I've had to do a quick ( as in two days there) trip to Romania, as my incredibly valuable signature is required on a EU document to enable me to get my hands on Eur150,000 of EU cash.
Some months ago, the Gnome ( you can guess why he's called that) came across some Corncrakes on our land.
Now Corncrakes are on the red list and we should all be doing our utmost to keep them with us. Naturally, we do rather more when our palms are crossed with silver.
So the EU is providing me with money to expand the area where the Corncrakes are and to create a sort of "corridor" for them to flit to and fro between.
We can only use the land for hay thereafter, but as this will add up to about Eur 100 per hectare, and we get the EU subsidy of a further Eur 67 per ha, this will represent quite a nice return on our net costs per ha of about Eur250 after the EU grant. The Romanian government is supposed to be lobbing in a few quid as well, because they should attract eco-tourists.
It's a long term project, but what it does do is underpin and secure our business in Romania for the long term.
The Mayor has been very helpful in leasing us some extra land to cover the loss of agricultural land this will entail.
I did have to promise him that he could be the first to see them... once we find them again....