Thanks Richard for your kind words. In our case it isn't an option I'm afraid to remain in France as my mother's dementia, while very bad, does still allow her to recognise me (sometimes she doesn't of course) and to miss me and ask for me. We did place her is a good home for a few weeks and the care was excellent. It is, unfortunately, too expensive to place her there permanently and the kind of home we could afford really isn't an option. I wouldn't want to leave her all alone anyway as she has no other family.
We did bring my mother in law to live in France and she passed away here - she wanted to go back virtually before the ferry had landed. Finding a message on my answerphone from the hospital telling us she'd died wasn't something I'd recommend.
On a happier note with the property - it does seem that you are allowed two years grace after you leave so we can still take advantage of the twenty years or so we have lived over here (I'm still saying over here although I'm currently in the UK as I havn't adjusted yet - looking out at a small back yard instead of walking out into a field takes some getting used to).
And there are a couple of advantages to living in the UK - the bread doesn't go rock hard the day after you've bought it and the supermarkets are very well stocked even though most people are very short of money these days. And the ADSL is much cheaper and faster!!!!
I've also noticed that houses for renovating in France can now be bought at much nearer to the price we paid for ours so maybe one day we will be able to return. (If we can't find a buyer of course we definitely will be coming back).
God Bless and I hope that everything works out very well for everyone who is still in France.