I bought our present house here in the Clunysois in Southern Burgundy as an ark for our family. We have since discovered water!!
We have installed solar panels and geothermic heating, but we still need electricity from the grid. We have one and a half hectares and grow a lot of our own vegetables and have planted an orchard. We have chickens. I am a professional cook and can make a good meal from very little.
We are still totally dependant upon the markets and our investments for our pension income, as we worked for ourselves and have not the backing of a civil service pension.
Because we are living in rural France, the medical services are not as good as in the cities, but will that matter when there is no money to pay for them?
Greed has brought us to this pass. We did not borrow any money, except for our mortgage and now we do not owe anybody any money, yet we are still waiting for the "snagging list" to be completed on the work we have done to this house.
We live in an extremely beautiful part of France and we have been welcomed here and included in social gatherings and have made friends with people we would have been glad to have had as friends in UK.
However, the EU has opened its doors to countries that have been less than financially honest and whose population do not like paying their way, and I have to include France in this, they are not amongst those who willingly make fair tax declarations.
Most European countries have been living on borrowed money for far too long and people have followed their example. Now is the time of reckoning and the populations of certain contries have to face up to the fact that their governments have let them down.
I do not think that bleeding a country dry is the best way to bring it back into the fold.
The Greek man who burnt himself to death rather than live as he was being made to reminds me of the Polish priest who, by his self-immolation, brought about the revolution in Poland.
We need to face up to what has been done by governemnts who have let the banks run riot, let personal debt get totally out of contol and have mortgaged our future.
We will all pay the price, no matter how careful we have been to manage our personal finances and not let our own families run into debt.
We can still wonder at the beaty of the natural world, but we do need to be aware that this is a fragile balance and could very well go the way of the economies of the Euro zone.