Gone, But Not Forgotten – Not Yet, Anyway!

15 Jan

Well, Monsieur C has removed himself from our ‘pile’, but, he certainly has not removed all of his chattels!

We arrived at the house just after 4pm on Sunday 12th January 2014 – the date was very important to us, our eldest granddaughter’s 18th birthday and our youngest son’s 30th birthday! I’m so proud of my beautiful daughter, she chose to produce our first granddaughter on a January day that had already been ear-marked as a good ‘un by her mum! You can’t get more loyal and trusting than that, chuckle!Β 

Following a stress-free, warm, sunny journey from the Haute-Vienne in the Limousin to the Cantal in the Auvergne, we arrived at the house just before 5pm – to find the property unsecured. The lock of the main front door had been broken beyond repair. Great! That’s going to cost a few bob to repair, again! Thank goodness the guy who fitted the double-glazed windows and front door now lives just three doors along the square from our property. Cyril is a super young man and we were his first customers in the village when he started up his small business. He did a wonderful job for us, his small business has grown beyond all expectations, and, Cyril does not forget his “valued customers”.

We both also noticed the three, full rubbish bags that were, still are, parked in the entrance hall. Monsieur C had written in his letter that he would be clearing his rubbish when he returns for his remaining possessions ‘at the end of January’. Well, he “thinks” he will be able to get back to Champagnac at the end of January. We won’t hold our breath!


As Tom and I started legging it up the first flight of stairs, we very swiftly noticed that three of the White Oak stair spindles were broken, they had obviously been brutally knocked out of their ‘beds’ in the base rail. I had spent three weeks scrubbing and cleaning the stairs from the top of the house to the bottom, after we initially moved into the property in July 2007, bringing the wood back to near enough its original colour from oily, filthy black. Tom had carefully re-sited and secured two loose, White Oak, acorn-shaped newel caps that were worn only by history, not by ill-treatment. Our architect had wanted to replace the entire staircase with a modern alternative, we were horrified at the thought of replacing such a central section of the heart of our home, a section that remained strong, safe and serviceable after we brought it back to life through hard work, determination and lashings of TLC! Thank you, Monsieur C, not! Grrrrrrh.

So, onward and upward!

We wondered where the keys might have been left by Monsieur C. Silly clinker-plonkers – that’s us! His apartment was securely locked and it remains so. No apartment keys to be found, none left with the neighbours or dropped off to the Mairie.

Up we climbed, to the loft. The door was locked, but we have a key to that section of the property. When we entered the loft, we really were knocked for a six – metaphorically speaking, of course. It’s a huge loft, the ‘tall top hat’ on a large building. The entire loft space is strewn with rubbish. Vehicle tyres and bicycle parts, cardboard boxes, wooden planks, torn carrier-bags, broken toys, piles of shredded material including dirty duvets and pillows, smashed crockery and other ceramics, plus stuff in black bin-liners that we left undisturbed and piles of junk that we could not identify – as the King of Siam said, “Etcetera. Etcetera. Etcetera.”!

We didn’t leave anything in the loft when the plumbing and electrics failed during the winter of 2008 and we had to move out.Β 

Tom and I were feeling quite devastated by this time, it didn’t help our mood to find a load of dried mud that had been traipsed up the entire staircase – clearly, Monsieur C doesn’t believe in cleaning up after himself. But, in all honesty, we discovered that fact during our brief period of living in the property! So, we locked the loft door and made our weary way back down to the First Floor apartment where we sleep when we go to the house. We manage (just!) with bottles of fresh water that we fill in the shop section and carry upstairs. Electricity arrives at the end of an extension cable, again, the shop section has been the source since the hairdresser vacated. It’s not easy, stairs don’t agree with the health of either of us, but, it’s easier on the bones than sleeping in a tent, especially when the temperature drops to minus values!

Before leaving Champagnac, we placed our ‘A Vendre, la maison + le magasin’ board on the shop section shutters and cleaned up the mud from the stairway – from the First Floor down to the bottom of the house. Tomorrow, I will be writing to Monsieur C to give him a brief outline of what we expect from a human being who is exiting somebody else’s property. The menfolk and I hope he takes it on board…but, we’re not holding breath! Would you?

Monsieur C – you might have quit our house that can never be our home, but, we can’t forget you yet, you have made sure of that!

Right then – we can’t sit around feeling sorry for ourselves, there’s work to be done, property-selling work! Yes! We will also have a lot of clearing and cleaning to do at the end of this month, methinks!


