A Taste of Garlic

Awful News….

general  Awful News....   because we all love reading blogs about life in FranceIt’s not often that I roused from the comfort of my armchair, where I spend my days in front of the fire, idly dreaming of Pigs Trotter Sandwiches and other local delicacies but…

Yesterday Little Me from Pint Sized Rants told me about some really awful news that I’ve been thinking about ever since.

You see, there’s this blogger called GentleOtter

Now, GentleOtter has been living on a remote tenant farm in Scotland for the last 120 years.

Not her personally, you understand – I’m not sure how many years she’s been living there but….

Her husband’s family have been the tenant farmers there for the last 120 years.

In that time they’ve never once missed a rent payment!

Not once! In good years and bad!

They have maintained the house during all that time but…

“The farmhouse roof has crumbled ‘through fair wear and tear’. It has covered and protected the house since circa 1800, before that it was thatched. I think it is safe to say that the roof has lasted well.”

Having asked that the roof be repaired, to no avail, two days ago, a chap from the council came up to look and informed GentleOtter that a demolition order be served. There is nothing she can do as it is the landowner’s responsibility!

Now, you may want to read more about GentleOtter’s plight…

I’d just suggest that you get a box of hankies ready first!

general  Awful News....   because we all love reading blogs about life in FranceGentleOtter blogs at The farm at the back of beyond 2011 and she has written about her plight on this post… Awful News

Now, I don’t know what, if anything, we can do about this?

GentelOtter doesn’t even live in France?


She does live the sort of simple life that many of us who have moved to France aspire to?

And surely what is happening to her and her family isn’t right?

We may not be able to do anything physical to help her but…

Perhaps a sign of support might make her feel less alone?

general  Awful News....   because we all love reading blogs about life in FranceIt’s a terrible thing when bad things happen to good people but…

When good people hear about such bad things…

They have a choice that they have to make.

To ignore the bad news on the grounds that… “That could never happen to me” or…

To reach out a hand of friendship and support…

Even if, in the long run, that won’t change a thing!

Because I know from my own experience that…

A hand of friendship and support changes everything!

general  Awful News....   because we all love reading blogs about life in FranceSo, if you’ve got a minute to spare today, please would you pop over to The farm at the back of beyond 2011 and read about her Awful News

And perhaps leave a comment to say that you are thinking of GentleOtter and her family in these difficult days?

You may even want to say something on Facebook (if you use that infernal device?)

Or perhaps mention what’s happening on your own blog?

What can it hurt?

And I imagine that if you do that, tonight GentleOtter might sleep slightly better knowing that she’s not on her own?

GentleOtter – I’m not sure what I can do to help but…

I’m thinking of you (and sending you positive thoughts) anyway.

All the best

general  Awful News....   because we all love reading blogs about life in France


  • By MmeLindor, September 1, 2011 @ 12:41 pm

    Thank you so much for helping us raise awareness of GentleOtter’s plight. Sadly, GentleOtter is not alone, there are many other tenant farmers across Scotland living in similar conditions, afraid to voice their concern and anger.

    It takes just one brave soul to stand up and say “It is enough, we shall not be cowed, we shall speak up”.

    And many many more to spread the word.

  • By Sarah Hague, September 1, 2011 @ 5:00 pm

    I have written to Alex Salmond, and copied my email onto my blog. Let’s hope lots more people write to him too so this terrible situation is changed.

  • By GentleOtter, September 1, 2011 @ 5:21 pm

    Thank you so much for offering support to our family but also for supporting the tenant farmers all over Britain.

    It is very reassuring to know that you share our sentiments and that you see this blatant injustice at the very core of our society.


  • By Keith Eckstein, September 1, 2011 @ 5:51 pm


    I find it hard to believe that, in this day and age, such a thing could happen?

    Then again, perhaps it’s living over here in France that makes me feel that way?

    If there’s anything I can do to help, just let me know – my Grandfather was a tenant farmer in Cornwall all his life – something like this would have killed him!

    I’ve also written to Alex Salmond (although I used less words than Sarah and those that I did use weren’t so nice!) – I wonder if Mr Salmond (are your MPs Right Honorables or just Right Tossers?) is coming up for re-election any time soon?

    I think that we will all be watching, with baited breath, the outcome of the next few days and weeks.

    Best of luck and don’t feel alone!

    All the best


  • By Keith Eckstein, September 1, 2011 @ 5:52 pm


    Good for you – lets hope that many, many others follow your example.

    All the best


  • By fly in the web, September 1, 2011 @ 6:40 pm

    Thank you for giving the information on this disgraceful business.
    I’ve written to the First Minister too.
    I wish there was something practical that i could do apart from that.
    If you discover the identity of the landlord…let us all know…

  • By Keith Eckstein, September 1, 2011 @ 6:50 pm

    Hello Fly

    I love your post about it.

    It’s horrible feeling so helpless, isn’t it?

    But then, possible not quite as horrible as it must be for GentleOtter and her family?

    All the best


  • By Anji, September 1, 2011 @ 7:21 pm

    Done. my parents had something similar happen to them…

  • By Little Me, September 1, 2011 @ 8:03 pm

    Thank you so much for writing this up. If enough people shout, and someone who knows someone who knows someone gets wind of it, we may be able to raise enough interest in Gentle Otter’s plight to get something done for her and for the many others in her sort of situation.

  • By Keith Eckstein, September 1, 2011 @ 8:14 pm


    I never knew!

    Surely this sort of thing shouldn’t happen these days?

    Bloody hell, it’s Braveheart all over again!

    I could almost understand if people were being evicted in order to build a shopping complex; sad as that would certainly be, you could always think about the jobs that it would create.

    But, for someone to be evicted purely because their landlord isn’t going to pay for vital repairs….

    Well, I hope what goes around, comes around!

    All the best


  • By Keith Eckstein, September 1, 2011 @ 8:18 pm

    Little Me

    I certainly don’t mix in the circles of influential people these days but…

    Surely, among all of the people who read Garlic, someone might know a young Gung Ho journalist wanting to make a name for themselves?

    Come to think of it, I interviewed Charles Bremner (The Times man in Paris) last year – I wonder if he might know someone?

    There may be no good thing that we can do to help GentleOtter but, it’s certainly a bad thing to know that something is intrinsically wrong but then to walk away from it saying… “Not my problem!”

    All the best


  • By peter Davidson, September 1, 2011 @ 11:48 pm

    Yup, well done for bringing this to the attention of more people, I’ll certainly add my two cents worth on my lil blog to help. When do we march?

  • By peter Davidson, September 1, 2011 @ 11:50 pm

    Oh, and btw, if people want to know and express their views directly, the Landlord/owner of the property can be found using the government Land Registry website if you know the post code and address of the property.

Other Links to this Post

  1. The Right To Buy – Tenant Farming in Scotland | saltandcaramel.com — September 2, 2011 @ 12:46 pm

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