She was prenamed by llama breeder Bernard Morestin. He called her Windermere after the lake and Coulemelle because she was an October baby and there were coulemelles (a type of mushroom) growing in the fields. She was also a similar colour. I think he added Lady because it sounded nice. We also have Lulin, named after the comet that was in orbit over the earth when she was born. It’s a cool name for a llama.

So what’s in a name? Quite a lot on our farm!