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Archive for April, 2011

hello Baby Piglet

Am posting from phone in hospital so no idea how this will come out!

Baby Piglet was born on her French due date of 28th April at 1613, weighing 3.540 kg and measuring 49 cms.

She is absolutely adorable and so far is a complete darling to look after despite being born with a fever!

Not as big as expected it turnsthe reason for my huge tummy was because she was a stargazer and wouldn’t drop.
Her not dropping properly has something to do with my tailbone which is now either bruised or broken, meaning that my bad luck is continuing!

But that doesn’t matter as Mr Piglet is doing a fantastic job of looking after her and me!

I have posted picture on twitter which you can find by searching hashtag #babypiglet. Can’t see how to add them on here from my phone…

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Labour False Alert

7 hours of hellish, back breaking contractions last night turned out to be a false alert despite them being regular. Apparently my body is not ripe for Baby Piglet to come out just yet despite me being term and the hospital preferred to stop them rather than induce me. Am absolutely gutted and have to go back in two days as I’m overdue and they need to keep an eye on me. They’ve told me to prepare myself for more trips to the hospital as it looks like this is going to be long and drawn out… like everything else in my life just now :(

ps. Comments are off, I have no idea why, WordPress won’t let me turn them back on. Sorry!

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40 weeks

So here we are, a date that I thought I would never make – 40 weeks! It’s 40 weeks today that Baby Piglet has been growing inside my tummy and despite numerous early warnings by the medical professionals that I’d give birth early and enforced bed rest, we’re still here!

If I was in the UK or the US, today would be my due day, but I’m not, I’m in Franceand my official French due date isn’t until the 28th (Thursday). Until then, none of the French medical professionals will speak to me about serving her with an eviction notice, yet in the meantime my tummy continues to grow and I get more and more uncomfortable:

40 weeks baby bump

I was pretty darn sure that I’d have had her by Easter, so much so that I’d bought a cute bunny hat for Easter photos!

Now it’s just a question of waiting and hoping. If she’s not here by Thursday then I’ll be back to the hospital to talk about getting induced as I’m already showing some signs of pre-eclampsia and under surveillance for that.

Come on Baby Piglet! We’re all here waiting for you! Xxx

Ps. The house situation hasn’t moved much over the past week due to the holidays, hoping for an update tomorrow.

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Little Miss Piglet

The clock is ticking and Little Miss Piglet could be here any day soon! I’m in full blown nesting mode which is really hard when you’re not in your own home. I have re-arranged parts of the in-laws house, scrubbed the floors and the bathrooms, dragged Mr Piglet to IKEA at 8am on Saturday morning to buy furniture and ironed countless baby clothes, burp clothes and bits and pieces without setting fire to anything.

There’s no way now that we have any chance in being our own home (even if rented) by the time Little Miss Piglet arrives, so we have resolved ourselves to making the best of a bad situation. I’ve also had to wave goodbye to giving birth in the birthing centre I had chosen in Lyon and on Sunday we went to check out the hospital in Valence. Thank goodness we did as I wouldn’t have fancied trying to find the birthing suites when in active labour, especially as it is 45 minutes drive from where we’re staying in rural Provence!

I’ve taken great pleasure today in arranging all Little Miss Piglet’s 0-3 month clothes in her new wardrobe which we bought from IKEA on Saturday. I just hope she loves clothes as much as her Mummy!

Contractions have been coming regularly now and are getting more and more painful. A crazy midwife whom I visited last week for a check up called me an adventurer (if only she knew the half of it!) and said that it could be any time now, everything is ready. She also said that Little Miss Piglet is BIG – boy, I’m worried now…

Last night was a full moon and they’re supposed to cause an increased possibility of labour in the following days and according to my biorhythm chart I should give birth on Wednesday or Thursday this week:

Biorhythm on my ownBiorhythm with Mr Piglet

I doubt I’ll be able to blog when it happens as internet access from my phone is not great, but if you’re on Twitter and want to follow progress I’ve created a hashtag #babypiglet which you can follow for updates. Simply search #babypiglet on the Twitter search and you’ll get my latest tweets! Maybe it’ll be a live labour, who knows!

 

The House

The house, the house… where to start? Yesterday we were supposed to complete on the purchase and today we were supposed to move in, obviously we haven’t otherwise I wouldn’t be sitting here writing this!

