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How The Zest Was Won…Back!

Since receiving the ECHR knock-back, family and I have been swinging back and forth between feeling defeated and depressed and positively determined! The former emotions have far outweighed the latter, I have to confess. Never mind a river, I think we have cried an ocean of tears between the four of us!

Each time we read back through the various Courts’ decisions, we find another anomaly that just should not be there. There are a couple of good examples to follow –

In the Riom Cour d’Appel judgement:

The justices declared that we had not submitted any written evidence of our need for sole use of the garage in order for a disabled persons’ lift to be installed. Monsieur C had stated (in his Attestation to the Appeal Court) that the garage was “mon garage” and he had sole use of it in accordance with his rental contract with our sellers. The justices also declared that the Plannings, produced by our architect, Monsieur G, were signed and dated July 2007, ie ‘far too late for the notaire, the sellers and the Immo to consider before completion of the sale/purchase processes’.

I’ll break that down and clarify a few points.

The justices declared that they “recognised the sellers’ fraud”. Right, then, that’s clear enough.

The justices did not acknowledge that we had not even been aware of Monsieur C and his rental contract, pre-purchase, even though Monsieur C confirmed the facts in his Attestation to the Appeal Court and the justices declared that they accepted those facts!

The justices made no mention of the original Plannings that include detailed drawings of the disabled persons’ lift – all copies hand-delivered to the notaire (by the architect), to the Immo (by us) and to the sellers (by the Immo) – signed and dated 2nd April 2007, not July 2007, ie before we even signed the Compromis de Vente!  

The justices made no mention of the copy medical documents and the EU Blue Disabled badge submitted by us as evidence!

Doesn’t it pong just a little?  

Our first avocat requested copies of all documents relevant to the property purchase. He also required the original property Deeds for ‘the property returning processes to be administered swiftly after the Judgement’, he was adamant the justices’ decision would be in our favour.

Despite telephone calls and emails from us (in January, February and March 2013), our third avocat has still not returned our file to us, including the original property Deeds!

But, never mind, the current notaire’s assistant told us that is not an insurmountable problem. We’re not so sure.

The current notaire has called for copies of all Monsieur G’s Plannings documents, including the DDT, etc. She is not able to give Monsieur C his marching orders via expiry of tenancy lease, but, she can and will send him packing when she writes to inform him that the entire property is being returned to single home status!

Wow! We didn’t know that could be done! But, obviously, our first notaire would have known it could be done in 2007!

The current notaire will apparently be handling it personally and she will be sending the legally binding formal Notifications via the people who originally placed Monsieur C in the property, the Social Services. The latter agency apparently has a duty of care to re-home Monsieur C. The notaire is a Government Agent of ‘she who must be obeyed’ status!

In the meantime, the current notaire and the European Ombudsman are in total agreement – we must now direct three separate complaints, in writing, to the ‘overseeing bodies’ for notaires, avocats and Immobiliers. The grounds, in each case, are incompetence and unprofessional conduct, we have been strongly advised to demand compensation. We have also been provided with the relevant names and addresses of the overseeing bodies.

So, that’s my job for tomorrow. No peace for the wicked!

More to come – a warning for the folks who rent out their properties in Saujon (in the Charente-Maritime) and in Poitiers (in the Poitou-Charente)! It appears that Monsieur C will probably be moving to a rental property near one of you! Er…forewarned is forearmed if you have an empty rental property at this moment! He has already checked out Saujon and he likes what he saw; he will be conducting a recce in Poitiers at some point during August!

Wink! Just thought I would let you know!

It’s now looking possible that our current notaire will not need to give Monsieur C the Order of The Boot! Although Monsieur C was seemingly quite determined to remain in our pile for eternity, when we first arrived on Sunday 7 July, he appeared to have changed his mind by Tuesday 16 July!

But, we’re not leaving anything to chance or trust – we feel that taking a chance on the locataire doing as he says he will do would be a fool’s game, and we don’t trust him as far as we can spit as individuals! We still do not have a copy of Monsieur C’s rental contract. ‘Owzat?

