The highs and lows of playing the waiting game

October 2014

In the past couple of weeks, we’ve been faced with a few obstacles, particularly in terms of the mortgage guarantee, which has proven to be more costly than expected. We still have not set a date to sign for the house, despite the fact that the deadline is 30th October. The bank is waiting on the notaire, the notaire is waiting on the bank, and this longwinded game of bureaucratic ping-pong just seems like it will never end. Until we have the keys in our hands, I have this unsettled feeling deep down in my stomach which makes me feel uneasy and unable to relax. The French call it ‘angoisse’, but I call it ‘Get your finger out and give me my house!’. Needless to say, this month I am feeling a little stressed out to say the least!

On a brighter note, we’re all heading down there in just over three weeks which will be a welcome break after a long season. The initial plan was to stay in the new house, but with two young children, it’s not easy ‘roughing it’ with no furniture, gas or electricity, in the worst case scenario. So, we have booked a gite about 15 minutes’ away from which we can explore the area and hopefully meet some nice people.

There’s not been much progress on the job front, any jobs that come up are for immediate start, and it’s not really the season for hotel recruitment. I have been trying to get lots of resources together to possibly start up an English workshop for young children in neighbouring villages. This way I could try to find a part time job and do the workshops on top, to bring in a bit of extra money and to help us become integrated into the community. I did something similar when we lived in the Savoie and I really enjoyed it.

We’ve also contacted the local Mairie to introduce ourselves, and they sent us the most welcoming reply and look forward to meeting us in person. The Aveyron people seem to be such a friendly bunch, a far cry from the grimacing folk who grace, or rather disgrace the streets of our Chamonix neighbourhood. Oh, how I love to be at the receiving end of a blank stare in exchange for my polite ‘Bonjour’ each day! My daughter, Madeleine says ‘Bonjour’ to absolutely everyone, and it is amusing for me to watch the reactions of people, who are quite literally taken aback by her innocence and charm, and have no choice but to let on to her, as opposed to looking the other way in ignorance. Madeleine goes to a lovely little nursery, just at the top of our street, but even some of the parents are rude and…well, the only word I can think of is downright miserable. It’s not exactly the best trait of character to be passing on to our children.

We have been talking a lot about this new sustainable life we hope to lead and trying to get a plan in mind for the maximum yield of fruit and veg possible throughout the seasons. We’ve become obsessed with watching gardening programmes and here are two series we particularly enjoyed:

Fork to Fork
Fork to Fork
The Edible Garden
The Edible Garden

We know we will have to adapt our diet to the seasonal produce, just like a chef might alter his menus each season, but we have been looking into healthier eating and we’ve decided to try to cut down on our intake of meat and dairy and to increase plant-based foods in our diet, such as herbs, lentils, vegetables, pulses, nuts and whole grains. We watched an inspirational documentary film called Forks Over Knives, the trailer of which can be found here

Forks-Over-KnivesIf you find it inspires you too, take a look at the website, packed with interesting and new recipes to try:

Well, I must be going now…I can’t concentrate on anything besides the amazing red lentil curry awaiting me, thanks to Pete’s impressive culinary skills. I guess we just have to sit tight, wait a bit longer and cross our fingers that by the time I write next month’s post, we will officially be homeowners of our very own ‘Chez TêteBlanche’ residence in rural Aveyron.



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