The orange and lemon trees down in the field are doing well, full of blossom and fruit at the same time.
I still give the avocadoes and bananas some shelter, not so much from the temperature but we sometimes get very strong winds from the south at this time of the year.
The chickens are not laying at the moment and I haven’t the heart to put any of them in the pot, so we haven’t had anything other than plant protein for ages. The goats are pregnant, so at least there’ll be some fresh milk in a few weeks. Once they’re weaned I’ll give the kids to our new neighbours who have come from Senegal.
The old neighbours sadly died last summer. They had not kept up their vaccines against the tiger mosquitoes and they caught the fever.
We had another large group of refugees from Africa come through the village last week. They’d walked all the way up through Spain and crossed the Pyrenees. They prefer to cross in winter as summer temperatures are so high. A couple of them are staying with us in the gite, as we rarely have guests these days now that all the local airports are closed. Coming down by e-train or e-car is just so expensive.
The two staying with us are helping us dig another underground water reservoir. Much of the work has to be done by hand as the e-digger’s battery is flat – we have had heavy cloud for several weeks now, probably due to the fires from north Africa and so the panels are not recharging. No rain, just cloud. But if we’re lucky we’ll get rain storms through late February and March so we are hoping that at least the tanks will refill and with the new ones we should manage to get through this summer.
Did you manage to save anything from your house in Battersea with the last great London flood? I’ll be going into town next week with the new neighbours. They are looking to buy a cart for the horse and they need help with the paperwork. I’ll pop this into telegraph station then. I do miss the internet, but with these clouds all the local power plants are struggling. Maybe by late spring we’ll be back on line and we can have a call. In the meantime, hope you are managing in you new flat in the Chiltern Hills.
A letter to friends about my life in SW France January 2050 (if the world does nothing)
The orange and lemon trees down in the field are doing well, full of blossom and fruit at the same time.
Think you should get out and enjoy it while you can.
Thank you for your latest letter which I picked up from the telegraph office last week. The young man who runs the office is experimenting with a new bamboo paper using a mechanical masher and no harsh chemicals. It feels coarse and brittle but the typing is readable. Who would have thought that the great bamboo forests along the Lateral Canal would prove so useful. While waiting in the queue for your letter I got talking to a woman whose family is living in Antarctica. She said they left Australia after the third Great Burning twenty years ago. They were left with nothing, but by then the Antarctic government was setting up bursaries for families willing to come out and farm. She finds it hard knowing she will never see her grandchildren.
The couple who have been helping us with the underground water tank tell us they plan to walk right through northern Europe and if possible get a sailing boat to Greenland. Like Antarctica, the Greenland government are happy to take young, fit families who will start farming. It reminds me of France after the second world war when the French government welcomed in the Italians to repopulate this region.
I hadn’t realised that you flat in the Chiltern Hills was just a rental. I like the sound of your new sustainable, underground property – it should be cool in summer – the water recycling and solar panels sound very efficient. Just a shame that this type of building is only happening now. It would have been good if we’d started this forty years ago. Well better late than never! I’ll write again soon.
Isn’ t fiction wonderful - l have promised myself that l would stop reading depressing dystopian texts but found yours quite amusing.
I’m sure that most of the survivors in my part of the world will be living in underground and undersea shelters on the outskirts of Putinville The disease that took a billion lives in 2025 will be shown to have it’s origins in a Chinese biological weapons research facility and was air born into the wider atmosphere when the WHO ignored the early warning signs in January 2020.
As is well known and evidenced in these threads, I’m a glutton for dystopia.
I intend to survive a series of apocalypses, fortified by a cocktail of homoeopathic remedies and prophylactics supplied by fellow necromancist and spirit guide @Helen6, and using my own shape-shifting know-how honed through generations of social media battles.
A SF (Survive the Future) network is already taking shape, and not a few well-known iconic names are already on my vetting list. TBA.
No need to ask, I have already signed a contract with You Know Who, but She often asks me to recommend suitable others. PM me for details.
PS I’m also a client of @Fabien Pélissier, insurance consultant extraordinaire, and although I don’t know if he can broker for apocalypse cover, IMO he should be your first port of call for advice if you need it.
Dear Friends in the Chiltern Hills, let me tell you more about our day-to-day lives in France profonde.
The young teacher from the village came by yesterday morning with her third year class. They were clustered in the lounge, our English books spread all over the floor. We are one of the few homes in the area that still has an extensive collection of hardbacks and paperbacks. Most people went over to kindle on their tablets and phones many years ago. Now, with little or no connection to the internet for weeks at a time, they have limited access to reading material, to learning, to information, to enjoyment. Sadly, we cannot let our books leave our house. We would never see them again. So once a week she brings her class to us. Their learning is patchy based as it is on our eclectic mix of books collected over a lifetime. And based on a foreign language. But the teacher and I do the best we can to translate and our books are getting well-used and much annotated in French. They especially love the great tomes on gardening and the glossy recipe books for the photos and the colours. Guide books are poured over – Bordeaux, Venice, Barcelona – places they are unlikely to see except on a page. They learn more about English and American history and economics than French and even a little bit of science, though no-one has managed to get to the end of A Brief History of Time.
They sprawl on our scruffy carpets, bare-legged, even though it’s January. They are lithe, brown and healthy. More so than their parents and grand parents. They walk up from the village – a couple of miles away – and they will walk back. They work alongside their parents in the fields and are no longer static prisoners of the internet and social media. All the big supermarkets have gone from the area. The distribution is too costly. So there are no manufactured biscuits or cakes or desserts or sodas or prepared meals. They eat what is prepared at home from the local potager and the weekly market and they are all the better for it. It is the previous generations who have been coping with cancer, heart disease, obesity and diabetes and some of the older children are already orphans.
