June was a busy month. We had a visit to the UK for our younger son Mark’s ordination in York Minster (more about that next week) and have been busy with visitors, doing various things and surviving the heatwave. (The heatwave incidentally has formally ended but temperatures are still pretty high. The new weather station at Taradeau hit 39.8°C yesterday. Ouch!)
It was good in the early part of the month to go up to Courmettes where Jean-François (now national director of A Rocha France) and his team have really been doing some impressive work.
We mentioned in a previous blog the wonderful display panels created by our friend Esther Brouwer. It’s been somewhat unfortunate that people have just been walking through the centre without stopping to find out anything about its history and purpose. These panels should remedy that. There’s also been the clever switch of the buvette (the coffee shop and information office) from the front half of the office to a larger room which has an exhibition about Courmettes and its history, giving the team a lot of much needed office space.
We also took the opportunity to go over to the spectacular perched village of Gourdon, which we have mentioned before in these blogs, from where you can get splendid views of most of the Courmettes estate. We needed to stay overnight, but because Courmettes was full we decided to stay at the rather attractive Auberge des Gorges du Loup, which has a great deal of character and a very fine restaurant.
We mentioned some weeks ago that we were hoping to move. In fact, we have made a great deal of progress on this and are due next week to sign the initial contract on a rather attractive house we have located in Lorgues. You will doubtless be hearing a lot more about this. We hope to move in September and so at the moment we are in the process of putting our current house on the market. This is a much trickier business than in the UK because of the “Mediterranean” habit of having somewhat flexible prices that are “open to discussion”, otherwise known as bargaining. If there is anyone reading this who is interested in buying property in France, we offer one salutary comment: house prices here do not automatically go up with time. We are buying our new house at 100,000€ less than it was bought for in 2008, despite a lot of work having been done on it since.
Fortunately with selling our present house, we shouldn’t lose much, if at all. In the meantime we are talking with the bank about getting a bridging loan partly to avoid having to transfer UK funds over at the present desperate exchange rate. It would be really nice if those folk in the UK could either complete or (preferably) abandon the whole Brexit debacle. Please!