Wednesday, 4 February 2009

Dream on. Or not.

A couple of days ago, one of those glossy English magazines devoted to the idea of moving to France dropped, out of the blue, into my postbox. Never being one to look a gift read in the mouth I flipped idly through it after lunch today. Pretty pictures, the odd interesting article. After a while, though, I began to feel reality slip away from beneath my feet, and I began to wonder whether I and the magazine's publishers inhabit the same reality. A few random quotations:

Try to visit the area you plan to buy in before you buy.
Hmm. Good idea. Wouldn't have thought of that.

It could be useful to pick up a copy of the local newspaper to see what's happening in your chosen area.
Or that.

France isn't being affected by the economic crisis.
Oh really? Try telling that to the people losing their jobs (like some of those in the paper and textile industries here in Ariège, for instance), or to some of the estate agents here that are closing down overnight, or to those desperately trying to get a loan to buy their first house ... France isn't being as badly affected by la crise, because unlike the UK it hasn't based its whole economy on virtual money. But affected it is. According to an opinion poll yesterday, 62% of French people believe the government isn't doing enough to counteract the effects of la crise, and 61% hope that the unions will call on people to repeat last week's action.

There's a strong chance that sterling will surge against the euro and may well hit 1.40 during 2009.
Umm - no comment. 

Get away from it all.
Enticing, to a degree, maybe. And a good reason for taking a holiday, for sure. But moving yourself lock, stock and barrel to France to get away from everything you don't like in the UK? No way. For heaven's sake come here for positive reasons, not negative ones, otherwise in two years time everything will start to look greener back on the other side of the fence again. And be aware that wherever you go, you'll take yourself with you ...

Live the dream.
I came across no less than five instances of this little phrase (actually, there may have been more, but by now I was fast losing the will to live at all, let alone live the dream ...). I have an irrational hatred of this particular expression, and of the concept behind it. It's so - well, fluffy. It implies a move into a society where life is perfect: where the sun always shines, bureaucracy always smiles at you, there's no discrimination, no poverty, no unemployment, no exclusion, no depression, no suicide, no teenage binge drinking ... Let's be clear here. To live in France is to live in the real world, not in a world of perfect fantasy. Yes, I love it here, but it's not (thank goodness) utopia.  

No, I'd be no good at selling glossy magazines.

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