Friday, 29 April 2011

Breizh and Brets

From: http://fr.topic-topos.com/
Just how does owning a motorhome tie in with trying to be green?  Well, I'm well and truly caught by the short and curlies but therein lies the beauty of living in the grey realm between black and white and accepting that there are rarely absolutes.  It's true that my preferred mode of holiday transport has the potential to be an right old gas guzzler but by limiting the amount of driving, the Lovelygrey family go a little way to reducing the environmental impact of our stays.   We got away with buying just a tank and a half of diesel on our eleven day trip just a tad more that I'd normally be using for commuting and work travel.  The main way that we do this is by parking up, staying put once at a spot for a day or two and then using the bikes or Shank's pony to explore the surrounding area.  Here's the beautiful ruined Chapelle de Lanvoy that Louis and I came across on one of our cycling trips out of Le Faou in Finistere.

In the adjacent playground Louis met a Welsh girl who was on holiday at the home of her English grandparents who'd retired to the area.  As, retirement in France is not outside the realm of possibility I got onto the subject of the variation in house prices in the region.  The gentleman that I spoke to thought that this was largely due to the reluctance of the French to travel long distances to work.  He thought that about 20km was the absolute limit so there is a premium on properties near the large connurbations such as Brest and Concarneau but this rapidly diminishes further afield. I have to say that, if this is true, I'm 100% in support of my French brethren.

What occurs to me though is that even smallish towns seem to have large industrial areas and I wondered if there is a better manufacturing base in the country than in the UK that secures work for the local population reducing reliance on exports.  And naturally,  to help me mull over this my thoughts turned to drinks and crisps.

Now in Devon, we have excellent 'artisan' brands of beverages and nibbles. Burts produce fine crisps with the name of the fryer on each individual pack, there's a host of micro-breweries and excellent soft drinks producers such as Luscombes whose fine fiery ginger beer is a favourite tipple if I'm out and driving.  But all of these items command top notch prices and in Brittany production seems to be on a larger scale allowing lower cost local brands to  compete nearly on a par with  international brands.    Big bottles of Breizh Cola sit alongside Pepsi and Coke in the supermarkets and  cost just a few cents more.  Bret's crisps which are not promoted as a luxury brand are easily better than Walkers (or Lays for my American readership!).  In these times when there seems to be a general longing to rebuild community, surely encouragement of medium sized enterprises where a locality, rather than large corporate investors, benefit from the production of medium sized businesses is something to be encouraged.

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