I can neither tell the sex of a collared dove, nor recognise individuals but there is one that now potters over the threshold into the house to check if there’s anything worth pecking up from the carpets. I assume it’s the same bird each time. The dogs ignore it but something caught and ate one the other day, leaving nothing but a sinister single clawed  foot on the bird table. I doubt it was a cat as the dogs terrorise any that dare enter the garden.

The government advises Brits living in France to acquire a carte de sĂ©jour, a residence permit, which ought to give some security after Brexit. This is obtainable from the local prefecture but a formidable quantity of supporting documentation is demanded. The government website has a list of what is required. It has also issued a different list to all the nation’s prefectures. And the prefecture has a list all of its own which is different yet again. One’s success really depends on the bureaucrat who confronts you. Some will carefully go though each document and refuse you because the translation of the birth certificate is four months old rather than the expected three. Others will make executive decisions and happily issue the carte even if many of the ‘i’s and ‘t’s are not dotted or crossed.

The company working on the chateau was founded in 1919 by the current boss’s gt-grandfather. It’s a sweet operation and has four of its workers on the roof at the moment. The owner will retire next year and the business will close down as nobody wants to take it over.

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