Also to come – how Tom and I met up with (after a number of aborted attempts!) delightful Tottie Limejuice (of the brilliant “Sell the Pig” book fame, here’s a link, Control+click to access)

http://www.amazon.com/Sell-Pig-Tottie-Limejuice/dp/1480274917?tag=duckduckgo-d-20

in company with her lovely friend, Gill (or Jill, I didn’t ask, d’oh!), in the panoramic, awesome Cantal volcanoes country! Oh boy, you have to drive over (using the bridges, of course!) and around those sheer precipices and spectacular craters to fully appreciate the beauty – and the fear!

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12 Comments

Posted by on July 20, 2013 in World

 

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Stuffed…No Logic!

Included in the parcel of documents that we received from the ECHR, Strasbourg, is a copy of the Riom Appeal Court’s Judgement, dated 17 December 2009.

We had not seen the Judgement prior to receiving our file from the ECHR, as was acknowledged by our (third) avocat during the following email conversation held between us:

Relevant excerpt taken from the email received from the avocat on Tuesday 6 April, 2010 at 18:02:23 –

“You need to provide the tax return, all documents justifying your incomes for 2009, or minimum income and the evidence that the court’s decision has been delivered by bailiff (which actually has not been done).

The solicitor (ie the specialist Cour de Cassation avocat) is asking the legal aid office to give you an additional delay……………”

Excerpt taken from my response to the above, sent on Thursday 8 April, 2010 at 12:42:51 –

“Regarding the tax/income avis, we won’t receive that until later this month! All we have to declare for 2009 is the rent for the locataire and the hairdresser, plus my UK State Pension from October 2009……. (I actually did not receive the latter until later in 2010, due to the DWP losing my documents at least twice!).

When the avis arrives at the house, it will be forwarded to us wherever we are. We will complete and return it. Any tax will then become payable in August 2010. There will be no tax to pay, we do not have enough income to pay tax……..”

Eventually, we managed to send evidence of my pensions, UK State and Government, to the Bureau d’Aide just before the end of May 2010, by which time we had secured a further delay with the Bureau d’Aide until July 2010. We also sent evidence of the locataires’ rent being received by the tax office to pay the property taxes, we refused to accept rent directly from the locataires – following advice given to us by our first avocat.

As always, I have supporting documentary evidence to hand and copies are also included in the file sent to us by the ECHR!

So, there we have it – the Cour de Cassation Bureau d’Aide obviously set us up to fail! As we repeatedly told the Bureau d’Aide (in writing) and our avocat (via emails), we could not produce tax documents that did not exist! However, we did send evidence of our 2009 total global income, such as it was and despite the fact that the Mauriac tax office was actually receiving the rental income that we declared.

It gets better! Well, perhaps that wording isn’t really accurate! But, the following revelation made us smile, ie my menfolk et moi – because it is totally without logic and is typically a product of France!

We definitely won at the Riom Appeal Court! Honestly! We won our claim that the sellers, Monsieur and Madame T, defrauded us when they sold us a property that reeked of vice caché!

According to the Court President’s Judgement, Monsieur and Madame T admitted their guilt. Hang in there and I will reproduce the text with the translation!

But, if we won, how did we lose? Why is ‘the pile’ still hanging around our necks?

Ok, the quick answer is that we didn’t express sufficient concern about being trussed up like turkeys and hung out to bleed until we were bled dry – not until after we discovered we had become bleeding dead turkeys! We didn’t raise questions about the hidden fraud before we discovered the hidden fraud!

Therefore, despite the sellers admitting their guilt to the Appeal Court, we were found guilty of not proving their guilt. Ouch!

‘Owzat?

Here’s that text, reproduced straight from the Riom Appeal Court Judgement documents that I have right next to my Netbook –

<Qu’il y a eu une fraude de leur part pour couvrir le bail à……>

Translation – ‘There was a fraud on their part to cover (hide) the lease…’

<Attendu que les négations des époux T concernant le bail du garage confirment qu’ils ne l’ont jamais indiqué aux acquéreurs….>

Translation – ‘Despite their other denials, the T’s confirmed that they never told the buyers about the lease concerning the garage.’

<Qu’il y a eu un dol de leur part à dissimuler le bail tant à l’agent immobilier qu’aux acquéreurs.>

Translation – ‘There was a fraud on their part to cover (hide) the lease from the buyers and the real estate agent.’