We are lucky to be here. In this part of rural France, it is still possible to be self-sufficient and (for most of the year) to eat well.
We bought our house here with one and a half hectares so that our children could come and live with us if the world didn’t recover from the financial crash.
Now, only one can come, she has had to take out German citizenship due to Brexit and the reason may very well have changed.
[quote=“Dan_Wood, post:5, topic:28589, full:true”]
Isn’ t fiction wonderful [/quote]
I’m not sure it’s fiction Dan - doesn’t feel like it
A vacvan arrived in the village this morning and I walk down, as much for the gossip as the vaccinations and check-up. They e-travel all over France so they bring news. There have been more riots in Paris and other major cities around the world. Google Money collapsed a month ago and people are struggling to recover their online credits. Round here, so much of our life is now based on exchange and barter that the world of online finance feels very remote.
Apparently scientists are concerned that population decline has halted and may be on the increase again as the millions of farming families living in places like Siberia, Greenland and Antarctica are having more children. Partly it’s due to a sense of security, but also because larger families are useful labour when there is no power. The prospect of further population growth is putting pressure on the development of commercially viable quantum entanglement machines for space emigration. As usual, Toulouse is in the vanguard of developments – though Airbus’s all-consuming need for power for the machines is angering the local community who are left in darkness.
We are fortunate here that there is little local industry and so power is shared more equitably. The 3-D printer in the village lets us know when she is scheduling a large project and so we switch our solar panels into the grid for her. Sadly, at the moment there is not much anyone can give her with the heavy cloud cover. So she returns to her first love – wood carving.
Reads an awful lot like fiction - There is a particular genre in both film and literature currently that paints this disturbing dystopian picture - We travel a great deal in and around South West France and since first coming here in 1970, save for the obvious climatic change, l see no evidence to support your pessimistic crystal ball gazing. In fact, one of the main reasons l live in this part of the world is that life moves at a wonderfully slow and agreeable pace.
Having said that your writing style and ability to paint images with your words is excellent - perhaps you might consider submitting it for publication - if you haven’t already done so.
Thank you for the compliment. [quote=“Dan_Wood, post:11, topic:28589, full:true”]
In fact, one of the main reasons l live in this part of the world is that life moves at a wonderfully slow and agreeable pace.[/quote]
I agree Dan, which is one of the reasons I believe life will continue here relatively unscathed. I’m not sure I’m being that distopian. Nothing I write here is anything other than we have already begun to see. My heading does say “if the world does nothing”. If you have heard David Attenborough’s latest comments he’s saying that there is a limit to what effect the rest of the world can have if the Chinese don’t come on board. We also need the US and India to commit. Here’s hoping. And sooner rather than later.
The last part of Sue’s post highlights just how insignificant our individual efforts really are in the grand scheme of things. I’m willing to fly less, eat very little meat and recycle like crazy but what’s the effing point! It’s all very well XR kicking-off every few weeks but they need to it in those countries that are the biggest polluters.
Mmmm… I understand you … and feel like that my self from time to time. But doing nothing is not on my Agenda, so I do what I can as and when
That’s my concern Tim about Attenborough’s latest comments - there is a danger that people will feel it’s not worth making an effort. Better though to walk the talk and not wait for someone else to “solve it”
Stella, I agree.
To continue …
An airship gently hums overhead, invisible to those of us below the low cloud and high enough to be in sunlight and charging its panels. Billionaires coming down from Paris to St Jean de Luz. The resort still appeals, but now they come in the cooler months – even its sheltered microclimate cannot cope with the intense heat of July and August. The old fashioned hotels have reinvented themselves for the privileged few. Luxury spas with health cures from all over the world. The latest treatments from Mongolia, Costa Rica and the Outer Hebrides.
Specialists offer magic elixirs, seawater baths and the promise of eternal youth. Which reminds me, the vacvan nurse told me yesterday that people on the remoter islands of Japan have been reported as now living to 150. The blue zones continue to exert their influence - in marked contrast to much of the developed western world where life expectancy has been falling steadily for the last three decades.
Having passed my hundredth birthday, I think we live in a tiny blue zone in our valley.
I wish I could take the same ‘Second Eden’ view of the issue. The future doesn’t look like a 21st century take on Edith Blyton’s ‘Famous Five’ to me, though it has a ghastly resonance with it in some versions.m
It takes no account of mass migration from the tropics and subtropical regions of the western hemisphere, hundreds of thousands if not billions of toughened and resourceful people who will be forced to leave the uninhabitable parts, to take refuge in the North. Not to mention millions of fugitives from the cities where water has run dry, and there is no food.
They will fight relentlessly for access to resources of cultivable land, water and shelter, and will not be easily repelled by a few skimpy civilian militias.
Force of numbers and desperation will prevail.There will be no armies to protect anyone. It will be sauve qui peut…the old and defenceless will be eliminated. At least that’s my take on it.
If they are not drowned first.
They won’t be coming in canoes, Jane. I think, like many in the industrialised North, you may seriously underestimate the ingenuity, resilience and resourcefulness of the people of Africa.
Peter, I think you have a much too gloomy view. There’s so much that is possible - in fact is already happening. Just a few ideas:
animal protein will sharply decline. high rise buildings in cities will become “green” providing cooling shelter and food
people living in the hotter parts of the world will move underground
people living on land that is liable to flood will move to manmade floating islands
deserts will “green” with intelligent planting of the right kind of vegetation
we will get MUCH better at husbanding, recycling and catching water
already there are whole new industries that no-one could have imagined 20-30 years ago - eg divers who are reseeding coral reefs.
Huge tracts of the planet that at the moment are pretty inhospitable will become available - Antarctica, Serbia, Greenland, all of the tundra,
The impossible is always just that - until it is done.