The autojumble at Le Grand Pressigny
Antony was brilliant and got everything organised in super quick time. Estate agents' fees are substantial in France and are paid buy the buyer. Hence all the cloak and dagger stuff about properties for sale - many agents will get you to sign a document to say you have seen the house with them so that they get the fees, not one of the other agents who also have it on their books.
Over the weekend we entertained ourselves by doing some sightseeing. On Saturday we went to Chinon and treated ourselves to a nice lunch in one of the many smart restaurants there. I think we both needed to see the town one more time before we committed ourselves to buying the cottage in Le Grand Pressigny - Chinon had been after all our first choice for location but we had abandoned it when we couldn't find a suitable house.
On Sunday we went to the vide -grenier at Chaumussay. This was a big event and in a very pretty village. We had a great time weighing up all the stuff that was for sale - there was an awful lot of junk but as always there were some really nice things and, now that we had somewhere to put it, we were very tempted. Somehow we managed to be sensible and resist. The ink wasn't dry on the paper yet.
The village of Chaumussay
By Monday morning we were feeling very nervous. So many people had told us tales of how complicated the buying of a house in France could be but I thought it couldn't be that difficult otherwise nobody would do it. And we already knew personally several people who had done it and lived to tell the tale. To pass the time and take our minds off it a bit, we went to Loches in the morning, had a look around the chateau and a good lunch to put us in the right mood.
Loches from the chateau
We arrived at the office to find Antony, his colleague Phillipe, a local restauranteur who spoke good English and had been asked to come and interpret and last but not least, Mme Beranger the vendor. They were all looking very serious and I thought for a fleeting moment that Nick might make a run for it. But no, we sat down and got straight on with the business.
The bridge at Descartes
All the details were explained to us by Phillipe in French and then the restauranteur in excellent English. Every page of the huge document, the compromis de vente, had to be signed and annotated by both of us with the words "prix compris" - price understood. Then Mme Beranger had to do the same. This took quite a while and then - it was over. There was lots of hand shaking and then we were out on the pavement in the sunshine. We said goodbye to Antony, congratulated him on doing a fantastic job and headed back to the gite to pack.
So that was it.
Leaving Portsmouth as we set off on this adventure two weeks before, I never thought it would actually happen. Not so soon anyway. We had bought a holiday home in France.
Grande Rue at Le Grand Pressigny
We had discovered a corner of France that we had never noticed before. We had enjoyed staying in a fabulous gite. We had glimpsed peoples' lives as we were shown around their homes. And we had bought a little house of our own and made some new friends.