However, here’s where we (apparently) went wrong –

<Qu’aucun élément du dossier ne démontre qu’ils ont attaché une quelconque importance à ces locaux.>

Translation – ‘No evidence on the record shows that they (we) have attached any importance to these areas.’

Mmmmmmmm, we obviously should have had our crystal ball primed to tell us all about the hidden tenants and their hidden Contracts before we purchased the property. Clearly, commencing a vice caché lawsuit within hours of discovering the fraud doesn’t adequately express our horror and anger at being forced to attach importance to the tenants!

There’s a lot more, including the opinion of the Court that the justices did not believe it important that we needed (and our architect attested that we had obtained Planning permission for) the disability lift to be installed in the garage because that was the only location agreed by the Planning Office. What! It was certainly important to us that we avoided having a bundle with the Planning Officer before we had even got our feet under the table of Madame France! However, it’s possible that the justices and the Planning Officer eat at the same restaurants. Just a thought!

It’s not worth me taking this crystal ball back to whence it came, French Customer Services staff don’t generally ‘do’ returns!

 
11 Comments

Posted by on June 13, 2013 in World

 

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Ok, So Patience Is A Virtue!

On the 24 April 2013, Tom and I posted a letter to the ECHR, Strasbourg, politely requesting the return of our house Case file. We need to send the file to the EUCJ with our application for that Court’s consideration of the facts, as follows in chronological order:

We lost our first Tribunal in Aurillac in 2008 because our first avocat failed to collate the main evidence for presentation to the justices. That avocat was dismissed by his boss on grounds of his ‘incompetences’.

Patience!

We lost our Appeal in Riom in 2009, despite the Court ‘recognising the fraud and arrogance’ of our sellers and despite the notaire having her ‘wrists slapped’ for her incompetence. The justices decided there was no French law that they could use to find in our favour; the justices decided the notaire was ‘young and inexperienced’.

Patience!

In July 2010, the Cour de Cassation Bureau d’Aide decided we would not be granted Legal Aid because (they said) we had not given them the necessary evidence of our financial means. Lies – we sent copies of everything we had to the Cour de Cassation Bureau d’Aide, plus copies of the same evidence to the ECHR. On each occasion, we received the LRAR receipt to show our mail had been received by the intended recipients. But, when challenged by us, a Cour de Cassation Bureau d’Aide clerk commented that the envelopes might have been delivered, but it was not proof that they contained anything!

Patience! 

There are major facts for the EUCJ to consider with regard to the latter point, ie we were not informed by our (third) avocat, nor by our ‘specialist’ Cour de Cassation avocat, nor by the Cour de Cassation Bureau d’Aide that our application for Legal Aid had been finally rejected!

In February 2013, the ECHR passed Judgement that we had failed to send necessary documentation to the Cour de Cassation Bureau d’Aide. What!

Patience! 

The ECHR made no Judgement whatever regarding our complaint that our human rights have been persistently breached throughout the years from 2007 to date.

Patience!

On 24 April 2013, Tom and I sent a letter (LRAR, of course!) to the ECHR requesting the return of our house Case file. We had been advised by SOLVIT that our Case can be considered by the EUCJ on grounds outlined above. However, there is a time limit and, to date, we have not received our file from the ECHR. In fact, the ECHR has not yet even acknowledged receiving our letter!

Patience!

According to a staunchly Christian late great-aunt of mine, patience is one of the seven heavenly virtues that balance the scales alongside the seven deadly sins. Well, we consider that we have been patient for nearly six long, very difficult years and we are taking our lead from a favourite author of mine, Laurell K Hamilton.

“Patience is a virtue, but there comes a moment when you must stop being patient and take the day by the throat and shake it. If it fights back; fine. I’d rather end up bloody at the end of the day, than unhurt with no progress made, no knowledge gained. I’d rather have a no, then nothing. I’d forgotten that about myself.”

Today, we will be posting a brief, probably rather terse, reminder to the ECHR demanding (yep, demanding!) that they return our house Case file to us by no later than 10 June 2013. If we don’t receive that file before or on 10 June 2013, we will approach the EUCJ without the file, but with an additional complaint.

