Friday, February 12, 2010

The Best Compromise

They call us Flatlanders.  We are people not born in Vermont and one never lives here long enough to change this status.  With few exceptions we arrived thinking that we would stroll in, buy an old farm with a beautiful barn and 10 - 20 pastured and forested acres. All of this would be along a rolling brook, sweeping views across the valleys to the mountains just beyond, and everything would be in great shape. Very few of us found this dream homestead. And those that did often found leaking window sills, rotten timbers, barking dogs and a road passing the doorstep. So, many of us chose to settle for being closer to civilization and a modified version of our neo-hippy dreams. 

I have not heard of a word for interlopers into villages in France. In Bourdeilles, they call us "the other Americans", because there were two here before us. All of us foreign adventurers start by looking at the property listings for country farms. In the Dordogne these farms are in the middle of nowhere. But the houses often come with an attached house that belongs to your neighbor.  The one with the constantly barking dogs. Or, "What a quaint sawmill across the lane." Can you hear the saws going all day? (Tom actually wanted to buy one of these!) And then there are the gypsies. People you don’t even know warn you that the gypsies will empty the house within the first week. 

With a little of the deja vu feeling of moving to Vermont, one’s eye starts to scan the listings for more urbane houses. Wouldn’t that be the prudent thing to do if one is not here 6 months of the year? Wouldn’t we get to meet more people? Wouldn’t it save Susan lots of time in keeping Tom supplied in bread? And so we ended up with the cutest house right smack dab in the middle of the cutest village in all of France. Lots of neighbors to keep an eye on things and lots of characters to get to know. Best compromise we ever made.

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