Yes, the new job (which starts tomorrow morning at nine) means cash coming in instead of going out without so much as a ‘by your leave’ (whatever that means).

Yes, it means we get a Carte Vitale after a month, which gives us access to possibly the most impressive healthcare system in the world without paying very much for it.

Yes, I’m only going to work four days a week because I think five days is inhuman and I don’t want to lose my fantastically enjoyable level of fitness.

Yes, it means we’ll get subsidised childcare, so Boy can get to know more people and learn more French while Her Outdoors can do more work (on the land).

Yes, chances are, we’ll be able to survive until we open for business.

Yes, the job involves speaking English to English people in England.

Yes, there’s a very small commission which will lift the wage off the minimum.

And yes, it’s not copywriting (although the boss has asked me what I can do with his websites).

BUT

The commute is only 100 yards, so I’M NOT GOING TO GET MUCH READING DONE.

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Even though we have nothing on paper, it finally feels like we’re going to get this project on the ground. Which means we haven’t been completely wasting our time putting up a polytunnel:


Digging our first veggie beds:


Thinking of a way we can use the water that appears at the bottom of Pepito’s field, flows along under the blackthorn, and disappears into a hole in the ground that, bizarrely, we don’t own:


Or getting a job. Like I just did (more on this, later).

Today, we had meeting at the social security number place. And found out why there are so many cars in the car park.

First we met the receptionist, whose job it was to check a short list and ask us to sit down in the design-filled but otherwise empty open-plan space (think Jobcentre Plus with more style and no people). Oh, and to take photocopies of our passports.

About a minute later, a lovely woman invited me into one of several numbered offices, asked a few questions, keyed a few things into a computer, printed a few things out and told me she’d arranged a meeting with a consultant (heart sinks) in a few minutes (heart re-floats).

She then showed me into a different seating area, where a corporate video about the service we were enjoying played on a loop, and where I briefly saw Her Outdoors, fresh from a simultaneous appointment, before…

Another lovely woman whisked me into another room. More questions, more shaking of the head in response our current predicament, more tapping on the computer, more print-outs (including a couple of seasonal jobs in wine shops that sound quite tasty) and that was that.

We’re on the system. Or in it.

I don’t think anyone really knows what happens next. There are just too many people in too many departments to know for sure. The last lovely woman said something about coming back in July, but probably to another office and I probably wouldn’t be seeing her again. The whole experience was beautifully inefficient.

In other news, we’re meeting the new mayor tomorrow. At three.