Splendidly nourished, we began our tour of the farm. Mme Robert eats (literally) sleeps and breathes ostrich! Such is her passion and intense enthusiasm that we were very glad of our own Marie-Denise Wallace’s consummate skills as an interpreter, at a speed we could understand.  Aided at times by an ostrich arm puppet (remember Rod Hull and Emu?!), Mme Robert began by warning us to keep our distance from the ostriches because a nip from their beaks is a very painful experience!  She and her husband had started the farm 32 years ago, importing their first birds from South Africa. The fields now house many ostriches and, as we walked around, we were joined by several llamas who also live there. She told us just about everything ostrich including the fact that nowadays the farm even exports eggs back to their country of origin. As well as for their meat and eggs, ostriches are used to produce a range of health and beauty products. Their oils are rich in quality and seem to be regarded as an almost universal panacea! Some of our party made purchases from the farm shop so we await the results! The shop also has an extensive range of other goods for sale including items made from ostrich leather, decorated eggs, toys and puppets, coloured feathers and even feather dusters! More information about this amazing enterprise can be found at https://www.autrucherieuse.com/ , in French of course but it easily translates with an appropriate mouse click. One can also make purchases online.

 

In the evening we returned to the Fort for a sumptuous Farewell dinner, prepared, provided and served by our generous hosts. Our indefatigable Chairman David Twinn gave a fervent thank you speech on behalf of all the guests. We were entertained by a local Irish Folk Group who played guitar, pipe, drums and an exquisite tiny Irish harp. There was much singing, dancing and general letting down of hair. All too soon on a cloudless Sunday morning we were packed and ready to leave, and we gathered at the Maison des Associations for our emotional farewells. The obligatory Auld Lang Syne was accompanied by Michel Gaborit on his accordion and we were soon on our way back to Blighty, having briefly escaped mention of Brexit for a friendly sun-filled weekend!

 

Marilyn & Jim Hurdwell
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