Having a house in the country means developing a new set of friends around it. Expats tend to cluster around each other, but we generally find them boring, and too much like us, although there are some we really like. We have, however, also managed to befriend some of the locals. Our most intimate contact is with a local farmer and his wife, who are every bit as intelligent, interesting and warm as any city contact.
The other day our twenty-seven-year old deux cheveaux broke down, and the president of the DEUCH club helped us find a garage that could fix it. We bounced along to find it, and chatted all the way. Small talk, testing the ground. It is an activity I don’t like too much, but it is part of establishing social ties with the residents, of creating a circle of friends.
And that is what we want. Not to isolate ourselves and stick to our kin, but to spread our arms, and embrace this new and different world.