Trip Start Jul 19, 2009
Trip End Oct 25, 2010

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Flag of France  ,
Tuesday, May 13, 2008

I'm gonna talk about Peter now, so you might want to give it a miss.....
Peter is a glass artist, dedicated and disciplined, he continues to work in France. Not just to make a living, but it's his passion, he's compelled.
He is also a good companion. If he were a dog, you could say he has a great will to please. He tidies, he fixes, builds fires, lights candles, brings bunches of sweet peas he grows for me, fills glasses, plays Cd's not necessarily his favorites, rubs feet - he goes about this quietly and unobtrusively, not expecting gratitude or even that his efforts may be noticed. He likes to please.
What more could one want?
I want him to share my passion. France. I want to live here permanently.
He wont leave Amsterdam - and that's the long and short of it.
We have a problem.
For over a year now we've gone over it, again and again. We are nowhere nearer to a solution than when we started.
Trouble in paradise.
I do what I can to persuade him. Walking through the villages, I point out all the lovely houses for sale - as we'd need a slightly larger one are we to live and work here. There are loads of them, begging for a new owner.
The French are a bit ambivalent about the foreigners, mostly English and Dutch, moving in, taking over. Many of the houses are ruins or in poor state of repair, crumbling away. The locals don't want them, they prefer a nice modern bungalow, but are not adverse to letting the starry-eyed strangers pay ridiculous prices, and sink their life-savings into some dilapidated old  barn or farmhouse. You can always tell which houses are owned by outsiders: either they have a permanent feature of cement mixers, sand, ladders and what have you, in their yards, or, if they were lucky enough to have had access to unlimited funds, the house is looking picture-perfect, but not quite in sync with it's rural surroundings.
We wandered through Nailhac yesterday, a pretty village right between Clédat and Hautefort. Typical to see a beautiful, well kept residence, just ten steps away from an abandoned, neglected dwelling, once home to a large family, no doubt. I bet sometime in the not too far future someone will fall in love with it and restore it to the glory it never was meant to hold. 
Walking around the hamlet you have views of the magnificent fort and castle of Hautefort. Somehow or other, we never managed to visit yet. Always arriving  too late or finding  it closed for the season. I'm adamant to check it out this time and will let you know what I find in the event.
The gardens and grounds are well known.  World famous even. The head gardener was the previous owner of our cottage. An investment, he never lived here. Consequently he didn't do much for the garden and actually chopped down everything in sight before putting it on the market, as it had become a wilderness. We still morn the cherry trees when we stumble across their stomps. We are told it took four men three days to demolish what once had been a beautiful mature garden.
Makes you want to cry.
However, we are bringing in new plants and flowers, only the low maintenance ones, as we're not here all year to tend to them.
Paradise lost, paradise found?
Just have to wait and see..........
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