As of this afternoon, with less than a month until our scheduled departure from France, the major contract that we were counting on to pay for the move (the sale of our French property) has just fallen through.
The news leaves us devastated on multiple levels. We have closed down our business in France, so we can no longer legally work here. Our visas are soon due to expire, and cannot be renewed without secured employment, yet we cannot restart our business in the time we have before the visas expire. All our travel reservations are already made, and of course are nonrefundable. We can leave as scheduled, or remain at most another couple of months and then pay for the travel all over again. This leaves us with nothing to pay the movers with, nothing to live on after our arrival in the US, and a gigantic lead weight of debt to crush any future we might try to build in the states.
We are probably going to fly back on schedule anyway, but this leaves our financial futures and any future for the pipemaking in serious doubt. At the least, we will almost certainly have to abandon the Ligne Bretagne stock due to inability to pay for shipping – a huge loss of both our money and a good little pipe brand. Though I must say, at this point the idea of simply leaving pipemaking for good, for a “normal” job with a paycheck, has a considerable degree of appeal. If I sound a bit disjointed, it’s because I am – We are reeling, once again, from another “French disaster”. The past seven years often seem like little but one long stream of knotted stomach, cold sweats, paralyzing worry, and fear of what new and worse surprise may be waiting around the next corner.
So… It is likely that we will still return to the US on schedule, but most likely penniless and unable even to pay for the shipment of most of our workshop stock. Obviously any sort of future plans regarding restarting pipemaking or attending US shows is now totally up in the air. I really can’t begin to predict where we will be just a month from now.
Oh, and our buyer’s reason for breaking his contract at the last minute, after we’d closed down the business and terminated all our French business and legal connections, thereby leaving us without recourse and financially devastated? He is “depressed”.
He should be in this household tonight.