Wednesday, September 26, 2007

The Compromis Kids

For most of the year Tanya and I have - as far as we know - held the accolade of being the youngest English speaking residents of the Luberon. We’ve met plenty of ex-pats but almost invariably they’re retirees in their forties, fifties or sixties. They’ve bought vineyards and old farmhouses and typically divide their time between France and England. Just once in a while we’ve wished - and it’s true be careful what you wish for - that we had some company of our own age.

About three months ago Lisa (31) and Dave (28) came surfing on a wave of chaos into the valley. With admirable impetuosity they’d quit London and headed for the south of France, packing their belongings into the back of a van and vowing to buy a property on arrival. The local immobilier must have had euro signs tumbling like fruit machine reels around their eyes.

Within days Lisa and Dave had signed a compromis, a legal document which commits a purchaser to buy a house after the expiry of a 7 day cooling off period. At this stage estate agents will usually kick back smoke a cigar and count the cash confident that the deal is all but finalised, but within days L and D‘s enthusiasm had thawed.

Over the next few months three more immobiliers thought they’d hooked the couple we’ve dubbed the Compromis Kids. They swagger into town, they fall in love with a house, they sign the Compromis without blinking and then with the estate agent salivating they wriggle free at the last minute. In the intervening time Tanya and I have become quite fond of them - they are so unsure of what their future holds they could be us, only we’re older and should know better.

In any event as I write this the Compromis Kids have just arrived to drop off a van load of their belongings They’ve decided not to live in the south of France after all, instead they’re heading to the Alps - estate agents beware - because they’ve always apparently liked the mountain air.

The only problem is that they’ve nowhere to store their belongings, which is where we come in. I am now running a wine business from a cave filled with tables, beds, chests of drawers, eel-catching nets, top hats, stereos, and Tvs. The Compromis Kids have promised to come back and collect all the stuff when they are settled in their new house but with their track record we’re not holding our breath.

Still it was nice to have some young friends for a while.