At last, the VSL (ambulance-taxi) came and I left the clinique – for a month. First stop: the notaire’s office in le Vigan. I needed to get the notaire, Maître Burtet, to produce documents on our home ownership here as part of the voluminous papers I am having to collect to back up my applications for a carte de séjour permanente and eventually (double) French nationality. Thank you Brexiteers.
Despite his grandiose title and room full of weighty legal tomes, Burtet is an affable guy in his forties and, on this very hot day, sporting shorts. He quickly understood what I wanted and produced an attestation which fitted in details like the change of houses in 2008, after Chris died, and the complication of having land which straddles two lieux-dits, Couloustrine and Pied Méjean. And he added a plan from the cadastre – the official register of land – showing clearly the two houses and their relative lieux-dits.
Interestingly he said I was not the first Brit to come to him for these documents because of Brexit. This interests me as I have yet to meet anybody round here who is doing anything: they are mostly putting their heads in the sand and hoping Brexit will go away or that they can believe all the locals who assure us we are OK.
Business done, there was the question of the bill. Would I need a receipt, he asked, and no, I replied. Then the charge would be 40 euros. It turned out he did not accept bank cards, I didn’t have a cheque book with me, and when opened my purse, found I had only 20 euros left. He laughed and said that would do – indicating with his hands that this was a simple unofficial transaction. I don’t think I need to feel very guilty as notaires make comfortable sums on property sales.