Blimey, we’re getting brave!

 
25 Comments

Posted by on May 23, 2013 in World

 

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They Can’t Keep Good Hobos Down!

What a week it has been, more ups and downs than some fairgrounds can offer! Family and I have sunk into the depths of despair, we have rocketed up to virtually float on the highest cirrus clouds, and we have moved into the weekend with a balanced level of cautious hope in our hearts.

Yet again, good friends have provided us with unreserved support, kindness, encouragement and sincere offers of as much help as they can possibly give. So many people, who we didn’t know and who didn’t know of us before this week, have offered advice, guidance, kindness, information and support. Yes, we live in what can be a very cruel world, but, this week, we re-discovered the good that is also in this world! Good that is probably often smothered by the big selling power of bad news.

Receiving the knock-back from the ECHR sent me scurrying on a mission to find out if we could still take our house Case to the Cour de Cassation. I could not believe that all the fraud, corruption and injustice would win the day. Without doubt, I started this week looking and feeling at least twenty years older than I am! But, when I looked at the utter despair on the drawn, grey faces of Tom and Paul, I knew I had to make an effort to find a way to raise hope.

This is how we have survived the past few years. When one or other of us is down, the others pick up the fallen Hobo! On this occasion we were all down, but it took only one of us to get the ball of hope rolling again and to crank up momentum!

Grandson, of course, was totally oblivious to our very heavy sense of defeat; we ensure that he is always protected from this aspect of what we know as ‘real life’. He is too young to be burdened with such pain, sadness and futility.

After publishing my last blog post, I received so many messages from folks who were genuinely astonished by the fact that the ECHR had accepted the blatant lies issued by the Cour de Cassation Bureau d’Aide. Until the day I draw my last breath I will know that I did submit all documentation required to assess our total global income for Legal Aid. Nothing will change that fact.

One of the messages was sent by Catharine Higginson of SFN (Survive France Network). Catharine kindly invited me to post about our house Case situation in the specific SFN Group where there is an adviser with grounded legal knowledge. My first thought was that s/he might not want to become embroiled in our complex saga! But, I followed Catharine’s advice and posted a brief summary of events covering the years from July 2007 to the day, this year, when we received that shocking news from the ECHR.

Nothing ventured, nothing gained!

I had posted links to my most recently published blog on Hobos In France Forum (HIFF), on Facebook, in the Hobos Facebook Group and on Twitter – my usual practice. Although I didn’t post a link in my SFN summary, I soon discovered that several SFN members were already following my blog; some had subscribed, as long ago as January 2012, to receive notification of new blog posts as and when they are published. Within hours of publishing my new blog post, I was contacted by a wonderful gentleman who offered me access to his subscription to a website offering bona fide legal advice on any matter of law, including French law. My family’s benefactor wishes to remain anonymous, he knows who he is and we will always remain indebted to him.

I gratefully accepted the offer and my first question was submitted to the website experts. Briefly, are we able to have our Case heard at the Cour de Cassation if we pay the (approximately) 4000€ to 6000€ legal fees to our (third) avocat and the specialist Cour de Cassation avocat? The reply was, ‘No.’ We were out of time eight weeks after the Riom Cour d’Appel Judgement was given in December 2009, although that was extended to July 2010, as we discovered this year!

Whatever, the Bureau d’Aide had received the essential documents well before even the July deadline!

The legal expert who answered my questions is a Paris Court Judge. He went on to comment that he could not understand why we were offered opportunity by the Cour de Cassation Bureau d’Aide to re-apply for legal aid in October 2012.

I didn’t go into details, but I did include the fact that the Riom Cour d’Appel Judgement included the statement about recognising the fraud of the sellers, and, further, that the Court stated it had no French law in place to enable the justices to give a Judgement in our favour.

I then asked the Judge if there is a Court that might consider our Case, other than the ECHR?

The reply came back very quickly, yes, the EUCJ will consider our Case.

I returned to the Judge with one last question, are we out of time to take our Case to the EUCJ?

The reply arrived within a few (rather nerve-wracking!) hours. Given the circumstances, ‘No’, he did not believe our Case would be ruled by the EUCJ as being out of time. In my next blog post, I will be able to let folks know what the EUCJ can do about our situation.

