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BBC NEWS | Programmes | From Our Own Correspondent | Neighbourly help in high Pyrenees

As the global economic downturn continues, Kathy Flower discovers the secret to survival in an unexpected place - the crumbling, half-empty villages of the French Pyrenees.

Madame Genis grows all her own vegetables - and forages for fruit

Madame Genis shouts a greeting in her strong Catalan accent as she strides past my house.

A sunburned 75-year-old, she is clad, as always, in her working gear of an ancient blue and white checked pinafore and an old pair of men's leather boots.

She carries a sharp knife - not for repelling attackers, or even the wild boar which roam these hills - but for cutting reeds to support the runner beans she will plant now spring has come at last.

by Fran on Sun May 10th, 2009 at 11:09:45 AM EST
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