Last week, we had Clare’s sister, her fiancé and their daughter staying nearby (we’re supposed to be in a yurt on an organic farm, remember?).

Which was an excellent excuse to show off places we know (Bergerac old town, Le P’tit Loup), discover new ones (the incredible view from the Belvédère at Marqueyssac), and find out why they chose to stay where they did (a family friendly place with comfy chairs, a pool and a barn full of toys.)

They chose a good week for it – 29 degrees and sun pretty much every day.

But we’ve seen the TV shows. We didn’t spend the whole time sitting by the pool. We tried to Get Things Moving by Speaking To Someone About Our Big Green Idea.

Our options were: our estate agent, who had already offered to take us to the local planning office, our architect, our Notaire (solicitor), someone with a tractor (more on this later), or an accountant. We needed to see them all. The question was, who first?

After much debate, we chose the notaire and took in our largest dictionary, only to discover he has excellent English.


During a very long (and, so far, free) meeting, he told us to see the local planning office. Before Friday, because they were to close for two weeks after that (obviously – it’s been ages since the August holiday). He also told us to see an accountant – and the one next door to where we are living would be fine.

So I went in and saw planning. Without our estate agent. Which, as I sat down opposite a slight (and slightly intimidating) woman who could have the power of life and death for the rest of our project (no pressure, then), I thought may have been a bit foolish.

Turns out it isn’t her. And I’ll have to go back again in a few weeks.

Next time, I’ll take the estate agent.