A Knight’s Tale (150: Poetic Justice)

It was an e-mail from my friend, Brigitte who lived next door to my Sigoules house which alerted me to the fact that the house had been occupied the day after I left on 11th July.

After managing to remove the squatters and their clothing, their furniture and other material were still to go. After a few days I returned home, never to visit there again.

Mark Vick, the husband of the Estate Agent who was to sell the house, was engaged to supervise the removal.

My kitchen was filled with white goods and other items presumably belonging to the infiltrators.

Before I left for England on 2nd September, I turned off the electricity supply.

Late on the afternoon of the 12th, I received confirmation from Mark, who had supervised the process on my behalf, that almost everything belonging to the people who were living in my house had been removed that day. Exceptions were the contents of the cellar and an additional freezer that was in the kitchen. This was not mine, and I was unaware that it had been connected and filled with food. It had been lined up against a wall with other white goods, and couldn’t be accessed without moving the table. It was now crawling with maggots because I had disconnected the power and thrown the huge amount of food that had filled my own large fridge freezer into the local refuse dump. There seemed to be a certain poetic justice in this. Mark had turned the power back on to freeze down the contents. All these items were to be removed the next week, as indeed they were.

It was to be more than three years before a buyer was found. Although, after numerous delays and errors that held up the process, a completion date was set for 31st March 2018. I wasn’t even confident that this would be met – which turned out to have been sensible, because it didn’t happen.

The elements intervened. France had experienced even more rain than we have. Such weather makes the house a little vulnerable to an underground stream. For that reason an electric pump was installed in the cellar. A rounding off of my Sigoules residence which had begun with a far more serious flood before I took possession.

On 12th March the estate agent and buyer discovered that the cellar was flooded up to the fourth step, and that there was no electricity in the house.

The agent’s husband undertook to pump out the water. He used his own generator. The electricity company couldn’t investigate until after Easter. They established that there was a fault on the line outside the property. Needless to say, the insurers wriggled out of my claim.

There had been more rain. The fuses kept tripping. The power points in the cellar needed drying out. This was done with a hair dryer. On the evening of 5th ApriI I received the information that all was well and that completion would take place at 7 p.m. that day. This did happen.

There followed a barrage of e-mails from the male squatter and phone calls from the decorator who had allegedly been unpaid. This lasted for some weeks. I am not sure they were not in cahoots. I cannot be bothered to go into more detail.

Anyone who has been burgled will understand why I felt that No 6 rue Saint Jacques was contaminated, and never even went back to collect my belongings. I sold them with the house for a third of what I had paid for it.

Given that, since 9th May 2012, my WordPress blog has been a daily diary and we are now settled in comfortable twilight years in Hampshire’s New Forest, this seems an appropriate time to close the pages of “A Knight’s Tale”.


  1. Sometimes, just walking away is the best approach. And occasionally there comes a time when all of the calculations about value are wearisome. When I was cleaning out my mother’s home after her death, I had a deadline to meet. At the end, I simply piled up some things outside with a big sign that said “FREE!” In less than twelve hours, it all was gone. The sense of relief I felt was extraordinary, particularly since I already had claimed anything of sentimental or monetary value.

    1. Wise move! My sister organised the disposal of an elderly uncle’s possessions. She told me she’d found a company willing to take everything off her hands for £200. I told her that she’d misunderstood and they wanted that sum to effect the clearance. I don’t have to tell you who was correct.

    1. I am sorry it doesn’t seem so, but having come through all that I think being contented in the New Forest is not a bad place to end. Thanks very much, Dolly

  2. It has been an interesting journey with you – thank you for sharing the laughter, the tears and the wisdom which comes from looking back.

  3. We’ll miss your diaries. We got to know you a bit more and I was looking forward to hearing what got you and Jackie back together. I can see why you never wanted to return to that house. OMG!

  4. I am sorry your time in France ended that way. 2018 was not that long ago. The New Forest area sounds perfect for you and Jackie. It is such a beautiful place. ❤️

  5. It is sure Derrick you keep awful memories from this “French” house ! What a sad story .!
    in the Hampshire your life is quiet and happy .
    What I don’ t know is why you bought a house in France ?
    In friendship

      1. I followed the link above and read your post relating your misadventures at the gite ! And following this “disaster ” you bought this house at Sigoules . Unfortunately there was those squaters!

  6. What a nightmare that place was! And those squatters! I wouldn’t have objected if you’d booby trapped the house before you left. I’m really glad that you’ve decided to keep on with your daily diary. It is set in what have to be the nicest surroundings I ever see in any of the blog posts I follow.

  7. I have so enjoyed reading about your adventures…the good and the not-so-good of life! You have many more years and many more good adventures ahead! I do hope for a happily-ever-after for you and Jackie! Keep enjoying each new day! And thank you for the joy you bring to all of us! 🙂

    Wowza! 🙁 on the rest of those house issues. 😮 🙁 It must have been bittersweet to have to deal with all of that and then have to say So Long to it. But, it’s totally understandable and seems the best ending to that saga.
    (((HUGS))) ❤️
    PS…Okay, and EW on the maggots! ?

  8. Sometimes bad endings can be turned into good beginning which in your case seems to be the case.

    I was left wondering if Covid may have intervened with those who took advantage of the situation.

  9. Sounds like a nightmare but it was all too real. I have a request: would you please consider just one more post to end the Knight’s Tale series that is positive – perhaps how you ended up in Hampshire’s New Forest with Jackie? I’ve enjoyed the history.

    1. I will think about how to add it, JoAnna. The thing is that it is all on the blog which began the year before we came here. Maybe a series of links? Maybe a Positive Postscript? Thank you very much for asking

  10. Content, happy and enjoying your new beginnings – what more could anyone ask for.
    A perfect place to close the chapter on A Knight’s Tale and begin anew.

  11. What a fiasco with your house. A relief to be rid of it, I’m sure. I was afraid the deal to sell would fall through because of the flooding.

  12. A Knight’s Tale has chosen a grimy setting to pull the curtains down. However, the impending end to your travails seem justification enough.

  13. It seemed a good idea at the time – and I’m sure you were delighted to finally be able to put it behind you, so a qualified happy ending at least. I’ve really enjoyed your Knight’s Tale catch ups – never a dull moment!

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