Thursday, 1 April 2010

Living in France, Books, George East

I thought I might do a piece about authors who write about living in France, I suppose the fost "famous" of these is Peter Mayle who wrote " a year in Provence" or Stephen Clarke who wrote "a year in the Merde", So I thought I would start with an author I knew I could get in touch with, George East, no not the bloke with bodies buried in his garden, that was Fred West, although George may have bodies buried in his garden, I've never asked him. Most of Georges life in France books are about Normandy, but he now lives in Brittany writing about, well, Brittany.
 His first book on Normandy was "Home and Dry in France", a extract from his book reads;
At last, it seemed, we had found our dream home in France. However, and as our agent pointed out, there were several minor obstacles and drawbacks to to the purchase of the delightful cottage. One of them was the potential and sudden appearance of the original owner’s son in a bath towel at regular intervals.
This situation provided us with another valuable example of the diversity, complexity and sometimes sheer bloody-mindedness of French property laws. One of the many dating back to the Reign of Terror (and still terrorising unwary would-be foreign buyers like us) this particular beauty aimed to stop property falling back into the clutches of the greedy ruling classes. The original idea was to stop the head of any household signing away his family’s birthright by selling the roof over their heads without full consultation and approval. In application, it now meant that virtually every blood relative, friend or casual aquaintance of the owner had to agree to the sale of any property, be it ever so humble.
In the case of the fisherman’s cottage on which we had set out hearts, the owner had secured the approval of all his family to the sale, with the exception of his eldest son. After extensive and expensive consultations with the local lawyer, mayor and anyone else in the village with an interest in the matter, a truly French compromise had been reached. The son would agree to the sale and benefit from his share of the proceeds, but insisted on retaining the right to pass through our cottage to get to the family bathroom, which happened to be at the end of the terrace the fisherman was selling off in bits.
This would give the son the rite and right of passage to stroll through our property at any time, night or day and whenever nature or a desire for a wash-and-brush-up called.
Given the traditional rural French attitude to personal hygiene, our agent reassured us, it was not likely that we would be too inconvenienced by the brawny young man strolling through our bedroom or kitchen clutching a loofah and bar of soap, but it was just as well that we should be aware of the potential problem…
   I asked George "why should anyone spend there hard earned money on your books"? He replied " So that I can continue to live the life they dream of, that's why, As my critics say, I tell it how it is in rural France, and the real stories I collect are far more outlandish than any I could make up"?  He also promised to send me a copy of his new book, although he didn't say if it came with a bill or not.
George has a blog here if you would like to read any of Georges books then click on my Amazon adverts.

1 comment:

Blu said...

I have most of George's books usually read whilst sitting in the bar on the Barfleur.