Friday, September 24, 2010
Old MacDonald bought a farm....E,I,E,I....Doh!
I write this back in the comfort of our house in Topanga, Ca., where warm autumn breezes lift the aroma of roses and rosemary from Cindy’s garden through the window to the living room as I write this. The ten days we took off from work, were basically seven days working on the farm house, like the exchange rate it didn’t really favor us too well. The one break we got was being bumped from coach to premier class, this was a hopeful sign. We arrived at the Charles De Gaulle airport in Paris and transferred to a smaller plane for the flight to Bordeaux. Once we deplaned in Bordeaux, we made our way to the car rental counter; the Peugeot 206 I was hoping for was substituted for a Renault Clio, thankfully not the STD Clio. The Clio was Frances answer to the wrong question; Sherlock Holmes could not have found an identity for this car. I’m just saying, if Malibu Barbie’s friend without benefits “Ken” drove a car; this would be it. Anyway after getting the car loaded, Cindy and I drove off to Duras, as we had treated ourselves to a night in a hotel. We ate at the hotel’s restaurant and had an incredible meal. Cindy started off with an aperitif of Champagne blended with raspberry and a local flower infusion. The waiter then arrived with a small slate, shingle shaped, dish on which were four different flavored foie gras’s on small toasted pieces of baguette. We each had our assortment which was part of the 26 euro special. I had ordered a nice bottle of the red wine from Duras (considered from the Bordeaux region), 2005. (I had read an article that mentioned that Bordeaux’s of the 2005 vintage were spectacular, and was riding that horse for all it was worth.) After the stuffed goose liver we were given a citron sorbet floating in chilled vodka. I embarrassed Cindy by slurping and licking the small shot glass it was served in, then did likewise to Cindy’s amount she had missed, the table beside us were telling a joke or something as all I heard as I put her dry shot glass in front of her; was the sound of laughter.
The very observant waiter returned and inspected the now desert dry glasses, shrugged and walked off. When he returned, he brought the main course, mine was rump sirloin, and Cindy had the sturgeon. She won that round as mine was chewy in a kind of chewy way; I think it was nearer to the saddle than the rump. The sauce was however spectacular and I sopped that up with the accompanying bread. After the main course we finished with dessert, Cindy chose to have three different cheeses from the frommage cart, and I had the Crème brulee assortment. Cindy had a piece of Roquefort, a commte, and a local cheese. We left the restaurant, and that was the most comfortable period we had all trip, also the nicest smelling part.
The next morning we had a quick cup of coffee, and made our way down the street to the Immobiliers office (Realtor) after a quick recap of the last six months since we had seen them we made our way down the rue (street) to the assurances office (house insurance), they had pre-prepared a dossier for two policies, one for the farmhouse and one for the land. We signed the assorted documents, and again walked down the rue to the Notaries’ office. Once we were all seated in the waiting room, the owner of the farm arrived and we all shook each other’s hands and again sat down. It was at this point as I was saying how much we loved Petit Clos (The name of the farm, also the initials of Cindy and my last names) that I chided myself for slacking off with my French lessons. He understood what I meant, just that he looked at me the way you look at someone in a tuxedo saying “I reckon I oughten to git them thar sponges outta the cement pond.”
Once we all paraded into the notare’s office and were seated, the show began. The Notare is in France, even the Marie (mayor), the most respected person in a town. This woman, in our case, was on top of everything, each document was scrutinized for any discrepancy, and each question was rolled around in her head as she dissected it from each point of view. In France if you have a document go thru a notare’s office and something is incorrect, she is responsible for it, financially; completely.
Then the notaire reviewed the parcels that made up the property, each and every parcel, of which there are over thirty pieces that make up 20 hectares ( a hectare is about 2 and ½ acres). There were times when the Notaire would dwell on one parcel and ask a few questions over and over, the seller waffled and would amend his answer until the notaire was satisfied with his revised answer. So then the next act was the signing scene, firstly the seller who was recovering from a stroke, labouredly signed his Jacques Hancock. Then Cindy and I Initialed our documents, I initialed in French. HP see.
We all shook each other’s hands and smiled, I murmured “Viva Le France”, and the seller kissed me.
Tommorrow, We arrive at the house and all is not well.