Well they say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks but I’m here to tell you this old bitch has been fetching and rolling over like there’s no tomorrow. While the French is all but abandoned due to maison madness, I’m making up for it in knowledge of the complexities of French tenancy. That’s right my friends, I’m a woman who has signed on the dotted lines.

Now I say lines because there were many. I’ve bought lots of houses in the past, two before I met Neil and I can safely say that I’ve never been asked for my autograph as much as for sealing the deal on the housette. The lease itself was about 60 odd pages, each of which had to be signed and the diagnostic report (as in your house is not suffering from termitis infestationus) was just as long.

It’s quite official here, done through the local notaire, a dapper, straight out of the movies French gentleman who sat with us in an office, also straight out of the movies, and explained the lease line by line. Unfortunately this little film was sorely lacking in subtitles. Do you have any idea how much smiling is involved to fake understanding 65 pages of French legalese? I looked like the Joker for the rest of the day, my face still hurts.

It was all a bit nerve wracking but the die, as they say, is cast. We signed a standard French contract that, as I see it, favours the rights of the tenants quite a bit. Of course for all I know there may very well be a clause in that book they call a lease requiring naked chicken dancing on the notaire’s desk (me, not him). He hasn’t called to schedule that yet so I think I’m in the clear.

While I’d rather poke a giant fork in my eye than do the drama of yet another house set-up, I’m excited about having a place of my own again. The down side is the loss of freedom from possessions. I will once again own things necessitating large trucks and burly butt-cracky guys to move, you know, a fridge, a washer and the like. For a brief moment there I was weighed down by nothing more than a mattress, a few boxes and a bunch of ugly but lengthy clothes.

So like George and Wheezy we’re movin’ on up to the deluxe housette in the sky but before we settle in there’s still so much to do. While the previous tenants were kind enough to sell us the cupboard doors, they did take all the light fixtures (c’est normal around these parts), another thing to add to the ever growing list. And then there’s that little issue of the toxic fumes emananting from the newly replaced, all important second toilet. What odds I say, I’ll find the time. It’s not like I’m scheduled to conduct Middle East peace talks next week.

I mean really, what the hell am I on about? I don’t have a full time job across the Atlantic.  I don’t have to do all the phone calls and letter writing, lease translation and heavy lifting now do I? No, those tasks fall to someone I know who has the patience of a saint, a mind like a steel trap and the heart of a happy child. The bulging biceps are just a bonus.


ps Next time I’ll post a few ‘before’ pictures of the housette