The People

Locals, Guests, Family and Internet Groups

The Villeneuvois are lovely - friendly and polite; the very antithesis of the British view of the Parisians. In fact many would far sooner have Brits here than Parisians - maybe a relic of the time when Aquitaine was English and we were supporting the Protestants against the Catholic King in Paris?
This old-fashioned politeness can turn a shopping trip from a chore into an enriching experience and there is a big contrast between the French shop assistant and my experience of their undervalued, underpaid and surly English equivalents.

We live in a very rural area with few neighbours, and, being backward in coming forward, it's taken time to integrate in the community. But we're now recognised at village functions, which we take pains to attend, and have always been received with welcoming friendliness. There's quite a strong ex-pat British community but it represents only a tiny proportion of the populace, so there are no English ghettos. Our community of some 400 souls has only half a dozen or so Brits within it.

Christine's language group includes French people learning English as well as vice versa, so we've been to a few local functions. There are walking clubs, a newcomers' club, tai chi, golf, croquet, etc., so we're not lost for something to do in between "holidays" - some would say we're on permanent holiday!

2016 - Some People Pics

Christine's 70th Birthday Bash Birthday gift from artist Pierre Clerk
Sasha & Callum get married Tim & Kitty outside The Dorchester
Millie, Olivia, Sara at Fongrave Peter, Karen & Christine at La Stelsia
Lunch on a hot summer's day Ian's Marconi Old Geezers' "Do"

Christine's 70th Birthday celebrations dominated the first part of the year - I still can't believe that she's 70 years old - she certainly doesn't look it! We hosted a nice lunch at a local restaurant for her family and our friends, both French and English.

Christine made an Official Granny Visit to the UK in October; as usual I stayed and cat-sat, not because I don't want to see the folks in the UK but because for the two of us to visit demands cattery fees, a long car trip or car hire, overnight accommodation en route and hotels in the UK. If just Granny goes then it's only a return flight on PaddyAir. And it's a good time for painting the walls!

On the greater family front, Tim (53) has settled down with Catherine ("Kitty") Cooney in South Benfleet. Marianne (52) was last heard of in Hove, Brighton - her son Cantlin (29) is a software designer and can be discovered here

Susanne (50) in Leiston, Suffolk has four children; Thor (28) and Aerie (26) who have left home and Aster (12) and Sarene (8). Her husband Sarrif works with Huawei as a network designer.

Christine's eldest son John (49) now lives with Hilary in Mitcham and his son Ryan (21) is living and working in Derby.

Simon (47 in January), Sara and daughters Millie (10) and Olivia (almost 9) have moved back to Essex to be near his job - he is the General Sales Manager at the VolksWagen dealership in Southend. They spent a few days with us in August and we were able to see them all on our trip back for my Marconi Old Geezers' Christmas lunch

Our Peter (32) still works for in Germany - we've been three times to see him and the exciting city of Berlin. He's in a lasting relationship with a dark-haired Spanish señorita called Karen, who also works for; they both came to see us in October.

My expat "support & social" groups La Vie en France and La Vie en France (on Facebook) continue to thrive; I enjoy the management and technical aspects and there are occasional get-togethers, but they can take up a great deal of time.

In addition I run groups for The Engineers of South-West France, The Engineers of South-West France (on Facebook), The Valentine Golf Society, The Marconi Old Geezers' Society and a village blog for Sainte-Colombe-de-Villeneuve.

My BAE Systems Employees and Former Employees group on LinkedIn is doing well, with some 1800 members.


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