So, our Case is going, as swiftly as possible, to the EUCJ in Luxembourg. Voila!

I have much to do, including arranging the retrieval of our file from the ECHR. That mini forest contains all the evidence of the treatment my family and I have been subjected to throughout the (almost) six years that we have lived in France.

In the meantime, RSI, that superbly efficient representative of worst bureaucratic practice, has lost the two S1 forms that we posted (LRAR) at the beginning of this month! In the same envelope, we placed all necessary copy documents, including the two S1 forms and the completed form that is relevant to my RSI issued carte vitale. Tom is legally entitled to ‘piggyback’ on my carte vitale until we move over to CPAM at the end of April. We’re dreading the changeover, I make no bones about that!

Yes, I know, how can we expect better bureaucratic administration, we live in France! Chuckle!

But, one day, they will all realise the fact that they can’t keep good Hobos down!

Now, where is that ‘wink’ Smilie! 😉

 
24 Comments

Posted by on March 23, 2013 in World

 

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Whoops! Are We Back On The Roller-coaster?

After the exhilaration of the past couple of days, family and I had to get our feet back on the ground and our heads back on our shoulders, the reality is that we still have a long way to go. We’re nowhere near getting out of la forêt, yet! We must still face the daunting experience of our Case being judged at the Cour de Cassation in Paris.

So, today, in response to many questions that I have been asked by folks living all around the world, I’m going to ‘chat’ about potential next steps. I won’t go into the entire workings of the Cour de Cassation, I’m certain that would be boring to read, and I know it would be a very cumbersome post for me to write! The information I will give is based on data sent to me by various legally and part-legally qualified professionals, one of whom actually works within the austere confines of the Cour de Cassation, on my own research, and on verification of my own and others’ research.

How much information have I received from four (to date) avocats, including our specialist Cour de Cassation avocat? None, absolutely zilch!

The Cour de Cassation is the highest Appeal Court in France, it’s the Supreme Court. To get a Case to the Supreme Court, it must first be heard in one of the Tribunaux d’Instance local Courts, or in one of the Tribuneaux de Grande l’Instance Courts. The latter depends on the severity and the monetary value of the dispute. Our Case was initially heard in the Grande l’Instance Tribunal in Aurillac (15).

The history of the French Cour de Cassation goes back to the French Revolution, it was established by the Act of 27 November 1790. But, the Court’s workings are still largely based, in principle, on the ancient Roman judicial proceedings.

Within the Court, there are six main sections in which a Case can be judged, these sections are as follows: Commercial, Labour, Civil, Criminal 1, Criminal 2, and the Chambre de Requetes – the last gives judgement on whether or not a Case is admissible for Appeal at the Supreme Court. During my conversation with Maitre at l’Huissier’s office in Mauriac, it emerged that our house Case has got through the Chambre de Requetes, and that is why we now have some action! Although, we have not received written confirmation, that might be one of the documents waiting for us at l’Huissier’s office, or at the house. We will find out towards the end of April.

Our house Case was referred to the Civil section of the Cour de Cassation, but a number of professionals have commented, during the past 2 years, that it should be heard by judges in the Criminal 2 section, because our sellers’ fraud has already been proved. Those professionals might well be correct!

If the Claimant fails to win in one of the lower Courts, an Appeal can be lodged in the Region’s Tribunal d’Appel; ours was Appealed at Riom in the Puy-de-Dome (63).

Failure to win the regional Appeal can result in a further, final Appeal to the Cour de Cassation, Paris. The judges in the Supreme Court do not judge on the merits of the Case, they are in situ to decide whether or not French laws have been correctly interpreted during the previous Hearings.

What sort of result may be seen coming out of the Cour de Cassation where our Case is concerned? Well, the previous Appeal decision can be upheld, and in that case, there will be no further French legal action, it would be all over as far as the French judiciary are concerned! Or, the previous Appeal Court decision can be quashed, and the Case can be returned to the Appeal Court in Riom for further consideration and a fresh Judgement. The Cour de Cassation might decide to quash the previous Appeal Court’s decision and order that there will be no further Appeal, the Cour de Cassation decisions about the Case will then be final.

