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.

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Pharaohfitz · April 7, 2009 at 12:59 pm

Well, it is not too late for the champagne – the cases are still cellared. I have smoked on the matter, emailed the few remaining pipe smokers in the wedding party and we shall not return the champagne!

The French people are wonderful in the group’s opinion but they do not like the bureaucracy but appreciate the fact that you can still smoke, in general.

However, it has been decided that the French wheel will still be renamed “The Wheel that needs much bureaucratic nonsense in order to turn in a circular fashion.” We will not be moved in that small protestation. Vive la Fragrant Weed!

Bonne Pipe

Trever-T · April 7, 2009 at 12:38 pm

I too wish you would not have canceled the champagne – While I appreciate the support very much, our problems are primarily with the French administration and not with the poor champagne producers, who are already having a very difficult time here just staying in business. There are a lot of wonderful people here in France, and I don’t want the story of our difficulties or the seeming “curse of France” that we suffer to cause any friction between English and French pipe people. After all, the anti-tobacco forces of darkness hate us all equally, so we should stick together!

Fumeurs de Pipe · April 7, 2009 at 12:17 pm

I see. You are fortunate to have champagne to spare. If I could, I would do so, and we are a few to help Trever and Emily. But promised, if they come here on vacation, we offer champagne 😉

Pharaohfitz · April 7, 2009 at 11:58 am

Apologies for any offense. I know there are many fine citizens in France. Quite frankly, the champagne just would not taste the same for the pipe smokers attending the wedding – it was discussed with all. We do appreciate the Marquis De Lafayette and many others through WWII. However, please note that the act was done in protest and is certainly less damaging than burning something in protest of the G-20, etc.. The return will also free up some dollars so that several may be able to purchase Talbert pipes, now that the Euro is not involved and as oppressive thanks to the failed policies of the past administration. So, the symbolic act will assist the cause of the Talberts. Bonne pipe

Fumeurs de Pipe · April 7, 2009 at 10:12 am

Sorry to answer in my bad English. I do not see how to return these bottles will improve the situation of Trever. This blow was being done to Trever and Emily can be done at any french citizen. Many of us here to regret their departure, and its poor conditions. We are powerless in this situation they. And producers of champagne too!

Pharaohfitz · April 7, 2009 at 12:59 am

Well. I am very sorry and as a gesture of protest, we have returned 12 cases of very fine French champagne that was destined for a wedding reception. I will call about the motors and workshop equipment; dust collector, several small lathes, band saw, drill press, (if needed,)sanders (disk and belt), Baldor motor and buffing wheels. At least they are NOT French…. I am, however, renaming the French wheel to “The Wheel that needs much bureaucratic nonsense in order to turn in a circular fashion, n’est pas.”

Rock on and welcome back to the Old North State.

Anonymous · April 6, 2009 at 8:38 pm

when my mum was alive she used to come out with a saying “it’d be funny if it wasn’t so serious”. one day i’m sure you’ll look back and have a good laugh- but not yet. it appears you’re in some kind of real life thriller/nightmare. continue to strive onwards and hopefully all will be different in a few years. the two of you are obviously hard working, strong and adventurous people so while i’m sure you must feel overwhelmed just now i’m also thinking you’ll be overwhelmed by kindness once home. i was once repatriated form spain- not quite in the same league- but realised then that just having family and friends is sometimes the only difference between those of us that stay afloat and those that don’t.
by the way, you realise that your beautiful pipes will now be classified as pre or post “the nightmare”.
hang in there trever and emily- bet the smell of those tobacs you chose for the trip are even more etched in your mind than you ever imagined possible. you’ll either love them or hate them. be sure to let us know once it’s over.

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