The final frontier

Space... the final frontier... Captain Kirk's log star date, well you all know how it goes...

I've already written about our uncertainty about what we've actually bought (see – my earlier blog “What have we bought?”) and today we have had the long awaited appointment with Mr White, the Géometre expert, who is empowered to physically mark out our frontiers or boundaries.

Jeff and I arrived at site at 0830 (yes, that's in the morning) the time stipulated on the official form we had received confirming the rendez-vous, to find Mr White, and his (female) assistant hard at work doing whatever it is they actually do.

Coucou, darlings”, says a smiling Lizzie, who has also been here some time to represent our future neighbours who are having their boundaries delineated at the same time.

I don't propose to go into much depth about the processes, technology and instrumentation involved in the marking out procedure because, to be perfectly honest, on reflection I don't have a clue what they actually did for over 10 hours today. All I can say is that it was curiously riveting. J, L and I sat around, walked around, stood around, paced around between orange poles, stood at various crucial (or so we thought) marker points and pointed at things.

So one of these orange stakes might show the boundary. Glad we've clarified that.

We tried to not stand in the way of the theodolites or smudge the paint markers or to obscure the mirror thingies on poles with car doors (not guilty) too often. We watched in fascination as Mr White scythed (yes really, he had a small scythe on a very long pole) down troublesome foliage and trees. We admired the orange paint blobs on, well, almost any conceivable surface from concrete blocks, to wooden fence posts, to walls of buildings, to tussocks of grass. To be honest it was as cryptic to me as Rubik's cube or the construction techniques of Stonehenge. So, can we actually see what we've bought yet?

Actually yes and no.

Tonight we now know for certain that we have a problem with one of our boundaries in-so-far-as a small strip has been “bought” by our neighbour but should have been allocated to us. Hopefully this sounds much scarier than it is and will be a simple matter of reassigning this tiny parcelle (mum - stop hyper-ventilating, this is France). Or maybe we'll just have a dog-leg in our boundary wall. We also have the interesting issue of the front boundary which cannot be precisely defined as a condition of our purchase was that we cede a portion of land to the commune for the eventual (sometime, never) purpose of widening the road. The issue here is that the exact amount of land they require is not precisely stipulated … so where exactly do we build that wall???

Jeff is, erm, maybe at the far edge of our boundary but there again I might not have taken this photo from the correct position. I think there might to be some more work involved.

This is, apparently, not the end of the process. Mr White will now do many complex calculations to double check that we have all the land we have bought marked out. Once verified this will be registered and finally he will return to install the bornes (official markers). Only when this has been completed will we be able file the appropriate form with our Marie and then, finally, we'll be allowed to erect our fences. Methinks we'll be having cows in the garden for some time to come yet.

Our future neighbour has memorably referred to this encounter as a “land battle with our Reservoir Dogs chum Mr White” and having felt the power of the man I think I'd rather take on Mr Pink!! This battle may be fought but the war is not yet won. I'll keep you all posted on the progress to finding what we have actually, really, definitively, bought.

In the meantime, here's another gratuitous image of the view with a Géometre's expert assistant in the foreground:

It's a good job”, she told us, “except in winter when there's snow on the ground and your hands get cold”.