It looks like our original Notaire was not entirely honest with us. (Fortunately, for him, he covered himself, the estate agent and the seller from conventional repercussions – and helped pull off what could reasonably be alleged a pretty good white collar crime.)
Two of the things I have learnt in the last few days, which would almost certainly have stopped us buying this land a few years ago are: 1) The planning permission (which increased the value of the land from €15,000 to €70,000) was not transferable – ie, if we’d wanted to build the house the planning was for, we would not have been allowed; and 2) The land was always in a non-constructible zone, and the guy we bought it from had to pull special levers to get the permission – he even skipped the CU application step and went straight to Permis du Construire. But no one we’ve spoken to knows how.
So aside from some kind of presidential involvement, plans for a beautiful luxury yurt campsite with all the latest green technology, with school visits out of the holiday season, where children can learn about sustainable development, natural waste treatment, recycling, traditional farming techniques – all that fun, forward-thinking stuff – are almost certainly never (almost certainly never say almost certainly never) going to happen here.
Having written the dossier, I’ve also discovered a few eyebrow-raising things. Like the money we’ve already spent (over €160,000) and the money we still need to make the luxury idea happen (almost €40,000 to the centime).
I now have to write a new, stripped down dossier, so I can go and ask a bank for money to create what we definitely are allowed (with the verbal go-ahead from the mayor): A single yurt for guests (this year) with facilities that are, shall we say, much more rustic. Not quite easyurt – the no frills yurt holiday I was joking about with Bob last summer – but not far off.
The temptation to write an article for the UK national press about how impossible it is for a single family to live sustainably in the developed west – even with a considerable capital investment – is strong. (It could even be strongly worded.) But that would seem like continuing to fight – which is something I am not going to do any more.
Instead, I’m going back to my simple, honest, peaceful peasant life, and pour my energy into making this little corner of a foreign field an even more beautiful place. Content to know that all non-conventional repercussions for any actual dishonest behaviour will be (here’s a gag for all you spiritual types out there) universally applied.
Oh, one more thing. Some people have implied privately that this blog is a little depressing. If so, I have failed as a writer – and the sense of detached amusement I have always tried to convey has been a bit too subtle. It’s true, I tend to dance around things a bit (you should read some of the scripts I’ve written where the biggest things happen off camera), and I almost never say things simply. So, for the record, I’d like to say this:
We are having the time of our lives.
We are happier than we’ve ever been.
We live in a more beautiful place than we’ve ever lived.
And we know the best days of our lives are still ahead.
We are in the right place at the right time – and if not knowing a few things helped that happen, there’s nothing wrong with that.