French Vet

A French vet,

an Oxfordshire Farmer who moved here in the seventies

 and me

 a little mockney trying to interpret.

It is the middle of a Foot and Mouth epidemic and we are high on the hill in deep rural Wales. The vet wants to know which fields belong to which farmer and which farmer belongs to which field.



 “No, not that Williams but that Williams”



 “No, not that Davies but that Davies”




The young French vet is beginning to look bewildered. One of us is talking broad Oxford, one is talking mockney and the vet is speaking bad English with a strong French accent. The Oxfordshire farmer and the little mockney are enjoying themselves. The French vet looks like he is about to have a nervous breakdown. His clipboard is shaking.

Our accents become exaggerated,

we can’t help it,

 it just has to be done.

Welsh place names that once sounded vaguely like they are meant to now sound like villages in the Cotswolds or a pub on the Mile end Road. We up the stakes by giving him too much information.

“That Williams is related to that Williams”.

“But not that one”


 “They might be second cousins”.

Then we deliver the coup de grace.

“That Williams rents that land from that Willliams who rents the farm from that Williams whose farm is actually owned by his mother Mrs Williams who lives on another farm further up the road”

 His face crumples.

We make him wash his Wellingtons in disinfectant before he leaves

to take another valium

before visiting Mrs Williams

at The Old Bull And Bush

in Stow-On-The-Wold.


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