Posted by on January 15, 2014 in World


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18 responses to “Gone, But Not Forgotten – Not Yet, Anyway!

  1. Kathy

    January 15, 2014 at 10:56 pm

    Bastard. I hope he is locked out and the locks are changed 😦 Bastard again cos he is one.

    • hobosinfrance

      January 15, 2014 at 11:41 pm

      πŸ˜€ Bless you, Kathy, I couldn’t help but laugh when I read your response, you’re a star, thank you so much for being there. πŸ™‚ C & menfolk xxxx

  2. Pip

    January 15, 2014 at 11:51 pm

    Well pretty much as expected.
    I think I would call his bluff for a second time. Presumably you or your notaire has an address if you are writing to him. If it were me my letter would tell him that his items would be in a pile outside the front door if he had not claimed them within 7 days. And I’d have a locksmith undo the door to his flat and tell him that the contents of that will be in the pile.
    But for me it wouldn’t be a bluff I’d do it.
    For your own sakes though take your time. Don’t go and knock yourselves up by trying to break any speed records.
    Now I really am looking forward to photos!!!!

    • Tracey Vincent

      January 16, 2014 at 12:13 pm

      What a piece of absolute sewer filth!! And I suppose there’s a list as long as an Andrex toilet roll of Napoleonic laws that defy all logic and common sense as to what one has to do with all the crap, sorry belongings, that a tenant leaves behind! The main thing is that he’s gone and you can now get on with selling the house and put this unimaginable nightmare behind you xxxx

      • hobosinfrance

        January 16, 2014 at 12:36 pm

        πŸ˜€ Spot on, Tracey, there are thousands of Napoleonic Civil Codes – many of them protect Monsieur C’s ‘rights’! None, in the current situation, protect our rights! But, as I have just said to Pip, there’s a way around the 6 months wait for Monsieur C to shift the…er…possessions (your description is far more apt than mine, lol!) from his apartment and the loft. That is the route we will be taking after the 31st January 2014 if he hasn’t cleared OUR property, as long as our local Gendarmerie Captain will permit – we are 99.9% certain that Captain AP will assist us! πŸ˜‰

        Watch this space!

        Much love from us all to you and yours. πŸ™‚ xxxx

    • hobosinfrance

      January 16, 2014 at 12:17 pm

      Hi Pip, your thoughts were also our thoughts – until we looked into the legalities! We don’t have a full address, neither does the notaire, Monsieur C didn’t actually approach the notaire, he told us he had contacted her and she had ignored him, twice! He lied!

      If Monsieur C doesn’t arrive at the pile to collect his possessions (aka rubbish!) at the end of January 2014, by law, we must give him 6 months to clear it after notifying him. We don’t yet have his full address, but we do know the name of the town where he is now living, ie Mussidan in the Dordogne. We will be able to get his full address (don’t ask, lol!) and we know Mussidan quite well! We pet/house sat in nearby Montpon-Monesterol several times between 2008 and 2010 and moseyed around Mussidan on several occasions.

      To possibly get around waiting 6 months, we can take a copy of Monsieur C’s letter (telling us he had moved out without giving us notice) to the local Gendarmerie in Ydes (15). The senior Gendarme can then send an officer to our pile, s/he will be there to ensure we don’t destroy any of Monsieur C’s possessions after we break into his apartment. We must simply pile his rubbish (in his apartment and in the loft) into a local Council skip and the Mairie will dispose of it. The senior Gendarme decides if we can do that. That’s fine, we personally know the senior Gendarme at Ydes and he knows our story – I doubt that he will refuse to assist us. πŸ™‚

      The cost will be pretty hefty, but, losing a sale whilst we wait 6 months would be heftier still!

      Only in France, Pip! Sheesh!

      Now – pics! Mwah! xxxx

      • Pip

        January 16, 2014 at 4:34 pm

        Maybe for once the old adage of “It’s not what you know it’s who” might work in your favour.
        I wish I had the time as I’d be over like a shot to give a pair of strong arms!
        But as I said before – take it easily.

      • hobosinfrance

        January 17, 2014 at 1:03 am

        We do hope that old adage works for us, Pip, we really do feel very confident – although, all digits are still crossed!

