Today we had the big meeting at the mairie, and it was quite a gathering – the mayor of Herbignac himself was there, along with the head of town project planning, translators, etc. I made our displeasure known from the start. Naturally, all parties involved denied any responsibility and put the blame wholly on our “depressed” buyer, but of course they would do. The crux of the problem was apparently that we live in a high visibility spot in an area very shortly to be gentrified and upgraded. Our buyer is the president of what amounts to the local Chamber of Commerce and there was some political infighting over his snatching up such a prominent bit of property in a key location for himself, to the extent that he bailed on the deal.
Of course, I care nothing about this, all we want to do is get out of here. To this end, I insisted on a signed attestation direct from the mayor certifying the limits of usage of the property, that it is open to buy for all commercial entities, and so forth, as well as the limits of modification (The original buyer wanted to do some extensive changes, but structural modifications are frozen till the gentrification project is complete next year).
Overall, it was one of the most productive meetings I think I’ve had during our time in France, and I didn’t hit anyone (which frankly, there were odds towards). In some ways it was oh-so-typical, with everyone involved showing great concern about how terrible our situation was and stressing that, of course, it wasn’t their personal fault at all. But in other ways, we did obtain some crucial info and some significant concessions.
Bottom line – The deal is still dead. We should receive at least a small payoff as compensation for their breaking of the contract, which can go towards the moving cost. And there will be a move after all – To our everlasting gratitude, a coalition of family members and friends in the states (including some pipe folks, I am told) are gathering together to help cover the cost of getting us back, and many very fine people have come forward with basic items to loan us to help out, given that we’ll be arriving minus a lot of furniture and goods to trim the moving expense.
(It’s odd to find myself needing things like a lawnmower and curtains again. But then, if I just leave the yard unmowed, the grass may handle the window covering problem…)
Anyone wishing to help out by donating any funds or goods should contact my parents at their work phone – (336) 884-4026, ask for Glenn or Bonnie Talbert. They’re coordinating the bail-out on that end, which will include getting hold of some loaner workshop equipment that we’ll need (Motors, mainly, since we have to leave everything electric behind – Thankfully our gear is mostly belt-driven). Much appreciation to all! Emily and I have been literally overwhelmed by the flood of good wishes, emails, IMs, and calls that we have received from people in the US pipe community and abroad. There are some very fine folks out there.
We’ll be arriving in late April, to find out if Sharkey has chopped down the party tree back home.