Today is a most excellent day. We have just returned from the Prefecture in the capital of our department of Creuse, Gueret, where we have been fingerprinted for our Withdrawal Agreement Residency Permits. I won’t rant about how rubbish it is that we find ourselves here, anyone that doesn’t know my position on Brexit has been hiding under a rock. We are where we are, but I’m still not accepting of it and I’m never likely to be. All of this said, the procedure was so simple and we were in and out in the merest of minutes. The in-laws were in just before us, same easy process for them, and we had a brief chat before going in for our interviews. We buzzed the intercom next to the big green metal gates outside the main prefecture building and they swung open automatically. A very helpful man behind the reception counter crossed our names off the list and motioned to us to wait on the seating provided. We were 25 minutes early after all, but we wanted to make sure we knew where we were going. Our names were called, and we had to leave this waiting area, head outside and go back up the street and in to the smaller side-door where a lady was waiting for us. We sat in one of the 3 booths and the lady returned to her desk behind the glass. Of course, I’d purchased a pack of 10 black Bic pens (our invitation e-mail specified we needed to bring with us a black pen), so she raised a slight smile at us having brought half of WH Smiths.
Our invitation said to being Passport, proof of address and a recent photo. Knowing what we were up against, we took those things, plus Craig’s contract of employment, all of our tax bills, fully translated birth certificates and our marriage certificate. The invitation also said to bring your Titre de Sejour, but we had never needed a residency permit prior to Brexit, so it wasn’t something we had, and it must be just a standard message, didn’t matter at all. We needn’t have worried. Handed over passport and a photo, followed by proof of address, then was asked to sign in the box on a piece of paper with my shiny new black pen (it was a signature I didn’t recognise as mine when I’d finished but ah well). Then the little countertop finger-print scanner was pushed through the gap in the screen, after being disinfected and wiped down. All four fingers of right hand, then left then both thumbs were scanned. I was done. Craig rapidly followed suit, and we were both in and out in under 10 minutes. Cards will be posted out and we should see them in the next few weeks – happy days.
Had a lovely little amble around Monoprix, but of course all the non-essential stuff was still cordoned off like a crime scene until the next period of confinement is lifted. Still managed to purchase a mushroom and truffle pizza and a bottle of wine for a little celebratory tea for later on.
In the bakery, I went to buy some fresh bread, and a car snack for the drive back, as it’s a 2 hour round trip. I spotted some tiny pizzas. One had olives and anchovies, the other probably speck or ham. I asked for a petit pissaladiere (the name of said anchovy pizza) and the lady said “un pate de pomme de Terre?”, as they were on the shelf above. And, instead of, like a normal person replying, no the pizza please, I just said “Oui Merci”, and proceeded to buy the thing I didn’t want. What a coward. As car snacks go, unless you were planning to gnaw on it like a fat squirrel (it’s the size of a small frisbee), not exactly practical. I do love pate de pomme de Terre though, which is essentially, potato dauphinoise pie, and a speciality of our region. Instead we smashed in some lemon shortbread biscuits that are also a speciality of the region but they are quite plain and always remind me of a biscuit crossed with a dry pastry offcut. I confess I bought them because of the pretty box rather than anything else. As they weren’t great, we also ate a packet of chocolate Speculoos biscuits for balance. Its hungry work trying to not get deported I tell you!
On the way back through our local town, I’d forgotten that it was market day, so we decided to have a wander. Every 3rd stall was full of strawberries from Dordogne and the Vendee and the smell was gorgeous. Of course we bought some, so they are on the menu tonight as well. I think I’ve decided to not grow many vegetables from seed next year and just buy the plants. They are gorgeous and inexpensive and the hassle of pricking out and repotting and your window ledges being covered for months of the year is just a pain. Will stick with growing flowers for planters and troughs but probably very few edibles I think.
The poly tunnel is almost full, just waiting for my chillis to be big enough to plant in there and then that’ll be it. I bought some broccoli plants on Monday, and my mini pumpkins, butternut squash, and loofahs are doing great on the window ledge. What I’m looking for are pea and bean plants because anything I direct sow is getting eaten by creatures, either feathered or furry. There’s a plant sale in the village on Saturday so I hope I might see some there. Fingers crossed!
Laters, V xxx