We’ve not had any official news from our notary since the devastating call we received and we can only deem him as being absolutely useless! I am at despair as to what to do about him but we’ve decided for our own sanity to seek information directly from concerned parties in the meantime.

I was so fed up of not having any news last week that I rung the estate agent and vendors notary directly, seeking clarification on what was going on as I was in despair at the thought of not knowing anything until May 15th. It transpires that our notary had grossly exaggerated the gravity of the situation and that whilst the SAFER had used their right of pre-emption it was on behalf of a local farmer who claimed to exploit the land. We were told that this isn’t true and that the farmer boy has to prove that he exploits it or has reason to want to exploit it and that he’s not after the house anyway. So it may be that we can find a compromise!

As we’re beginning to understand what the countryfolk are like, I can bet that he is someone the present owners annoyed and he is now seeking vengeance by trying to mess up their sale! It all sounds so very like a story you’d see on a farmer boy TV show that it has to be that – especially when you take into consideration how awful the current owners are and how they have treated us. If I wasn’t so desperate to buy I’d say it serves them right and is the bad karma they deserve!

I’m keeping my swollen toes and fingers crossed that we’ll have some news after the Easter bank holiday, one way or the other, I’m past the point of caring just as long as we can move on with our lives.

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Mr Piglet and I wish to thank you all for your kind words and support following my post yesterday. We are overwhelmed by the number of messages of support and advice that we have received here, on twitter and via email. Really, it is wonderful to know that you are all there and that good people exist in this world. Thank you so much everyone, you’ve helped us get through the weekend and find some positive energy.

This morning we started off with much higher spirits, determined to find a rental property quickly so that as soon as we got confirmation from the SAFER later this week that the sale is blocked, we could move in and get on with our lives hopefully before Little Miss Piglet makes her grand appearance.

Alas, as I’m beginning to expect now, things are not so simple.

I wish I could just go back here for the next few weeks whilst everything sorts itself out.

First of all, we still can’t find out when the meeting with the SAFER people is. Our notary does not know and the vendor’s notary is closed today. We tried to call the SAFER directly but no luck either. So no further advanced there.

We then started calling the rental properties I’d found on the internet. There are only a handful available so it didn’t take long. Because the size of house we are looking to rent is large and the area rural, they are few and far between so we only had five on the list. The first two places we called were no longer available and then the third place was still available but the guy was totally booked up for visits today and tomorrow and was expecting it to be let within the next few days. He proposed a slot this pm at 4 and Mr Piglet and I were all set to jump in the car and go up and visit but then we spoke to the notary again.

I wanted to check the financial and legal aspect as to where to stood with regards to the sale now that the SAFER are involved and the notary was calling us back to explain. In our panic on Friday we had overlooked this and didn’t really know exactly what our position was but before committing to a rental property I wanted to be sure as we can ill afford to lose our deposit money or pay for two removals right now.

I should have guessed that it was time for another BOMBSHELL! The SAFER have until May 15th to decide what to do reference the sale, so whatever the outcome of the meeting this week, it could be a month before they make a final decision and we get official confirmation whether or not we can still buy. Until we know that, we’re not really at liberty to commit to a rental place so we’re stuck in limbo.

We have loosely considered getting a gite with internet access this morning which we could move into immediately, but right now I don’t think I could stomach a move to another “temporary” place with furniture that isn’t mine. What’s more, with the Easter school holidays, a two bedroom gite is well over 1500 Euros per month sometimes far more, if we can find something available…

So, for the time being, at least for the next two weeks we’ve decided to stay put, I’m going to concentrate on keeping calm and we’re going to go to a nearby spa for a few days to relax.

Hopefully things will become clearer in before Little Miss Piglet is born, but right now, we’re stuck “living in limbo”.

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Our bad luck has continued and words have betrayed me ever since the latest news in the house saga came in on Friday morning. Since the bad news came in, I have not been able to stop crying, teary fits of hysteria have become common place and I feel like a butterfly floating around with no-where to go. I will be 38 weeks pregnant as of tomorrow. I don’t think I have ever been at this level of desperation and I am clutching at the ropes right now.

Friday started pretty well, a gorgeous sunny morning with record breaking temperatures. I’d planned to spend the day relaxing on the terrace, soaking up some rays and reading the baby books I’d purchased. Fairly early on though, I could see that Mr Piglet was agitated and was trying to come to terms with something. He had one of those looks on his face and was flitting around, trying to occupy himself, as if he wanted to tell me something but couldn’t bring himself to do it. After nearly 12 years together I can pretty much read him like a book so I suggested that he tell me whatever he needed to say and I promised I wouldn’t hit him.

