Monalisa, Charlotte, Bea and Rosabelle arrived to a tumultuous welcome in La Chataigneraie today. It was not the same garish fanfare that the arrival of the less interesting Beaujolais Nouveau would have warranted. To be honest the fanfare was no more than a paper notice taped the door of our local CAVAC ( Cooperative Agricole Vendéene d’Aprovisionnement). Inside a group of venerable local yeoman were eyeing up the girls with no little interest. A “responsable” was pimping, recommending young Bintje for purée and sweet firm fleshed Charlotte for more steamy action. Even the unfortunately named Ratte and Vitellote were getting a share of the action. When we first arrived to live in France these girls made a fool of me, unwitting city dweller that I was. The trays of seed potatoes, so artfully arranged in rows, were irresistible. I proudly took some home and enjoyed them for dinner that evening. It was only the troubled face of our neighbour, a retired farmer with an extensive potager, who mentioned that the extra enzymes in the seed potatoes might help my receding hair, but that the insecticide might not. I blame that sweet potato, Irma la Douce.