Monday, 4 February 2013
On Saturday we signed the compromis for this unprepossessing village house. I love it already.
It is owned by the only son of the elderly couple who died about 14 years ago. From then it has been used as a weekend/holiday home occasionally. It is a rarity in that it hasn't been done up in the past. There is very little of the concrete and brown tile additions that are so much part of local french style! The man who owns it is very ill in Bordeaux and apart from moments of lucidity when he ups the agreed price, he sends his wife to do the business deals.
We met Madame on Saturday. A tiny, frail, french lady who had had a 2 1/2 hour train journey from Bordeaux to sign the papers. She comes every fortnight to see her father (93) in the local hospital and have lunch with her brother who farms locally. Her husband has had 3 strokes and is on kidney dialysis twice a week and can't be left over night. We didn't like to tell her that she didn't need to be there to sign the papers and that it could all have been done by post (or email) at this stage.
We did our best to be the good guys - even though sick husband had upped the price by 10,000 at the last minute - and took her to her brothers and only pushed slightly for the timescale to be as quick as possible. It is so important in village life to be seen as good people. Everyone local that we meet knows the house by the elderly couple's name and are sorry for the owner's wife.
At the moment, the house is only lived in on the street level, a series of interconnecting rooms. We plan to open up the lovely attic space for two bedrooms and put stairs down to the cellar to make an entrance to the large garden from the back of the house. At the moment you have to go round by the street. The back of the house has stupendous views and a huge garden and the town is just up the hill.