Our Case will be heard by a panel of at least 5 judges, presided over by the Cour de Cassation President, or, a possibility, the most senior Cour de Cassation Judge.

There are a number of potential results.

The judges can decide that our Case is a straight forward vice caché and order the property to be returned to Monsieur and Madame T, with a full refund to us, and with no leave given for the couple to Appeal. On average, it would take 4 – 6 months for the final resolution to be attained, and the judges decision must first be endorsed by the Court President.

The judges can decide that, on grounds of the vice caché having been proved at Riom, the Case must be returned to the Riom Appeal Court for further consideration and a fresh judgement. That would delay the final resolution by up to a year.

The judges could rule that we, Tom and I, are partially responsible for the vice caché, due to whatever reasons they decide on the day. In that case, they could refer the Case back to the Riom Appeal Court for further considerations and a fresh judgement.

The judges could rule that our vice caché claim has been proved, but give Monsieur and Madame T leave to Appeal. That could result in us waiting for an Appeal to be lodged by our sellers, and the Case could drag on for a further period of one to possibly up to three more years.

Our fervent hope is that the Cour de Cassation judges find fully in our favour, with no right of Appeal to our sellers, and with an order that a total resolution must be attained within 28 days.Such a Judgement is rare, but it does happen, and it would need to be endorsed by the Court President.

If we are lucky enough to receive the justice for which we fervently hope, our sellers could plead poverty and state that they’re unable to refund our money! In that event, the Cour de Cassation judges can order them to give us their own home in return for taking repossession of our house that’s not a home, and they would need to live in the latter! Or, the judges could order that property and possessions, belonging to our sellers, must be auctioned and the proceedings used to refund us. That Judgement would need to be endorsed by the Court President.

According to a very knowledgeable source, our sellers are most likely to plead that they have shared their property and possessions among their children and grandchildren! In that case, the judges can order those items to be seized by l’Huissier, assisted by Gendarmes, and the property and possessions to be auctioned, with the proceedings used to refund us. Again, such a Judgement would need to be endorsed by the Court President.

So, there are many possibilities! At the end of it all, will we recoup all of our losses? Very possibly not! But, that’s another story!

 

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The Second Judgement

Throughout 2009, family and I concentrated on pet/house sitting, moving around France with very few breaks whereby we would have needed to return to living in the tent for long periods. We maintained contact with Alexandra, the avocat who had taken on Julia’s case-load whilst that lovely woman fought for her life with her family constantly by her side. During our initial telephone ‘meeting’, Alexandra laughed when I explained to her that I could not guarantee picking up my emails on a set day. She just did not believe that we were living in a tent between ‘sits’.

I’m fairly certain that, at that point, Alexandra considered me to be, either, paranoid, or, totally up the wall! But, she had spoken with Julia before our second telephone ‘meeting’, and Alexandra commenced the call with these words, “I am so very sorry, Christine, I thought you were joking. Julia has explained to me about how you and your family must live until we win the judgement you need.”

Several weeks after that second telephone conversation, we received a credit from the avocats’ offices in Toulouse, we were no longer required to pay the last facture that was sent to us by Monsieur MA before he was dismissed by Julia.

Justice!

However, we did need to find a further payment for the Avoué (barrister). In French law, the presenting avocat must have a Cabinet, or Practice, within the Department where the Case will be heard. Our Case was being heard in Department 15, ie the Cantal. Due to the fact that we could not find an avocat in the Cantal who could speak English, indeed, we were advised by our local l’Huissier (Court Bailiff) that an English-speaking avocat did not exist in the Cantal, we had to look further afield right from the onset. Hence, we had found Julia’s Cabinet in Toulouse in the Haute-Garonne (31), via the Internet, and we were required to fund the cost of an Avoué to present our Case in the Cantal, every time it was heard.

A Case may only need to be heard once by the justices, but, as it was with our Case, the justices required to hear sections of the Case on different days, three days in total! The set-up can add thousands of euros to the costs of the Case, and Monsieur MA should have explained that to us when we first made contact with him. He didn’t do that, but, at the end of the day, it would not have made any difference if he had told us we would be paying for two avocats. I have clarified the processes in the event of anybody else needing to know. It can present as a rather large shock if the set-up comes as a surprise!

