Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Form frustration.....

Back to reality and a job both Neil and I have taken turns in putting off - the dreaded planning application. We want to turn a hangar at the back of our house (luckily already on the cadastre (plan) of the house as an existing structure)into a workshop for Neil, so that we can take all his equipment out of the room that will one day be our lounge.
Why oh why are these forms so complicated? - I need an idiots guide to completing this form so that I can have permission (not to need permission) for this structure.

I suppose the equivalent forms in the UK may be just as complicated, but at least I would have half a chance of understanding some of the technical lingo.

A French friend of ours is exasperated at our wish to do everything by the book and swears that as the only power the officials have is to say no, we shouldn't give them the opportunity to say it by not asking in the first place, but we hear such horror stories of Brits in France taking the absolute piss and we do not wish to join them.

We must also knuckle down and improve our French. We have been invited for aperos soon, and I think Neil and I should have some practice beforehand so we appear more fluent. The biggest challenge is still thinking on our feet when we are asked something unexpected but we are slowly improving. I had quite a complicated conversation with a delivery company on the phone yesterday when I wasn't expecting it, and I wouldn't have been able to do that when we arrived two and a half years ago.


  1. We have engaged the services of Palma, an excellent translator and a 'go into battle' for you person - namely with Orange, and Veolia, and now seeing if we can get our campervan registered. VW says not. But she seems to think she can find a loophole in the system.
    In regards to planning apps: Bruno, our French neighbour says that if you don't tell planning officials what you are doing then they leave you alone, but if you do tell them then you are making work for them so they will make work for you! I agree with doing things by the book, but it would seem there are various 'books' you can go by!
    Forms: Yuk! Used to leave them in a 'to do' pile in the UK, which spells disaster for our French forms!
    Sometimes I think I am coming along in French, othertimes the words seem to have 'gone away' completely. Today I did my first consultation for someone who needed help. She had no English, but we managed. I found drawing sketches to illustrate what I was putting across helped, as did writing the words themselves down. Mind you, I keep on thinking that I could have done better, but she seemed satisfied, and even gave me an unasked for donation.
    I think it was very brave of you to tackle an official-type phone call though - I usually yell for Hubs!

  2. I expect your French is better than you think it is...we all dwell on the bits we can't think of rather than remembering that we are getting on a lot better than we did previously!
    With you on the wretched forms, though. It all used to be done on the back of the maire's cigarette packet, which arrived at the same solutions without all the hassle.

    Don't take the advice not to tell them. It might work for local guys, it might not- in the long run - for you.
    Should you ever sell, the notire will draw up a description of the property and if he is anything like the usual dopes won't just copy the old one...then there's a whole problem with you hving to apply for retrospective (non) permission before you can finaise the sale. And what's all this in aid of?
    Tax fonciere, that's what.
    French farmers don't move, so they don't get the problem.

  3. Vera - unasked for donations are always very welcome in this house - be it monetary or in the form of jam or pickle or whatever and Helen, we will do things the right way - however tempting not to is!!


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