Perry's personal notes. May 2004
Getting away from it all is one thing. Finding something you used to be able to buy around the corner is another. I'd rather support the local shopkeepers, but it's not everywhere that you can find 40 meters of white speaker cables. (a bit of rewiring for Nieke) That's where the Supermarchés come in. Huge communities at the edge of cities, signposted for miles (sorry, kilometers) around. The nearest to us is just outside Auch, about 45 minutes away. After countless roundabouts you try to find a parking place less than five minutes walk from the entrance. The scale of the place is awe inspiring. The cheese department alone is bigger than the average supermarket in Amsterdam! The diversity is immense. You name it, they have it. Handy one-stop shopping for the lazy and the credit card happy. Proud that I managed to leave through the 10 items or less cash desk, I overheard an English couple stepping out of their car. She trotted excitedly towards the trolleys as he called out after her, "But I thought this was going to be a cheap weekend!" Fat chance mate, she already had the bit between her teeth.
Life here is not that much cheaper than in Holland. We try to keep all outgoings to a minimum, i.e. no eating out, shopping at the Lidl, buying local products that are plentiful and in season. In the same way that fruit and veg are cheap, technology is scarce and expensive. Not much call for a Palm handheld in the agricultural world.
We are fully concentrated on finding a house. Everything else takes second place. After a week where we thought we had seen everything on the market, we have been pleasantly surprised by two new houses. Every time we see a house, we go through the list of our requirements; In the hills, no neighbours right next door, a few barns and outhouses, at least half an hectare land, no busy roads nearby, no silos or duck,chicken or pig farms nearby. There aren't many that fit the criteria. And what there is is quickly snapped up. But we know that if we compromise now, we will regret it later. The agents understand, but after offering so many houses and not getting a sale wears thin. One thing is for sure. We know the market. With each day, we seem to be getting better properties to see. We are on first name basis with our agents and they know to call us the moment the right property comes in. We hope.
As for income, there are a few irons in the fire. I have
been asked to consider running a drawing school during the international
jazz festival in Marciac. That would be good to get my name known. In
the meantime I am planning on creating prints of my drawings of local
landmarks as well as putting brush to canvas in association with a group
of Gascony artists who exhibit on a regular basis.
The Town Hall in Marciac.