Two weeks before Christmas 2009, Alexandra and I spoke on the telephone for the last time prior to our Appeal hearing date, everything was ready. The sellers’ avocat had apparently attempted to stall for more time, but the Court had rejected that request. Alexandra confirmed that Julia had worked very hard on putting all the evidence together, in order that the Judge would see at virtually a glance that we had overwhelming evidence to prove the sellers’ fraud. Alexandra was upbeat, she was confident, we relaxed a little and started to look forward to Christmas.

Late in the afternoon, on 18th December 2009, Alexandra telephoned us, we were pet/house sitting for good friends, Diane and Brian, near Les Eyzies in the Dordogne. Alexandra was audibly shocked and angry, but she told us without hesitation, the sellers’ fraud had been recognised by the Tribunal, the Judge had called Monsieur and Madame T “arrogant”, but our Appeal had been rejected.

 

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Here, There, Everywhere But Home!

It was the 1st March 2009, we packed up the car, left Castres, and we headed for the Aveyron in the Midi-Pyrenees. Tom had a heavily bandaged foot, to protect his frost-bitten toes, I worried about his pain and about the fairly long drive ahead of him. But, Tom didn’t complain at all, he just said quietly, “Think about the log fire that’s waiting for us, we’ll get there, we’re not missing that!” Bless him.

We arrived at Skye’s farmhouse around 4pm and were greeted with a wonderful pot of tea and biscuits. The house was set in the rural beauty of rolling farmland not too far from Carmaux, a typical farming community, tranquil until the cows were being brought in from pasture! In a small paddock to the left of the house as we approached the front door, there was a huge pig snorting and snuffling in mud and grass, Skye cautioned us that it was being fattened for market, and the pig wouldn’t be leaving the sty (next door) alive! Not quite the best bit of news for a vegetarian to hear, but I made a mental note to buy earplugs!

That log fire worked overtime during the spring, and even into early summer, the weather was unusually  inclement for much of the time we were there. Nevertheless, we loved the area, despite Tom losing his wallet to a pickpocket in Carmaux market! The wallet was found very quickly by a market stall holder, nothing missing except cash, of course. But, the inconvenience of reporting the theft, cancelling bank cards, ordering new cards, well, many will know all about that. Then, there was the added complexity of needing new cards and PINs to be sent to an address that wasn’t the address recorded as our home address! Thankfully, our UK bank listened, put us through a robust verbal security check, and we received new cards and PINs within a few days. We had to drive to Tulle, in the Correze, to collect our new French bank cards. Our wonderful friend and former neighbour, Madame ZC, phoned through our new PINs when they arrived a couple of weeks after we collected the cards. This is France! C’est la vie!

We were sad to say goodbye to Slinky, Sky’s pretty little cat, when we left the Aveyron in June to move on to the Dordogne. Another pet/house sit, just outside Montpon-Ménestérol, for a lovely couple with whom we have become close friends since the summer of 2009, Sue and Rick. It was during our initial sitting period at Sue and Rick’s that we discovered how badly our avocat, Monsieur MA, had let us down, betrayed us, robbed us in effect.

I telephoned Monsieur MA’s office to let him know we had moved from the Aveyron to Montpon-Ménestérol, the office secretary politely informed me that Monsieur MA was no longer in employment with the company. I asked to speak with the senior avocat, I was transferred straight through to Julia. During our long telephone conversation, it was revealed that Monsieur MA had not collated the evidence from a number of our prosecution witnesses. As he had never even contacted those witnesses, very little evidence had been filed at the initial Tribunal the previous December. No wonder the judgement was awarded against us, despite the notaire having put up her hand to the fact that she knew the hairdresser’s Lease had been sold before we purchased and she had not informed us. Julia had only recently discovered how little evidence was presented at that Tribunal, she had immediately dismissed Monsieur MA and had written to let us know. She had no idea we were not able to live in the house, she had no idea about how we were living. Julia was clearly shocked, and we ‘worked’ together, via emails and telephone conversations, to prepare for the filed Appeal that was due to be heard that November.

 

 

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