Should I Stay or Should I Go? (OS040)

It seems like I can go back to the UK now without fear of being arrested for cybercrime, something I’m not guilty of by the way. On the other hand, Pam suggested that her father would buy a chateaux if we could convert it to some sort of business. Amazing. I’m not sure that we are a ‘we’ even. We were just forced together through circumstances. Long story. I guess we would be kind of business partners, Pam putting in the money and me the labour. I knew she came from a family with money but that’s crazy, being able to just buy a chateaux. Quite a dilemma.  I’m not sure that I’m up to the challenge of a chateaux, so I asked Pam.

“Pam, it’s a major undertaking to tackle a run down chateaux, I mean I’m not Dick Strawbridge you know. I can’t DIY like he can or cook a feast on an oil drum either.” I watched ‘Escape to the Chateaux’ also.

“What about something a bit more manageable like an old git.”

Pam stifled a laugh and replied “I’m not sure you can buy an old git. It may be more trouble than it’s worth. Do you have anyone in mind?”

“I’m confused. What do you mean anyone? I’m sure there are estate agents in France.” I replied.

“I think you mean a gite, an old gite, a holiday cottage. It’s an option. Maybe just find an old house and convert it to a gite and rent it out or maybe a B&B? You were interested in running a B&B at one time.”

I figured that it can’t hurt to look at a few options but keep an open mind about going back to the UK full time. I was feeling a lot less stressed now having taken Pam’s advice on stress busting and discovering that returning to the UK was a definite option (without being thrown in jail).  I realised that at some point soon, I do need to go back to sort out my house In Manchester. There are three to think about now though; Camile (our adopted dog), Pam and myself.

At some point, Camile would need to accompany us to the UK so I set about sorting out her travel paperwork and inoculations etc.

Camile was not impressed having to be zapped with a microchip and nearly took a chunk out of the vet. I never expected that. She’s never been feisty before. She also needed a passport. I was wondering if they do biometric passports for dogs? Fingerprints may be an issue but iris scans may work as long as she is groomed and you can actually see her eyes. The biometric machine may throw a wobbler though, as she is black with black eyes and would I have to hold her up? Not much chance of her facing the camera. She’s never still. I’m sure they have a backup plan though. Maybe an official with a tape measure.

The other requirement was a rabies injection. I was not looking forward to this after the microchip incident. I got her in a half nelson hoping that this would do the trick. She struggled like a caged lion, ripped my coat but the vet managed to complete the operation eventually. I was hoping that was everything but there were worm tablets and flea treatments. The vet declined to administer these and I wondered how on earth we would get her to take these. I decided to ask Pam to give it a go as I’d done my bit! Camile got her own back on the vet though, leaving a significant puddle in the doorway on the way out. The receptionist passed some comment, in French. Luckily, my French is limited to ordering a coffee or a beer, neither of which featured in the sentence I heard.

We returned to the campervan and Pam suggested that Camile was definitely sulking with me. Sure enough, she was sitting as far away from me as possible and giving me a dismissive glance from time to time. Pam couldn’t believe her attitude or that she had been aggressive at the vets. This doubt was supported as she took the tablets from her hand and swallowed them without an issue. Mental note – Pam to make future vet visits. Camile soon became friendly again and all it needed was a dog treat.

Whilst I’d been wrestling with Camile, Pam had visited the estate agents or ‘agences immobilières’ as she reliably informed me. She pulled out a few house details. The first looked derelict, had windows missing and a door which fitted the frame at intervals. It looked like a complete rebuild was needed. I wasn’t up to that and we agreed to recycle that sheet.

The next looked reasonable although our judgement may be impaired by the comparison with the previous wreck. We visited the house accompanied by the ‘agent immobilier’ person. The door opened which was a good start. He pointed to the floor and said:

“Ne marche pas sur ce plancher”

Neither of us knew what this meant and it was only when my foot disappeared through the rotten floorboard that Pam said:

‘it’s something about not walking on something. Ah! Plancher must mean floorboard.”

This was going to be difficult. I loaded the speech translater up on my phone and we proceeded very slowly around the house with the ‘agent immobilier’ person grasping the phone from time to time. We translated:

Don’t touch the light switch. Faulty

Ne touchez pas l’interrupteur d’éclairage. Défectueux

There is a bit of a leak in the cellar

Il y a une petite fuite dans la cave

It’s a good view past the railway track

C’est une bonne vue au-delà de la voie ferrée

The owner may be negotiable

Le propriétaire peut être négociable

Fortunately, not everything needed translation such as the gaping hole in the ceiling with daylight shining through the roof tiles and the evidence of long gone squatters in the lounge. Clearly, the property wasn’t good enough for squatters and so the conversion to a B&B would be a challenge.

We said our translated ‘goodbye’ and ‘don’t ring us, we’ll ring you’ to the immobiliser chap and returned to the campervan. We visited a few more that day and all were an improvement on the first. None of them attempted to injure either of us which was a bonus. We both agreed that one particular three bed terrace was a possibility. It needed decoration and a new kitchen mainly. A definite possibility for my limited DIY skills.

This didn’t help resolve the main question to stay in France and open a B&B or return to the UK with no job. To quote ‘The Clash’, ‘Should I stay or should I go now? If I stay …. etc. etc’.

 In fact, being a strange sort of thrown together, pseudo family unit, should ‘we’ stay or should we go now, or is this where we go our separate ways now. No song there …

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10/02/2023 at 18:36

Stay in France Oliver. You were a bit of a couch potato in the UK.

10/02/2023 at 18:39

Good point. Thanks Mark (I think).

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