Thursday, 30 April 2015

A lot to get used to

This is the view from my front door looking up to the front of our property. The bushes are lavendar that line the path we created. The building top left is a double height barn we use as a wood store and garage. The plan is to concrete the floor ( it is currently an earth floor) and put in a mezzanine floor to provide a workshop for P. We have been snowed in three times in five years. Once we get out onto the proper road they have drainage ditches either side. When it snows you cannot tell what is ditch and what is road. The minor roads are not gritted. Our friendly farmer pushes a bale of straw up our access road with his tractor so we can walk out. It used to worry me to be so cut off but I am now used to it. The freezer and pantry are kept well stocked.
I am slowly learning to be more self sufficient but it is a steep learning curve. The French culture is something I doubt I will ever get my head  round. It is the reason why I often feel I cannot hack it.
It is a socialist set up with no help for new business. People come out of the pharmacy with a carrier bag of drugs. There is no competition. A large supermarket recently applied to sell basic drugs, non prescription and were told no as it was unfair to the pharmacies. Amazon was not allowed to deliver books free as it was deemed unfair to bookshops.
There is a big red book called code de travail that protects workers rights it makes it impossible for a small business to employ anyone. When you sell your house you leave stuff in it up to a year after you have moved. Bizarre or what! They do not make way for emergency vehicles and are happy to tap the car in front and behind to get into a space. We had this done to us whilst I was sitting in the car, it was saved by the fact it had a tow bar and a bull bar. When buying new number plates the shop told me to have metal as the plastic ones get broken so often.
Do not get me started on food. I recently called a restaurant to ask if they could cope with me being vegetarian, oui, oui I was told. Starter grated carrot with a boiled egg, main mashed potato with grilled tomatoes. For the same price as the full menu.
I don't want to be totally negative so will stop there but there is so much more. I will tell more in other posts.
The country is lovely as is our part of it. It is easy to lead a simple life. But give me a good English pub anyday.


  1. Oh dear, that brings back memories of eating out in France on holiday. As a vegetarian, I struggled to find somewhere to eat in the evenings. As I am gluten free as well now, I think I will give France a miss this year. Mind you, a German friend recommended a Chinese restaurant in Hamburg to us a couple of years ago - they were most definite that they could serve me a vegetarian meal. What turned up? A bowl of green beans - nothing else! At least it makes me appreciate what we have!

  2. France is so very different - just 20 miles of water between us and it might as well be on the moon! I do sympathise, I too have had difficulties sometimes, but as my kid have grown up here and will not move, I have accepted it, and now life is easier. Still find a lot of thing totally bonkers though!