Saturday, April 17, 2010

A badge of honour

Being in Romania makes me reflect on what the EU actually does.

Apart from giving farmers like me subvention payments, most of the time it's objects are Statist and regulatory.

For instance, last year when we did the contracts for renting the land to various people, we simply put all the bits one individual was renting onto one piece of paper and had it notarised. The Romanians ( who make French and Italian bureaucrats look like amateurs) have simply layered EU regulations on top of their own. Somewhere along the line, this has translated into having to do one contract for each piece of land.

So yesterday we took the notary with us to Nemsa and Alma Vii, clutching ream upon ream of paper, and as each renter came up he signed, I signed and stamped, in three copies.

128 times.

Times 3.

I was completely punchdrunk by the time we finished.

The only ray of light on the horizon is that this is the first year this has had to be done, and everyone is up in arms about it, so there is likely to be a modification for next year.

Last year we got goats and sheep as rent, but as we now own most of the goats in the area ( and having the sheep simply feeds the teethy wolves and the locals), we will receive a share in the produce in the autumn, or in some cases days work. This last is quite useful as it saves having to pick and choose who we want to work for us on the day.

Yesterday was the Mayor's birthday, so of course we had to go and wish him many happy returns. He is now 58, and although he drinks like a fish and eats all the wrong things, he looks remarkably young. I put it down to his not smoking at all and being effectively stress free. Everyone does everything for him.

Of course, it could just be the genes.

His father died last month.

He lost a leg in the war and refused ever to wear a prosthetic, which stood outside his front door for all to see. He hirpled about on his crutches until the day before he passed away.

He was married twice( his first wife died during WW2) and Eugen is the progeny of his second marriage post-war.

He was 92 when he died, a man who worked the fields well into his 70s, and a previous mayor in the Communist era.

So I expect at least another 25 or 30 years out of Eugen.