Until the end of 2008, although I could not afford to buy another house in London, the interest on my money from the Newark house was earning c£1,000 per month. Suddenly this almost disappeared. The global financial crash had happened. I had paid a deposit on the house in Sigoules back in August, and, of course, the French solicitors unnecessarily delayed proceedings so that completion was not reached until mid-December.
I had a choice. I could cut my losses and accept the loss of my £10,000, or I could continue with the purchase and hope for the best. I also felt obliged to the friends from whom I was buying. I carried on regardless.
In December 2008, just a week after completion of my purchase of No. 6 rue Saint Jacques, S.W.France was hit by the greatest storm in living memory. The gales were even worse than those that had buffeted the U.K. in October 1987. The consequence was that Maggie had had to telephone me to tell me that my recently acquired house had been flooded. I had not even had time to take possession. The cellar was full of water and there were several inches of it in the ground floor. Multiple disaster had struck. The gales had thrust water under the French doors at the back, and the local underground stream had strayed into the cellar, completely filling it. Because of a three day power cut across the entire region the auxiliary generator installed for just this eventuality failed to function and had to be replaced. The trapdoor into the cellar was swollen and had to be forced, breaking some of the tiles laid over it. To make matters worse the inferior plastic piping distributing water throughout the house had sprung a leak and burst. Now I have a copper system which cost a pretty penny. Maggie and Mike had managed to get emergency help to pump the place out, and obviously I had to come over to organise repair work. The house was freezing, damp, and full of soggy mats and plumbers. I stayed with Maggie and Mike.
The English representative of the Insurance Company managed to wriggle out of responsibility for the consequences of the tempest, and I was advised to pay the plumber in advance. Much against my better judgement I stumped up. The plumber never finished the making good and it took 18 months for Mike to recover my keys from him.
What a terrible sequence of misfortunes – to put it mildly.
Thanks very much, Sherry
What a disaster. Nothing like the emotional idea of buying a place in paradise.
Thanks a lot, Gwen. Not a good start
What an awful experience.
Thanks very much, Andy
What an awful experience!
Thank you very much, Liz.
You’re welcome, Derrick.
Oh my! A complete disaster!
Thanks very much, Ribana
What a nightmare!
Thanks very much, Merril
Pardon the pun, but it never rains but it pours. What a horrible conclusion because you kept trying to to the right thing.
Absolutely 🙂 Thanks very much, Pat
Surely this is the nadir of A Knight’s Tale – I can imagine few things worse!
Just wait 🙂 Thanks very much, Anne.
Don’t worry – we are where we are now
So much misery followed so soon after losing Jessica. You are made of stronger stuff than most of us, Derrick.
Thank you so much, Lavinia X
That was an unfortunate start to your French adventure
It was, indeed. Thanks very much, Sheree
These disasters are dreadful and awful but even worse are the people who deliberately profit from the misery of decent ordinary people. What a surprise it was lawyers and plumbers, they’re not usually like that.
🙂 Thanks very much, John
Oh my 🙂
That was meant to be a 🙁
Thank you very much, Donna
What a battering you sustained! Recovery after such a financial loss could not have been easy.
No – but French houses are much cheaper than English ones. The recovery does come. Than you very much, Rosaliene
Oops. Do you mind if I say, you were lucky to have survived.
Of course not, Rupali. Thank you v very much
There must have been countless others in the same predicament, which wouldn’t have helped when trying to hire the better tradespeople. ?
Quite, AnneMarie. Thank you very much
Truly a nightmare! 🙁 😮 And horrible timing after all the loss and pain you had just been dealing with. 🙁
I admire your ability to push forward…you are an inspiration. ❤️
Thank you so much, Carolyn. I don’t know how to give up. X
Good! I’m the same way! 🙂
You really built your perseverance muscles during these challenges. I’m thankful things are much better now.
Me, too, JoAnna. Thanks very much
I know it wasn’t easy. What doesn’t break us in the end makes us stronger (or we get numb)
You would know, Bridget. Thank you very much
What does not kill you make you stronger, it seems to be true of you Derrick!
It seems to be, Sylvie. Thank you very much.
Everything that could have gone wrong did go wrong in that year for you, and it’s not without a moral lesson to all of us.
Thank you so much, Uma. It seems so long ago now – although you may know there is more to come before we get to where we are now.
That’s sad. I am afraid of floods.
You have reason to be, Arlene. Thank you very much
Derrick, you should write and publish a book on property disasters.
Thanks a lot, Andrew
Derrick, your story is full of drama. Terrible experience. However, I believe in reality, it was even worse. Time has washed out your original feelings and details of disaster.
Indeed. Thanks very much, Alexander
What a terrible experience to have a house flooded!
Thanks very much, Aletta.
Oh my goodness, Derrick. A catalogue of disasters. There is clearly more to come on this tale – hopefully some positives eventually!
Thanks very much, Sandra.
How awful, a true disaster!
Many thanks, Sue
Oh, Derrick. It is so telling of your ethics (and completely expected) that you went ahead with the purchase. To be rewarded with devastation is bitterly unfair. I am so sorry this happened to you. xo
Thank you so much, Jodie XX
How absolutely awful for you.
But you must have persevered and bounced back stronger.
Thank you so much, Melanie X
Gosh – that must have been difficult news to give and even worse to receive. I didn’t like to read of further disaster in your next post in the series either. I’m comforted knowing time has passed and that you and Jackie are comfortable in your lovely house and garden. It must have been very hard for you back then.
Thank you very much, Susan. Life gives us events to get through
Reblogged this on Shalkot and commented:
You are a great man. But it happens in life sometimes, we may trust someone and he/she surpasses the red line. But we have to remain still quiet.
Thank you very much, Shalkot