Image by airehaineo via FlickrSome of us never learn.
After complaining about Blogger recently( here), nemesis overtook me in the form of the abolition of the automatic updating of this blog on other peoples' sites.
Needless to say, thanks to my numptiness, normal service has only partially been resumed and my apologies to those still affected.
Undaunted, or foolhardy, more like, I am now going to moan about Google, which will probably result in this being the last post ever seen on this blog as it is swallowed up in some black hole in the blogosphere in an act of virtual vengeance.
I have my house up for sale and things are decidedly slow....apart from a stream of e mails from Nigerian government officials, bank directors and provincial governors who all wish to buy the house without first visiting it and give further proof of their trusting nature by offering to send me vast sums of money from which I am to subtract the price of the house and return the rest.
Now, given the strength of the Front National (1) in this area, I would like nothing better than to sell the house to a Nigerian official, to whom I would offer a reduction in price on condition that when he goes to introduce himself to the maire he takes his wife or wives with him, all parties in national costume.
And that he has someone photograph the ensuing collapse of stout party.
Unfortunately, mention of a notaire, whose intervention is as undesired by myself as by the Nigerian gentlemen, brings an end to all these negotiations...and the house is still on the market.
For the notaire is not the only obstacle. There is something much worse to deter likely buyers.
There is a farm across the road which raises the beef cattle who dot the surrounding fields when released from their hi-tech sheds at the back of the farm complex.
From my windows my view of the farm is the front part...the house and old barns grouped round the garden - and the tractor parked outside the front door at coffee time.
The new part...massive cattle sheds...is hidden behind, except for one roof which appears behind the tiled roof of the old barns.
As farms go, it is not so bad.
It doesn't smell, it is generally not noisy and since European Norms have forced him - under threat of losing his grants - to store his grain securely and remove his dung heap, its resemblance to Hamelin in the time of the Pied Piper is a thing of the distant past.
But to anyone checking out the house on Google Earth, the farm looks like an airfield capable of despatching squadrons of B52s to napalm the Loire Valley!
It looks abominable!
I know that I lost a well known american actor that way because he upbraided the realtor who had shown him the house on the web....and refused even to look at the pictures taken from the house itself showing the actual view....so how many others have been put off likewise?
They must think that if a monstrosity like that is covered by the phrase 'the farm over the road', then what else will I have omitted to mention in the particulars?
Most of the property websites have a sort of 'tick the box' for features of the house and its area, typically including things like
'How long is the drive to the nearest beach?'
To which the answer could be one hour and a half on a good day, three on a bad one and impossible if the lorry drivers/farmers/fishermen are blockading it.
Or are there tennis courts in the area?
Well, there are, both indoor and outdoor.....but where do items like this rank as against what there should be boxes for...as in
'Is there an unhealthy number of expats in the locality?'
'How often does the fish and chip van come round?´
Answer to the first...yes, but smart work with chair and whip will beat them off.
Answer to the second....it doesn't as the bar in the village is run by an adherent of the Front National who probably thinks that the deep fryer is just a high tech way of burning Joan of Arc all over again, so is not interested in hosting its' visits.
Let no one say that the Front National doesn't stick to its' principles.
The man is losing a potential fortune in sales of booze to the Brits who flock around the van like seagulls following the cross channel ferry.
'Is the house situated in a wine producing area?', which would help the wine buffs
'Are there Michelin or Gault et Millau rated restaurants nearby?' to assist the foodies.
But the important factor is never mentioned...
'How far away are the gendarmerie stations?'
The house has a unique selling point only appreciated by those who live in rural France.
It is situated on the join in the map between two different gendarmerie areas, each reporting to a different boss.
Thus neither bunch venture out down here and you stand a fair chance of returning from wine tasting and dining out unscathed by the breathalyser.
Route map of small lanes and vineyard tracks avoiding the gendarmerie's known haunts goes with the house.
It is a lovely house in a beautiful setting and I shall be sorry to leave it, but it is far too big for us since we have become decrepit and as we were refused planning permission for a smaller house in the grounds...we're not farmers, you understand...common sense says we have to up sticks while we still have time to make a new life elsewhere.
But thanks to the ghastliness of Google, it could be a long time before it finds a new owner.
(1) Front National. Right wing party who believe that France is for the French. So do all the other political parties, but they tend to conceal this part of their programme.