Berchtold Rordorf, the owner of the Chateau d'Epanvilliers, near Civray in central France, has got a problem.
He bought the chateau, a relatively modest one as chateaux go, a few years ago and opened it to the public as a museum of antique games. Mr Rordorf, who is a Swiss businessman, has been collecting these for much of his life and has a vast and fascinating array of old board-games, card-games, chess-sets, draught-sets, games of skill and games of chance from past centuries and even some from ancient times. Did you know, for instance, that the game of Snakes and Ladders evolved out of a game played in ancient Egypt and for many centuries always had to have exactly 63 squares?
It is a wonderful idea to attract families on holiday to come and see his chateau. Many of the games are works of art. There are also some instruction books about bridge and poker that give an enjoyable glimpse of the inter-war years. However, just when Mr Rordorf hoped to start welcoming the public in hordes to his door, a plan to build a windfarm adjacent to the chateau was announced. Previous owners, impecunious and struggling to survive, have sold most of the original estate so that the windfarm is going to be right on his doorstep. The massive turbines, 200 metres high, will totally overshadow the beautiful chateau and ruin the view of the landscape from every direction.
Driving up to the chateau now, you see a large sign on the front gates "NON AU PARC ÉOLIEN" - No to the wind-farm. Mr Rordorf is trying to persuade all visitors to the chateau to sign a petition on his behalf. In fact he has organized an exhibition showing what impact the turbines will have and arguing that they don't generate enough electricity to be worthwhile.
Funny, isn't it, that wherever you go in Europe you find people
agreeing with UKIP's policies, yet they call us "Little Englanders".
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