“The band will get back together when hell freezes over” – Don Henley, 1982.
Hell froze over in 1994 when The Eagles reunited and broke all box office records.
When we emigrated from England to California eighteen years ago I could not see us ever moving back, which is why I’m going round in something of a daze now that we’ve become bi-coastal. The idea to split our time between Europe and LA began with my love affair with France. For many years Paris and I were doing long distance, but the toing and froing became exhausting and so the hunt for a pied à terre began. This has involved many trips to Provence and Paris, but also involved the realization that I am not actually French. This has come as something of a shock.
Finding a house in France was so debilitating that I can’t possibly relive it, but if you are ever overtaken by a similar impulse I can perhaps prepare you a little. First, you would have to contact an agent, an immobilier which is easier said than done. Les immobiliers are unavailable on Saturdays, Sundays, Mondays, the whole of August and any Jour de Fête (of which there are many). Then when you do manage to locate an agent things do not move quickly. The residents will probably be unavailable during the time period you are in France or have changed their mind about moving while you’ve extended your stay. In the unlikely event that you find a property you want, you will encounter other problems such as needing to be a resident before you can have a bank account but needing a bank account to become a resident. Your agent knows this, but will still send you to the bank to find out. She will also tell you that you don’t need an appointment. At the bank they will tell you that you do need an appointment and to come back the next day, but that’s a Saturday so how about you come back next Tuesday? So you will fall out with your agent but she won’t notice because her office will be closed.
After a year of trying to negotiate in French, the relief of finding an apartment in London and communicating with estate agents in my mother tongue was indescribable. Rediscovering my European side at a time when the English are eschewing theirs is proving interesting, but I have an Irish European passport ready for post Brexit trips to France. It’s all very exciting indeed.
And so welcome to the new shiny Lady Thérèse website where we can hold forth on all the important stuff like; what shoes to wear in autumn when the tube station is a twenty minute walk away and it’s raining, how public transport is the new black, how furnishing an unfurnished apartment is quite the challenge now shops don’t really exist and everything is done online, how absolutely brilliant the vintage and charity shops are here, how shopping malls are more American than American ones, how tall everyone seems to be, how some things are completely different but some things are surprisingly the same. And many of the big grown up issues to… like why I changed my age on Facebook and why I think you should too…