If there are no Incas available, string up an onion……


I’m beginning to suspect that La Moussiere may have been a far flung outpost of the Inca empire. Although the name Atahualpa is not as common in the neighbourhood as I would have expected, there is a common thread that runs through the two civilisations and that thread is blue. Recent research on my part confirms that the Inca empire was held together by string and it cannot be by coincidence alone that the La Moussière civilisation is bound together by a striking blue version of that very same material. It is also evident that generosity was not a defining quality of the colonising Incas. When they tired of snail suppers and the lack of mains drainage they took their leave of the Vendée and took their golden treasures with them, spitefully leaving only their highly detailed account books for the abandoned, and now penniless, locals to bitterly pore over and, in consequence, with which they now hang their onions or tightly truss hay bales whilst thinking of Inca throats. Strangely enough, the conquistadores strangled Atahualpa with string, whether blue or otherwise remains veiled in the mists of time, even though his subjects had duly paid up the demanded ransom of 264 tonnes of gold. We in La Moussière are still patiently waiting, whilst idly fiddling with our balls…of string… for the arrival of a Brinks Mat van laden with our compensation.


About Food,Photography & France

Photographer and film maker living in France. After a long career in London, my wife and I have settled in the Vendee, where we run residential digital photography courses with a strong gastronomic flavour.
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49 Responses to If there are no Incas available, string up an onion……

  1. Mad Dog says:

    So is that the same piece of string (eruv), tied around Golders Green to allow people to carry things on the Sabbath?

    • I have to research this…I’ve only heard of this string business in Golders Green…tell me more MD…maybe the Jews are Incas as well as us in La Moussiere…few people realise how far their empire stretched:)

      • Mad Dog says:

        I believe it’s Orthodox Jewish practice everywhere. I’ve done my research and both cultures go back to the time before the great flood – perhaps Noah knew things he didn’t let on about… 😉

      • Do you mean Russell Crowe is keeping us in the dark about Jewish string?

      • Mad Dog says:

        He’s keeping us in the dark about a lot of strings 😉

      • Amanda says:

        I know a thing or two about the eruv, (I’m surprised you knew MD) but I didn’t know about the Incas being held together by string. Last year I hiked one of the Inca trails in the Andes and camped out for 4 days in high altitude. It was magical. The best book on Incan history by far is “The Last Days of the Incas” by Kim MacQuarrie. One of the best books I’ve ever read really. Sometimes I still dream that I”m back there. Gorgeous photos, by the way. It makes me want to be where you are.

      • Mad Dog says:

        Ha ha – you have to excuse our levity.
        I know about the eruv around Golders Green in North London because I have some non Orthodox Jewish friends in the area. They find the idea of a piece of string to be a bit tenuous… but each to his or her own beliefs 🙂

      • Amanda says:

        No worries at all. I thought your reference was funny! Half of your location and history references are over my head, but I know my Incas, I know my Jews and I certainly know my onions (as you’ve seen from my hometown posts). The eruv is an interesting concept. So is the whole history of pillaging for gold. So are onions 🙂

      • Mad Dog says:

        There’s definitely gold in those onions 😉

      • I knew more of Inca than eruv, although with the amount of string here I might well be in North London:)

  2. cecilia says:

    I have long been mysitifed as to how an entire civilisation and their knowledge could so completely disapear that it took centuries for that knowledge (i.e. water pipes) to be RE discovered, UNTIL I started farming and going through old barns full of completely mystifying farm equipment. NO-ONE knows what these hunks of turning metal are for. I said to a well digger the other day who was bemoaning the fact that there were no plans anywhere of what pipes, etc were under the ground near these old houses and barns. Where are the plans? I said. Where do we find out. He stuck his spade back into the earth and tapped his head. They kept the plans in their heads, he said and now they are all In the graveyard, he said. So maybe the Inca’s just died and then after two generations no-one could knew anything .. anymore.. I love onions.. c

  3. Not sure what was more entertaining – the post or the dialogue that followed!

  4. platedujour says:

    I love these onions. You made my, day thank you 🙂

  5. Eha says:

    And. yours truly – you have taken me elsewhere and way back – quite by accident was at the premiere of Christopher Plummer playing Atallhualpa in ‘The Royal Hunt of the Sun’ on Broadway in the mid 1960s . . . I must have seen thousands of plays in my lifetime: nothing compares to that night or Chris Plummer’s fingernails loudly scratching, scratching, scratching . . . always loved theatre: nothing in my lifetime has ever matched . . .,

    • When I was at art school in Portsmouth, during the early 60’s, I did a holiday job as a stage hand at Chichester Festival Theatre where, among other productions, I worked on the 1964 premiere of Peter Shaffer’s “Royal Hunt of the Sun” with Robert Stephens. Oddly enough, the few summers that I worked at Chichester put me off theatre for life….:)

      • Eha says:

        OMG Roger, methinks it would be absolutely fabulous to have a long, long lunch with lots bottles of wine with you and have such fun comparing!! I never had the good fortune to see anything the famed Chichester crowd produced: do regret!! But this was good, so v good . . ., have loved the play and had the ‘hots’ for Chris Plummer since . . . well, we are both still alive and kickin’ !!!! Sex to me equals intelligence . . . . and for me – take me to serious theatre and I am fully contented . . .

      • Always good to hear from you, Eha, and I look forward to lunch:)

  6. Sadly, I will only be visiting Aztec sites next week. Not Inca. I could inquire around for you otherwise.

  7. EllaDee says:

    I read the post and the comments, both very entertaining but my thoughts were overtaken by the vision of the burnished, precious metal onions… the mythical lost Inca Gold? in the form of soup, gravy, caramelised atop -well- anything… sigh.

  8. MELewis says:

    Hey there Roger! I just nominated you for a Very Inspiring Blogger Award. Feel free to accept or ignore! 🙂

  9. The photographs – I find myself longing for onions like that! The story had me in stitches; not literal although if they were I’d have requested blue thread!

  10. Those are some rich, warm onion bundles. I’d take them in the stead of any gold!

  11. cheergerm says:

    We don’t see onions (nor Incans or Aztecs, much to my history obsessed ten year old lads chagrin) like that here, not even at our farmers market. Thanks for the follow as well. 😁

  12. Can’t compete with all this interesting conversations……but I love moody golden light in your images, definitely onions deserve that.

  13. Balls of string. I didn’t see that coming… 🙂

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