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Local rules

On my morning walk I bumped into my neighbour, Yves, one of Bréau’s deputy mayors, and picked up some useful information – about septic tanks and road signposts.

I told Yves that I had just had the septic tank for my gite inspected and as usual it had failed. I don’t have to do anything about this now, but if I ever sold the house, an entirely new system, costing at least 10000 euros, would have to be installed. And given my gite is built on rock beside the road, I’m not even sure if there is the right sort of space going downhill for the required drain system.

Soon after we moved into the original house we were told that in due course a mains drains system – tout à l’égout – would be built along our road. So we were not too worried that our system was unsatisfactory. The date for this kept being postponed, and as Yves confirmed today, we are unlikely to ever have mains drains. This map shows in red the roads which have mains drains, and in dotted orange, those not yet been constructed. (My main house is P and the gite is C).

Yves told me we will never get mains drains. There is no more money left and anyhow, although Pied Méjean and Couloustrine now have lots of houses, they all have their own septic tanks. My gite happens to be one of the few properties with inappropriate land for meeting the strict drainage requirements. So there is not even the chance of a local communal septic system – and as Yves’ sister, listening to all this, said: who would want to receive the ‘merde’ of everybody… …

Ah well. I filed that under a problem to be thought of in the future – maybe when the children want to sell the place! I moved on to street signs and house numbers – a subject which I know Yves has strong views on.

The commune has been working on a project of naming roads and giving houses numbers in order to make it easier for deliveries and medical and other visits. Even with the coming of GPS, it is a nightmare for drivers to track down an address along anonymous, narrow winding country roads.

When, I asked Yves, is the road sign for Pied Méjean going to be replaced. Every time anyone gets online deliveries, the drivers invariably have to ring (sometimes several times) to find our houses.

Couloustrine and Pied Méjean are ‘lieux-dits’ -the name for old very local areas, including hamlets but also uninhabited places. Yves told me that signposting lieux-dits was a departmental responsibility not a communal one, and that the commune was constantly asking for these to be installed. But – light at the end of the tunnel – the road where my main house (P) is was recently given a name by the commune: Chemin du Pied Méjean, and the commune is responsible for communal signs, so I might just one day get a little sign at the start of our road!

We moved on to house numbers. Last year one of Yves colleagues produced a plan which replaced the lieux-dits with the departmental road number and gave our houses numbers measuring the number of metres from a particular point. My gite address would have been 1935 D232. Yves blew a fuse at the idea of the historic lieux-dits being erased, and now the lieux-dits have been restored and numbers are local. So the address of my gite (C) is now 7 Couloustrine. (My main house is now 4 chemin du Pied Méjean). Meanwhile, I have put a page on my website to help visitors track me down.

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