I thought you’d want to know how Daniel the builder’s getting on with persuading our neighbour to sell us her land (so we can build an access road the fire service will approve, so the mayor can give the go ahead, so we can apply for planning permission and get the eversoslightly different ball rolling that might – just might – have a chance of being approved in time for…).

It’s very French.

(All of this was reported to me third hand. I’ll paraphrase to save virtual ink.)

First, Daniel phoned the neighbour and asked if she’d be interested in selling the land.

‘Non,’ she said. She was very emphatic. The French often are.

‘Can I phone you back?’ he asked. (In French. Clearly.)

‘Yes,’ she said.

A week later, he phoned back. A lengthy conversation. Was she interested?

‘Not really. It’s been in the family for years.’

‘Can I phone you back?’


The third conversation (two more than we would have made) went along the lines of:

‘Are you interested?’

‘Well… I’ll have to talk to the rest of the family… Find out how much we’d want for it… Can you call back after August 15th?’

‘Yes,’ he said.

Gotta love the French. (Especially when you have one of them on your side.)