        Bless you, I know you would help if you could and you’re a true diamond. πŸ™‚ We have received a Faceache message from Bob (our No.2 son in the UK), he is ready to fly to France at the drop of a hat to help us, just needs to reschedule his clients – he has a P&D business, works mostly around London City. So, things are looking up! Wheeeeee! Chuckle! xxxx

  3. merewoman

    January 16, 2014 at 2:08 pm

    Dirty old devil. But at least he has left, and that’s a huge step forward. I hope the proprietaire in Mussidan knows what they’ve let themselves in for – I take it references were not requested or supplied? πŸ™‚

    • hobosinfrance

      January 17, 2014 at 12:53 am

      ROFL! πŸ˜€ He has been a sticky character all the way through, Susie. Monsieur C definitely played ball with the sellers who he always professed to despise – well, he said he despised Madame T, but had ‘no disrespect’ for Monsieur T because the elderly gentleman clearly had dementia and didn’t know even what time of the day it was before he passed away last year. I had to agree with Monsieur C’s comments about Monsieur T. But, Monsieur C didn’t have to play ball with Madame T – he used us in his private vendetta against the fraudulent Madame!

      We weren’t approached for a reference. Paul is fairly convinced that Monsieur C actually owns the property in Mussidan, just a feeling! I might try to track that feeling! πŸ˜‰

      • merewoman

        January 17, 2014 at 11:06 am

        When you write your book, Chrissie, consider writing it as ‘fiction based on fact’. You could have some great fun with it and make it a very funny read, populated by stereotypical crafty French characters. πŸ™‚

      • hobosinfrance

        January 17, 2014 at 4:23 pm

        πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ Susie, I’m positive that you’re right! Writing it that way would also make it far more credible! I very often wonder if people read one of my blog posts and think, ‘No way, that couldn’t possibly happen in a European civilisation!’

  4. Perpetua

    January 17, 2014 at 11:52 am

    I know French law is biased towards the tenant rather than the landlord, but I can’t believe it gives Monsieur C SIX months to clear his rubbish out of a property he’s left! I do hope the senior Gendarme does his stuff and lets you clear everything out.

    • hobosinfrance

      January 17, 2014 at 4:32 pm

      Ridiculous, isn’t it! Of course, we’re well within our rights to clear the loft and box up all Monsieur C’s rubbish and store it safely for him for 6 months. But, even if we were inclined to do that, it would still be illegal for us to break and enter ‘his’ apartment until the 6 months expires. Napoleon’s daft Civil Codes!

    • Osyth

      January 27, 2014 at 3:23 pm

      It does actually. We are buying a house south of Aurillac which was auctioned as a repo. The previous owner has so far had over a year culminating in being served a warrant by the court which resulted in him saying he does want his stuff and he now has until April 1st (who’s the fool??!!) to clear. Only after that date do we have the right to dispose of or keep what is left. Never forget that this is a republique – in simple terms that means every man has rights not just the one with the bigger wallet!

      • hobosinfrance

        January 30, 2014 at 11:57 am

        Hello Osyth, thank you very much for your input, it’s great to hear from somebody who has first-hand experience of the complexities of French law where property is concerned – did I write ‘complexities’? Of course, I’m referring to the shenanigans that appear to be attached, like limpets, to seemingly every aspect of French law! We were advised by a notaire, not too long ago, that we must give Monsieur C the minimum of 6 months to clear his possessions and his rubbish, and we should not take the matter to tribunal but to ask for assistance from our local Gendarmerie! Even the notaire knew that going to tribunal would extend the issue! We know he won’t clear his rubbish – and, you are obviously under no illusion regarding the clearing of your house-to-be! I had to smile at your comment about every man having rights “not just the one with the bigger wallet!” In fact, our Case has proved that to be a fallacy. In our experience (and the experience of many that we know of across France), those who do not have the funds to fight for justice do have the bigger wallet if they can obtain legal aid! If the poorer person is denied legal aid, by fair means or foul, s/he has no rights! I’m delighted to e-see you – will read your second comment now. Warmest regards, Chrissie

  5. merewoman

    January 18, 2014 at 12:27 pm

    Your story is so harrowing and complicated, Chrissie, nobody would be able to understand or believe it unless it had happened to them! A large helping of humour and turning the tables on the malefactors would make it eminently readable. πŸ˜‰

    • hobosinfrance

      January 25, 2014 at 4:51 pm

      πŸ™‚ Thank you for that helping of gold dust, Susie – and, I know you are spot on. It could well be that the turning of the tables has started, I do hope so. News is about to break! πŸ˜‰ xxxx


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