I have had a base in my village here in Brittany since 1972. I maintain that it is not necessarily a typical village in that sometimes quite unusual things happen. So it has been this week.
The events started last Thursday afternoon when I had a visit from the Maire. He asked me if I would mind assisting as a French guy who is building a house who needed an agreeement with an English lady land owner who has a plot of land in the village that a house could be built. He needed some drainage he needed across her site. I said OK.
The Maire explained what was needed and I said that there should be a written
proposal which we could take to the English lady and explain and if she was happy it
could be agreed by the commune and by her. He provided a draft
on Friday morning which we amended slighly together and he had the original altered and by
arrangement we went to see the lady. I translated it and explained it very carefully (I have a construction background but am retired) and she was happy and both parties signed and he took two copies and she kept one.
She had never had any approach from the person who was building the house at
all and until then neither she nor I knew anything about it.
On Friday evening a young woman we know slightly visited our house and said
that there was a big problem with the agreement (I did not know she was
involved) and could we go to the English lady's house as "the agreement was a disaster". I
could not imagine why it was a disaster but I agreed to go with her and she
gave me a lift. He driving was extremely erratic and she took several wrong
turns and even crashed into another car as we went. I told her to slow down
and drive properly. Her two (of four) children were in the back and as
terrified as I was. We arrived and we started to chat with the English lady. The
French lady was completely incoherent and it seemd she was on drugs or
drunk. I said the conversatiion was useless; she became abusive and I told
her to leave and I would make my own way home which I did when my wife came
to pick me up.
The next day I had a doctor's appointment and on the way back I passed the
site and saw the drainage work being done but not in accordance with the
agreement or good practice. I told the man doing it to stop as it was not in
accordance with either the agreement or good practice. He started getting pretty
aggressive. He was using a machine far too large and not using a more suitable trench cutter. He
had made a considerable and unnecessary mess.
I went to the Mairie to report the events. I knew that the Maire was absent
but I found the Assistant Maire and I was just starting to relate the
position when the machine operator (and owner of the new house) arrived with
a screech of brakes.
There was a heated conversation and I said that the English lady was insisting that
the written agreement be honoured. He seemed to be completely unaware of the
agreement and in fact they could not find a copy (although they had produced
it on their computer). I said that the work must stop until a way forward
has been agreed although in fact he went straight back and did some more
work (although he has now stopped).
At lunchtime on Tuesday the same woman arrived at my door and demanded that
I apologise to her and her young children. I said that no apology was due
and I shut the door on her as again she seemed drunk.
I went to a local town and did some shopping with my daughter and after I got
back I received a phone call from someone to say that there had been an
accident in the village and did I have any details. I said I hadn't heard
but on my later dog walk I noticed some skid and oilmarks on the road
outside the Mairie.
Well yesterday morning I went to buy my bread and found the French woman's mother
there who told me that the crash had been her daughter, the same drunken
woman, who had two children in her car and they all were taken to hospital
and he car written off. It seems she was not breathalysed though. She has
four kids by I think three different fathers. Two have already been taken
away. She is constantly drunk or drugged. Her last but one companion got so
fed up he hung himself in the chicken shed.
I believe she mothered a child to the man building the house a few years ago
but I've lost count. For some reason she was asked to deal with getting the
drainage sorted but nothing ever happened and that's why I have been told
this last minute approach was made by the Maire.
Through helping the Maire with a very simple issue one has become involved
over a few very short days in a nightmare situation that has come at a time
when I just don't need it.
I think that there is a strong possibility that the English lady (who is of a certain age) has
been victim of possible intimidation and certainly undue pressure. My own involvement as a simple
translator has put me in a very unenviable position. My knowledge of
construction is of course extensive but has been challenged and riduled by a
tractor driver building his own house with no construction experience. There
are of course no drawings, no levels etc and it seems that no forethought
has been applied.
In a small community like this such things become troublesome. Do any other members have similar experiences?