Himself is helping out the British expat network today. It’s expected. It’s what happens when you go to live in other people’s countries. Whether you thought you wanted it or not.
I’ve heard some expats say that when they were looking for a home away from the UK, they wanted to immerse themselves in their chosen foreign way of life. They didn’t want to be part of some clique, some dreadful enclave of British, gin-swigging expats, meeting for golf or bridge every Tuesday afternoon and boring the pants off each other at endless summer barbecues. Besides, they would tell you, we speak the language. We don’t need to be surrounded by Brits all the time. Why move to France, Spain, wherever, if you don’t want to live the French, Spanish, whatever way of life?
And then they need a tap fixing. Or the computer’s gone down. So they get on the telephone and they make the appointment with appropriate technician and he tells them he can come a week on Thursday. Not before. He’s the only plumber, computer fixer on the island, Senora, the only one in the village, Madame. There’s another one lives near the city but he wouldn’t be able to come until Christmas.
That’s where the expat network comes in. It makes sense to skill-share and help each other out of a hole.
Himself is on the airport run this morning. Beziers Cap d’Agde. They call it the sunny airport. Mr O’Leary brings tens of thousands of passengers from Luton, Bristol and Manchester and Stuttgart, Paris, Oslo. Flybe comes in from Southampton.
And, of course, all the people who have family in those catchment areas go back to visit and for weddings and christenings etc. Including me and himself. Why pay 50 euro for a taxi when the expat network can step in? You can’t have the same kind of reciprocal arrangement with your native neighbours. They and their families aren’t flying in and out all the time. We see a lot of cars with British plates in the airport car park. We know they haven’t lived here long enough yet to re-register the vehicle for French plates. Their numbers continue growing and the airport car park took over another field. They had to extend the runway, too and build a new terminal to accommodate all the extra passengers. When they sort out the access road, it will be better.
Beziers is a beautiful city in this, the fastest growing region in the whole of France. Even the French want to live here, it seems. The climate is, well, Mediterranean. It’s like Provence but not as expensive. Beziers is close to the coast. Here’s one of the nearest beaches.
It’s good to know you’re going to get a proper summer each year. You can plan ahead. You know you’ll be warm enough on a summer evening. But a Mediterranean climate doesn’t mean it’s hot all year round. Winters are short but can be very sharp. We burn a lot of wood from December to March.
The log delivery man tips your winter heating into the road outside your gate. That’s when the expat community comes into its own again. Many helping hands barrow away the logs and build the stock pile for a few beers and a bacon sandwich. There’s a much bigger expat community offering help and advice at http://languedoc.angloinfo.com/