This is the end of civilisation as I know it. For dverse.



He stands the fat man in khaki with his rifle

and regulation brown and white dog Turbo

at the Leclerc roundabout before the store

that sells tractors and chicken food waiting

for the wild boar to come out of the car park

and the family with four kids to get in the car

and out of range but they’re having problems

getting the PVC door into the back of the car

and father is possibly deliberating which of

the kids will have to walk behind though none

of them are listening as they’ve chasing a stray

cat with one eye and rounding them up is

proving difficult meanwhile the boar being a wily

sort of beast has made a run for it and is galloping

towards the river which is when Turbo ends up

under a passing lorry on its way to Poland

(they all cut through the town to avoid paying

the tolls on the motorway) and that’s the end

of hunting for today but at least the PVC door

is now loaded he notes with grim irony even if

he doesn’t see how he’s going to get Turbo

off the road but what’s the point anyway?

Published by

Jane Dougherty

I used to do lots of things I didn't much enjoy. Now I am officially a writer. It's what I always wanted to be.

46 thoughts on “Shopping”

  1. Your poem has left me breathless, Jane, from reading aloud and giggling hysterically! I was drawn to the wild boar – was it hiding in the car park, from Turbo and his rifle? And why is the family with four kids trying to get a PVC door into their car? At least Turbo got his come-uppance!

    1. This, Kim, is an everyday story from this neck of the woods. Wild boar seem to have a penchant for getting into DIY stores and when challenged make for the river. Half the hunting dogs round here are called Turbo and the hunters pop their guns off wherever. White PVC doors with a little semi-circular fanlight are a crime against good taste and they are everywhere. It’s real but it’s awful, to my mind anyway.

      1. We get that too. They shoot everything, but there’s no boundary between ‘rural’ and ‘urban’ here so the animals wander round residential streets and men with big guns follow them. There’s no protection of anything worth protecting. And don’t get me on those doors!

      2. You’re having really good experiences, Jane! 🙂
        Reminiscent of American films of the 1960s. Wait on, the will rename their dogs to “SUV”, after they are not longer allowed using them for their hunting. -) Michael

  2. Everyone seems crazy: the hunter (for being near the family with a gun), the family (for caring more for the PVC than the hunter with a gun, maybe the lorry driver for trying to evade tolls. The only one who has any sense is the wild creature.

    1. Everyone is crazy. That’s why I feel so despairing. We have men with guns running through people’s gardens after deer and boar, boar trying to get into big stores (don’t ask me why) and awful architectural monstrosities blotting the landscape. It’s all perfectly legal, all in a normal day.

    1. Wild boar are everywhere. We even had one wander up one of the main arteries in the centre of Bordeaux just a hundred metres from where we lived. The hunters encourage them so they can kill them. There are lots of Turbos. Accidental shootings.

  3. It does sound like madness. I thought the USA was the only one with gun problems. At least the thugs don’t shoot openly on the streets — at least until after the sun goes down. Those PVC doors sound hideous. More plastic to clog up the environment.

    1. There is a tiny percentage of the population who are hunters but they behave as though they’re defending a national cause. They do more or less what they like. Luckily most of the casualties are other hunters.
      Yes, PVC doors with little imitation Regency fanlights are ugly, ridiculous and people rip out perfectly good wooden doors to look ‘modern’.

    1. Thanks Linda. No, the figures are astonishing. We were looking at buying a house in the nearby city and googling the area we found a newspaper article about that particular street with interviews from the residents saying they didn’t go out after 6pm in the winter because of the troops of wild boar that wandered up and down the road and the children have to be driven to school because the parents are afraid of them meeting wild boar on the way. We decided against it…

  4. Hilarious and sad, the world as you know it morphing into strip malls and wildlife hunting clubs. Turbo, the pooch, is the real victim here. In Texas, and other “open carry” state, guns are worn proudly, even in banks and super markets.

    1. The only people with guns here are the hunters. They make up a tiny percentage of the populations (0.07%) but they pop off at everything that moves. The tide is turning against them though, as more animals are moving/being driven in to periurban zones and the hunters seem not to care that people might get in the line of fire. Men should not be allowed to play with guns. Period.

  5. Poor Turbo–and the boar. I can’t imagine having wild boar walking around and going in stores. The gun nuts are crazy everywhere it seems.
    (Our old wooden doors are rather worn, and we should probably replace them someday when we have the money, but I’ll try to avoid the fanlights.) 🙂

    1. Sorry, those plastic doors with the anachronistic fanlight are pet hates of mine 🙂
      There are masses of wild boar and they are pretty fearless. They are also good swimmers so crossing the Garonne is easy peasy for them. The land along the river is pretty wild and the hunters encourage them so they can organise big friendly male camaraderie hunts to massacre them.

      1. I think it’s more that they follow the lines of woodland and open land, rivers etc, but at the edge of cities that tends to be full of place like DIY and furniture stores and roads. They get disoriented and wander around places they shouldn’t be like car parks and get into the stores by mistake.

  6. Beyond all the wonderfully told hullabaloo, I’m wondering what the boars natural predators are ( if they have any) and how they maintain a healthy population. I’m from a place with wild big cats and bears, but I must say the prospect of running into a wild boar is terrifying.

    1. Wolves would eat them but we’ve more or less exterminated the wolf here. They are actively encouraged by the hunting organisations so they have plenty to massacre. They feed the boar, encourage them to proliferate then turn round and say, you see? There are too many of them, they’re dangerous, you need hunters to cull the population. The public are wising up to it especially when the boar troop through town, and the popularity of the hunters is in decline. About bloody time.

    1. Thank you. I haven’t seen a boar here though there was one shot just at the end of the lane last summer. There are loads of them in the wooded areas and along the river which is pretty wild land. The hunters encourage them so they’ll have plenty to shoot to the extent that the hunting associations have to take out insurance to pay claims for damage (by the animals and the hunts organised to shoot them) from farmers. Pathetic and sick.

    1. Maybe. When you live in a small village though with only one street and heavy goods vehicles thunder through it night and day because the haulage companies don’t want to pay the motorway tolls, whose civil liberty takes precedence?

      1. True. The problem here has been public/private partnerships. Public highways were developed by private companies. The privateers were given rights to tax all users for too many years to count. Enough! Your scenario has lots of truth.

    1. The whole thing defies common sense. We know that the numbers of animals have declined by something like 80% over the last twenty, thirty years yet we still allow cretins to shoot whatever they like. We say we want to preserve local vernacular architecture yet the DIY stores are taken by assault with people wanting to trash their old wooden doors and stick a monstrosity in PVC in its place.

  7. What a scene you have painted here! Reading the comments…are the hunters not charged for “baiting” the wild boar, encouraging them by feeding them only to slaughter them? It is against the rules of hunting here to do that.

    1. Only indirectly in that the hunting associations have to take out insurance policies to cover the damage the boar do to crops and private property. The fact that the hunters are held accountable speaks volumes. The tide of opinion is running against them though and things will change.

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