11th September - French paperwork is a breeze (maybe)

Now the season is almost at an end, and our last guests leave next week (unless we get a late booking); so I have turned my attention back to maintenance.  This week I decided it was time to give our house a lick of paint - so I have been painting the front of the house and the barn and it is looking really pretty.  I think we probably need some new shutters but perhaps just an attempt at maintenance will have to do this year.  It is a shame as I was keen to paint them a new colour - to make the house feel more like mine.  I suppose like a dog scents its territory - in a not so charming analogy. 

The rest of my time has been spent trying to sort out the mess I seem to be tied up in with regard to paperwork.  Upon arriving in France I felt quite pleased that the phone/internet and electricity was all in hand.  They were expecting us.  We were ready to do the meter readings etc.  Great stuff.  Of course, having English helplines went a long way to dealing with this.  Anyhow, I was feeling ready to brave some of the other systems and utilities.  I decided to pay an accountant to sort out the business side and tax regime - in hindsight a fantastic idea.  I contacted the local Mairie for advice on the water bills.  Seemed ok.  I emailed said authority and sent the meter readings.  They came out and sent me bills.  All good.  I sent back my direct debit forms.  Job done.  Or not.  2 months later they came back.  I had made an error.  Fine - I corrected it and sent it back.  2 months later they came back.  I had made another error.  Fine.  I corrected it and sent it back.  2 weeks later they were threatening to switch off my water.  Okay, so an emergency trip with my neighbour and a handful of cash was made to the nearest office in Pons.  They laughed heartily and said I wouldn't be cut off.  Oh!  I sorted out the direct debit and offered to pay.  "Non" as they so often say.  Payment apparently would now be taken in February.  Oh!  This week 3 payments were taken from my account.  Oh!  Today I received a letter saying I am being taken to court for non payment.  Oh!  Another trip to Pons is booked for Monday with fluent neighbour again.  Good excuse for a coffee and a trip to the lawnmower shop as I have sheared off some partsOh!

Whilst all this was occurring I was also trying to transfer over my child benefit.  I had a letter from the UK explaining I no longer received them there.  In fact I had two.  Great stuff.  Again, there were several long and quite frankly confusing communications.  I sent my letters from the UK government.  I send our passports.  I sent our birth certificates.  I sent my business information.  I sent my accounts.  I send our birth certificates again.  I sent my accounts again.  Now, not only am I being sued by the French water authority - the government have decided I am a "stateless refugee".  Oh!

Perhaps French paperwork isn't such a breeze.


Stateless in France (you gotta laugh)