As it turned out, I could have killed someone but he wasn’t to be the one and I am still working out who it will have to be today. Our notaire had called to advise us that the purchase of the property wouldn’t be able to complete on the 18th April after all. The SAFER had utilized their right of pre-emption on the land and property and had forcefully stopped the sale and purchase going through!

What on earth is this all about you’re probably wondering? Well, the SAFER is a French government, supposedly non-profit organization whose job it is to preserve the French countryside and look out for agricultures interests. As part of its role, it can stop a sale going through if there is someone with an agricultural interest in the property or land that is being sold.

Each time a property with agricultural land is being sold the SAFER must be notified. You can pay (or as Fly from “French Leave” put it “bribe”) the SAFER to treat your request quicker than normal as we did by writing a cheque (for a couple of hundred Euros BTW) and supposedly get a quicker response, or you can wait two months for them to come back to you and find out whether or not they want to buy instead.

For most property purchase this is just a formality, a piece of paper that you have to obtain, just like obtaining the piece of paper from the Town Hall regarding their right to pre-empt. Never in a million years did anyone expect the SAFER to utilize their right and to put an end to the sale!

As the notaire tried to explain to a devastated Mr Piglet, the SAFER had (at the very, very last minute) notified the vendors notaire that they would be putting a stop to the sale as they had a “paysan” (farmer) who wanted to buy. The notaire explained to Mr Piglet that they could impose a lower sales price on the vendors, forcefully stopping the sale of the property to us and if the vendors weren’t in agreement then the case would have to be presented to the Tribunal de Grande Instance (TGI) and it would be up to them to decide. Being familiar with the French legal system (I have had a business court case that has been going on for nearly five years now), this spelt things out pretty clear to us: we were in the s**t!

The land in question


According to our notaire there is a meeting next week between the SAFER and the vendors and we will try and attend also with legal representation as we are sure that there is something fishy going on:

1. the property we’re buying has only 1.4 hectares of land (not all of which is considered agricultural) so we cannot see what interest the property truly represents to a farmer or how the land needs to be preserved

2. the immediate surrounding land are all residential

3. the adjacent residential buildings for the most part are all new builds (the small hamlet contains properties from the same era as the farmhouse) but the properties adjacent to the land are all new. This leads one to believe that someone may have their eye on the land for building purposes

4. there was some suspicion back in March as the Town Hall utilized their right to pre-empt the purchase but then quickly withdrew it when it was queried by the vendors notary. No-one knows the exact reason they gave (as they didn’t give one!) which is fishy as now it’s been pre-empted again but by the SAFER! Could this be linked to point 3?

Writing this has been quite therapeutic as the facts are in black and white – we are stuffed unless we can prove one way or another that something dodgy is going on and try and fight it. Of course if everything is legitimate then we must also have a plan b so we have two things to work on:

1. Find out when the SAFER meeting is and seek legal representation (a lawyer) urgently. I have told Mr Piglet that I will look after this as I need to have some role in what is going on to make me feel as if I am doing something rather than just sitting back and accepting the crap that is being thrown at me.

2. Find somewhere to live! Little Miss Piglet is due to arrive and we cannot continue living with my in-laws, 2 hours from our friends in Lyon! We need to find alternative accommodation and quickly! Mr Piglet is going to start hunting this week for a rental property that can accommodate us, our furniture and the baby as soon as she arrives. Just what we needed!

So there you have it! The latest saga in our quest to purchase a property in the French countryside and after months and months trying, we’re still not any closer to realizing our dream. Rather off putting isn’t it? Mafia and Barons spring to mind, maybe I’ll write a book when this is all over, who knows…

PS. Buying French property isn’t usually this hard – our first property purchase was easy and took just two months.

PPS.
Find out more about the SAFER here

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Being a Piggy Piglet

I’m not French and certainly don’t have a cute baby bump as sported by the majority of French Mama’s. I do however have a fantastic portable table tray, ideal for eating out when I can’t get close enough to the dining table…

Greedy Piglet - 36 weeks + 5 days

I’ve spent a lot of time moaning and feeling sorry for myself lately so on Saturday Mr Piglet and the In-Laws took me out for a nice meal and I ate the BIGGEST ice cream on the menu! I felt a lot better afterwards :)

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