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Firework incident

 
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KathyG



Joined: 28 Jan 2006
Posts: 3268
Location: Le Faou, Brittany

PostPosted: Fri Feb 16, 2007 5:22 pm    Post subject: Firework incident Reply with quote

Hi everyone,

I have recently heard from the local farmer who lives across the road from our house in Brittany. Apparently the people that we had staying there at New Year let off the most horrendous fireworks, he thinks they must have been Chinese firecrackers and said it was like being back in the blitz. They scared the life out of his herd of cows and terrified, they charged the hedge and escaped into the open countryside. He had guests for dinner and all of them had to leave the table and try to round up all the cows, the absolutely worst thing about this is that as a result two of the cows lost their calves!!

Now I don't quite know what to do about this. Obviously I will have to get in touch with said 'guests' and find out what happened. The farmer did call round to see them but he speaks no English and they don't know any French but they haven't mentioned anything to me at all.

And the poor farmer, I'll have to recompense him somehow, anyone know the worth of a calf? My cleaning lady (in the UK) says she thinks it's about £300 per calf!!! I'm sure he wouldn't be expecting me to pay that but I really will have to make it up to him somehow.

What should I do, any ideas? Just a bit shocked Shocked at the moment!

Kathy
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Mountain Goat



Joined: 19 Apr 2006
Posts: 6095
Location: Leysin, Alpes Vaudoises, Switzerland

PostPosted: Fri Feb 16, 2007 5:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kathy, hi

As a start I would investigate every possible insurance policy which may be relevant, including your guests' travel insurance 3rd party cover - not sure of the jargon involved, and your own. It's a bit late to make reports to police etc. but insurance companies do like to see the paperwork.

I suppose a good lesson for all of us to include/forbid etc. in our T&Cs any firework/noise activities? Or at least advise caution?

Good luck...

MG
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KathyG



Joined: 28 Jan 2006
Posts: 3268
Location: Le Faou, Brittany

PostPosted: Fri Feb 16, 2007 6:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks MG,

Hadn't thought about Insurance! Will definitely have a look at it and yes I have banned fireworks completely in any shape or form!

Kathy
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Lesblancs



Joined: 01 Feb 2006
Posts: 868
Location: Morbihan, Bretagne

PostPosted: Fri Feb 16, 2007 7:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kathy,

Are you sure that the farmer is not trying it on?

The only reason I ask is that every farmer round here seems to put the cows away about an hour before dusk in winter. On that basis, the cows should have been safely tucked away in their cowshed, not out in a field.

My perceptions are merely by observation, not experience - but thought it was worth a mention.

Robert
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CostaBlanca



Joined: 09 Jan 2006
Posts: 253
Location: Costa Blanca

PostPosted: Fri Feb 16, 2007 9:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kathy,
I would check with other farmers in your area whether they left their their cows outside over the New Year. Maybe it is very mild in your area but Robert could be correct. You might need to investigate further.

Best of luck.

Maria
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Maria
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gh



Joined: 01 Dec 2005
Posts: 740
Location: Poitou Charente/Moraira/UK

PostPosted: Fri Feb 16, 2007 10:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Kathyg, My first thought was, he is having a laugh. We live in farmland in SW Scotland, our farmer neighbours say; that cows to calf this early, fright or no fright, is usually done to a genetic/natural fault. His cows are all in a byre together and calm until almost spring arrives.

Brittany in Dec/Jan would; I suspect be similar.
We are further south in Deux Sevre and our close neighbours always complains about the cost of feed for his cattle inside for the winter.

Totally understand the predicament you find yourself in, however, dont be fooled into compensation. Daughter #2 is a vet and the early loss of a calf, sad as it is, can be down to many many factors, other than fright. Naturally cows are impregnated in Sept/Oct for 8 mths approx.

Helen
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la vache!



Joined: 16 Feb 2005
Posts: 11073

PostPosted: Sat Feb 17, 2007 6:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm sorry to say that a lot of the more uncaring farmers leave their cows out all year round here, up to their knees in freezing mud with no grass at all left in the field. I agree it is quite early for calving. It isn't illegal to let off fireworks, however, so I'm not sure where you stand on this - you obviously don't want bad feeling between you and the farmer as he could easily make your life a misery if a neighbourly dispute occurs!
I agree, speak to the insurance people and also the Mairie.

It works both ways, I've had a couple of occasions where some of the local farmers cows had ended up grazing on my lawn and I know for a fact that my neighbour farmer in particular has no third party insurance for any damage they cause to my property. Luckily the incidents have always been in summer when very little damage has been caused.
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Jimbo



Joined: 19 Oct 2006
Posts: 3585
Location: Charente Maritime

PostPosted: Sat Feb 17, 2007 8:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Kathy

It's possible that your farmer might be gilding the lily but something obviously happened and disputes with neighbours are the stuff of nightmares. I think you should talk to the farmer face to face, apologise profusely and try to work out what level of compensation is involved.

If the insurance doesn't cover it, then I'd get on the case with the guests and demand they pay the compensation. The fact they didn't mention the incident gives you the measure of them and I wouldn't have any hesitation in resorting to legal measures if necessary. Anybody letting off fireworks next to a field of cows is completely irresponsible (or bonkers) and deserves no sympathy.

Jim
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KathyG



Joined: 28 Jan 2006
Posts: 3268
Location: Le Faou, Brittany

PostPosted: Sat Feb 17, 2007 11:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you all of you for your comments, hmm, yes maybe the farmer is laying it on a bit thick! I'm going over there next weekend so I'll try and find out exactly what happened, the problem is his French is so heavily accented I can generally only understand every other word at the best of times so can't say I'm looking forward to this conversation.

I must, must, must improve my French!

I don't think he's actually looking for compensation as he didn't approach us, we rang him (well my mother did actually, who's Belgian and completely fluent) about hiring his digger driver and he dropped it in the conversation. Wish I could take my mother over with us this time!

Thank you again, it's so good to get some balanced views Very Happy

Kathy
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Jimbo



Joined: 19 Oct 2006
Posts: 3585
Location: Charente Maritime

PostPosted: Sat Feb 17, 2007 5:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

kathyg wrote:
Quote:
I must, must, must improve my French!

Kathy, if you're not sure that your French is up to what might be a sticky conversation, I'd be tempted to get your mother to call the farmer before to go to France and find out what the problem is now. Does he want an opportunity to let off steam? Has he suffered material damage for which he wants compensating? Or does he just want an apology?

When you get to France, I would say: 'You spoke to my mother recently and I now fully understand the problem etc. etc. Please accept my heartfelt apologies etc etc.' He'd have to be a bit of a brute if he didn't feel honoured and flattered that you made such an effort to go and see him and personally resolve the problem.

I'd be tempted to go further if he's suffered actual material loss. If you think he's genuine and his claim isn't outrageous, I'd offer him a cheque there and then. Chasing the insurance or the guests could be a long procedure and his resentment might grow - that will be your job to recompense yourself. Faced with your generosity, I suspect he'll say Non, Madame and open a bottle of wine and you'll be friends for life.

And you'll get a French lesson for free.

Jim
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