Monday, 15 October 2012


Well those seven months flew by!

The nicely baby is now nicely crawling, nicely standing up and nicely marauding everything in sight. He's also starting to talk, well kind of. Shouting is really what it is. Today we had "MAMA!" for the first time. His very first word was "DOG!". Poor Dog. The wee one chases him all over the little house.  He looks at me helplessly with a "Please DO something!" expression. This is what he's up against:

The Little House has morphed from a building site into my home without me really noticing. It started when I stopped trying to force the living room into what is definitely the kitchen. I know that's where the wood-burner is but honestly, having spent a winter huddled on a tiny sofa in front of said wood-burner, I can tell you, a living room it aint. It's the M1 from the front door to the upstairs. Not cosy. Unless you plonk a bloody great kitchen table in the middle of it, like this.

The attic is looking lovely. I agonised for literally months about whether I should adhere to the regulations and ask permission from the Architect de Batiments de France to change my metal framed sky-lights for velux windows. I am opposite the church. I am supposed to consult the ABF on everything. If I write my name in the condensation on the windows, they have to approve the font. That said, the roofs around me are peppered with veluxes and apparently none of them have gone through the proper channels. The only person I know who asked for permission had her application rejected.

I am not brave enough to openly defy the Marie who told me in no uncertain terms that a declaration preleable was required so I asked the advice of the Conseil d'Architecture, d'Urbanisme et de l'Environment and after a bit of back and forth a REALLY nice man told me, in writing, that if I intended to keep the attic as a storage area, permission was NOT needed. Of course I plan to use it as a storage area! Have you seen how much stuff a baby generates? And I definitely need somewhere to store my guest bed...

We have had a wonderful summer drinking rosé, swimming in the lake, spending time with the various lovely visitors who passed through and now a new chapter is about to begin. The tall one was made redundant from his work 'for financial reasons'. A tip out there for all you who want to continue with your current employment:

When your boss asks you where you see yourself in 2 years time, do not, repeat NOT say "Well frankly if I'm still working here I'll chew my own arm off." It doesn't go down well. Hence the redundancy.

However, what we were not expecting to discover is that the company haven't been paying any tax or social charges on his behalf since January, and when it came to light, they cobbled together a retrospective letter pretending they'd fired him at the beginning of the year for unexplained absence. Erm... I think you'll find that's called paternity leave? Now if this was me, I'd see them in court. He has work emails, has received work cheques blah blah blah but no. He wants to move on.

So we are... to the Netherlands. He has been offered a nice little job as an account manager for a company that supplies oxygen machines for heavy snorers or people with sleep apnea. My mother is VERY excited. I'm excited but for different reasons. We'll be living somewhere near Amsterdam. Theatre, cabaret, galleries. A support network.

It wasn't until I saw this poster in the salle polyvalente in my village that I realised how culturally deprived I have become.

I'll miss France. Don't get me wrong. And I'll miss my little house. But we'll be back. Keep the rosé in the chiller.