November 2004

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Me? Spoilt?

Mid November announced itself with a our first night of frost.
Elwood wasn't taking any chances.

A handy accessory for the man in the field

Caroline, Madame Montegut, her brothers Joseph and Eduard and Notaire Dhers on the morning we signed up for a life in France.


Our one-room home until we get the keys in April 2005!

House call
Nov 1. visited Madame M to take a few photos of the barns to start prepping drawings for the renovation. Met her brother Eduard and his wife. It turns out that the other brother (Joseph) has asked and been told by the local council that his 8000m2 in front of the house is ‘constructible’ (i.e. he has permission to build on the land). This changes everything. Including the value. Now we have to buy that piece of land to preserve our tranquility and view of the lake. Eduard has a hectare to the left of it.

Joseph called us the next evening with his price for the parcel of land that suddenly wasn’t 4 French Francs per m2 but 50FF! After a hefty discussion, we decided to postpone the signing of the compromis de vente. Madame M was pissed off, not only with us, but with her brother for asking for a CU (certificate d'urbanisation).

With our calculator to work out the exchange rate between FF and euros (6,55957FF =€ 1) we called Joseph and negotiated a 25% off his asking price. We then called Eduard to tell him that we could no longer afford to buy his land because his brother had bled us dry. He then explained to us that the owner of his parcel would have access over our land since there was originally a chemin (track) to it from in front of the gate to the house. That would mean us having a new neighbour driving over our land to get to the field. After a delicately balanced discussion between despair, anger and resignment, we called Eduard again and told him we would buy his parcel too. Not an evening we’d like to relive too often.

The next day we were called by Madame M and agreed to set a new date to sign at the notary. Luckily, the three estate agents she had called in the meantime had not had a chance to visit and were cancelled forthwith. Could anything else pop out of the woodwork before then? It turns out that Mme M and her brother Joseph are not on speaking terms, the gathering around the notary’s table should be fun!

We added our Christmas greetings cards to the portfolio and orders started coming in within a few days from as far away as America and Australia! That weekend Caroline chopped wood for the fire and Perry sawed and hammered a couple of Wellington boot removers together. Something to sell at the Christmas market in Marciac perhaps?

On Sunday we went to Marco and Marike who have just bought a house in the village of Aspet , south east of us at the foot of the Pyrennees. It needs so much work. New roof, floors, bathroom (the douche is outside on the terrace!). That’s five years of their lives booked.

For security, we visited the mairie of Puydarrieux to find out if there were any more plans for construction in the area around the house. The mayor was very friendly and helpful and although there are no such plans now he could not assure us that there would not be in the future. We’ll just have to keep an eye on the notice boards.

We are now receiving emails from 'Leven in Frankrijk' readers who have visited our site. Exchanging experiences and answering questions about emigrating to France, it adds another dimension to the function of our site.

Wednesday 10 november.
This morning we signed the compromis de vente for our house in Puydarrieux. We arranged to meet the notary half an hour before to go through our questions before the Montegut/Lacoste family arrived. That must have been a bit stiff in the waiting room! A surprisingly uneventful hour and a half later, we had signed and I asked if I might take a photo for our website. Mme Montegut grabbed Caroline around the waist and the notary stepped around her desk for the momentous occasion. Puydarrieux had been their family home for three generations. What will it signify for us in the future?

- "Quack, Quack".

- "I'm going as quack as I can!".


Passing the estate agent's window in Mirande, we saw that there was nothing new on the market. We are so happy we have (hopefully) found our house. It had taken us eight months. We hadn't given in. We waited until we found what we wanted. There isn't much more of it to go around.

Throughout October and November Perry had been busy art directing two brochures via internet for a client in Holland. Finally the call came to direct the photo shoot. Within a few days we were on the road, making the 1250 km journey north. December would see us putting far more on the clock than we ever imagined.


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© 2004 Perry Taylor and Two Can Productions, France.