One of the best things about living here is that there are people to do most things for you. When you go to the petrol station, a nice man (yes, it is always a man) fills up your car. At the supermarket, there is a packer to do your packing, at home you have a housemaid, or la bonne as the French call them, and possibly a cook as well as a driver.
The driver will deal with everything to do with your car, from taking it to be serviced to washing it. La Bonne does all the washing, ironing and cleaning. The cook shops for food and cooks. And between them all they run around doing errands such as collecting dry cleaning and depositing children around town.
But there are some chores it seems you can never leave behind: admin chores. I am inundated at the moment with pesky paperwork relating to our house purchase in France, as well as sorting out the children’s visas now that Rupert has changed jobs. I am not allowed to put them on my visa (being a mere woman), but I am of course still allowed to do the paperwork.
Not only do I have about a million forms to fill in for the French house, but we have to come up with all sorts of bits of paper from bank statements to salary slips and even our marriage certificate. This place is notoriously bad on the admin front, but I have to say it has nothing on the French system. Just looking at the list of admin chores ahead of me made me almost want to give up on buying la belle maison and never go to France again. But not quite.
Copyright: Helena Frith Powell 2012