Well two F Words actually…and not the one you might think it is.
First of all, F R U S T R A T I O N
Frustration at a system that is so slow…. but at the same time knowing that part of the appeal of moving to a tiny village in the South of the Dordogne is the slow pace of life.
We’ve been trying to progress the transfer of ownership for the land since October last year, and it’s taking ages. It’s not enough to say that you are one of three siblings – we need to prove it. And the only way to do that is to have a Genealogy report. So, eventually after a few small hiccups – we thought that we had that in hand during our February trip.
So, a few days ago we got really excited when a letter arrived with a French post mark on it. We anticipated that inside would be a report confirming that my dad had not sown his seeds elsewhere. But, upon opening the said letter imagine our dismay that it was quite simply a letter stating that now we had sent the forms off (yeah we done that AGES ago!!!) they now had everything needed to send this off to their branch office to deal with!! Grrr!! I wonder how many months this next stage of the process will take.
Patience is a virtue as they say, and our skills in this area are being honed to perfection at the moment. Especially mine…. I am not the world’s most patient person at the best of times and certainly not at the moment.
Add to this the delays in exchanging contracts on our house sale caused by the middle solicitor picking up on something that should have been spotted 2 months ago…. yes, it is fair to say that we are feeling the FRUSTRATION
But, on a more position note the other F Word I wanted to write about is FRIENDSHIP.
The last few weeks have been a whirlwind of coffees, camping trips and dog walks, whilst I try and catch up with all sorts of people in an attempt to say Au Revoir to people before we leave. So, these friendships have been the focus of my mind for the past week or so.
One of the things I have loved so much about France is how easily friendships form. Whereas it might take months, or even years for the slow burn of acquaintanceship to simmer into a friendship in the slightly stuffier confines of a typically British small town/ large village, such as Chandlers Ford. In comparison, in France, we have made, are making friends all the time with every trip. It’s different, very different, and I was describing this today to my friend who I had met for a dog walk. There’s a common ground with the ex-pats in the French village and surrounding areas – a sense of all being in it together. So, people seem much more willing to get straight in there and help people out, and invite them for coffee, and give them lifts and all sorts of things. Stuff that you might wait a long time before doing in the UK. Even in my “mum at the school gate” years where I made friends very easily, it was never so fast and furious!! But these days I am too old for the school gate, but also too young for the U3A so it’s proved to be quite hard to form friendships in the place that has been home for nearly a decade.
But in France I love the ease with which that common bond brings people together in a lovely sense of community and neighbourliness.
With the French people, we have found that once they realise you are moving over there to live and will be an integral part of their community they are really warm and friendly, and welcome you with open arms.
So, even though our time in France has so far been a small number of short (but ever increasing durations of time) trips we have started to make friends with all sorts of wonderful people.
Today’s friend (a previous work colleague) and I talked about how the UK has lots of support groups and volunteering, whereas in France this sort of thing is virtually non-existent and we concluded that this is because it’s not needed because there is such a strong sense of community. It’s so true – every one helps each other out in whatever ways they can. Our lovely friend, who at 70 something has help in various ways from her friends and neighbours, also helps out a much younger friend who cannot get to the shops at the moment through her own ill health.
It’s all about Karma, Pay Forward, whatever you like to call it – you do a good deed and someone will do one for you.
So, we can’t wait to get over there and fully embrace the community life which we know is waiting for us.
But first, we have those small issues of frustration to contend with….hopefully this coming week will bring some good news of progress!!
©Sharon Rees-Williams – wordpress.com/thislittlepieceof.land, 2018
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