Communal Living - Oh What a Joy!


(Suzanne Fitzgerald) #1

So we’re into week 2 of having ‘nos pieds dans deux pays’ and it’s going well. I’m thinking lots about what is going on back home in Herault but am reassured by my neighbour ‘pas de nouvelle’, oh well nothing much then. Not sure what I expect to be happening in a village of around 1000 people but given the number of ‘Allo Allos’ we have, its surprisingly active.



Here in London we’re in an apartment in docklands. It’s very city living. It reminds me of being at university though as we have neighbours on all sides, above and below. Very strange when you hear bumps in the night but I’m getting used to it and have now stopped jumping up thinking the eldest has fallen out of her bed.



We met our neighbours on one side last weekend, a young couple who had just bought their extortionately price apartment next door and were moving in. I’m sure they were regretting it when they saw our two little ones were living next door. To be fair, our girls are quiet with the exception of giggle time for the eldest and when the youngest decides she doesn’t want to sleep the latter isn’t too common an occurance.



One bug bear my hubby has is chairs scraping on the floor, all the apartments have wooden floors and everyone seems to scrape their chairs. Much to his annoyance. DIY is another funny one, what DIY can one have in a new build apartment done to a fairly high standard? It bemuses me, the banging and clattering and you try to work out where it comes from but you can’t. Ah Communal Living.



And the car lift, oh dear! There is no way I am going to use it for fear of crashing into it. Well I don’t need to worry about that as some other residents have successfully crashed into both car lifts and they are now both out of service. Our car is buried 2 floors below the apartments with no means of getting it out. Can I get a refund on our road tax I wonder?



Communal living has it’s plus points too though…



We have a concierge who deals with all deliveries even if you are out. This is great as I do a lot of my shopping online and I’m not tied to staying in for deliveries. Fab! Also I’ve rediscovered Ocado who deliver straight into my kitchen - it’s super for 6.99 a month I can have endless deliveries without having to lug any carrier bags anywhere or risk the pushchair toppling over through the weight of my spuds. If i’m not in then they will deliver into a communal cold room. Excellent. I can see why all these youngsters love this city living lark. Loads of time for partying as everything else is done for you.



Picard is the closest to this for us in France as none of the supermarkets in our area deliver. I’m not saying this is a negative thing at all, before hundreds of you shout ‘but we love that about France’. I do too, I love the markets, I like having a little shop to call into for convenience but I can’t do a full shop there - it would be far too expensive and they don’t do Jumbo boxes of Pampers. So for practical reasons I like the idea of home delivery but I’m happy to enjoy this luxury in the UK and make the most of the market experience and monthly supermarket shop in France.



I guess my conclusion is this, change is good. Communal living is so far a positive experience but it makes me appreciate how much we can have for so much less over in France. I’m not talking financials although that is true too but I’m talking home. A bigger house, a garden, privacy. So when I get irritated by the kids over the road singing ‘I will Survive’ on their karaoke set in July, I will smile. That’s village life.