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How to tell people to


Don't speak!

Hard isn't it?

It is truly necessary in all parts of our lives, because people are generally super curious and love to have an opinion on what you are doing, or not doing or how they've decided you must live to fit in with them. I call them 'The meddlers' and, word to the wise, I don't want to fit in.

We've had a Lady Whistledown of The Dronne situation here in our French paradise, which has rather upset our collective apple cart, the less said about that the better I feel. Some people just trade in gossip and there's not a lot you can do about it, other than ignore. They bring the drama and then float around on the high of the upset.

I have only one really hard boundary now and that's, when people are doing paid work in my home, or just in my home invited or not, they respect our peace and privacy, also if working, act like the professionals they are purporting to be. What goes on in the renovation stays there, right? It's the least we can expect for our money.

Professionals normally understand the client/contactor relationship, they really do. However in EXPAT (***insert migrant if it suits, not gonna have that row here, call yourself anything you like eh!) life en France it appears to be missing in action, a very grey area and this nonsense keeps following us around here. I, of course realise that if I didn't have an online profile, people would be interested for exactly 4 seconds, if that and then move on to their next victim. I do have an online public profile, that's not going to change any day soon and I do want to share this journey warts n all, that said, it's not quite going the way it should, that's abundantly clear.

There are definitely things I'm not saying right now to try and keep the peace. I struggle with people doing a poor job and then trying really hard to say it's our fault. How on earth does that work? I just don't understand? It's very simple, as in we can only trust what they say they can do? After that, if it goes wrong, well it costs twice the amount it should, because we have to pay again to put it right. There have been no unpaid favours on our project, not one. Even after a terrible job, we've just paid to get rid of the problem.

I also struggle with people, that don't wish to be managed and work on their own timeline. It really doesn't suit us at all.

Also, word to the wise, I may be blonde, but I'm no bimbo and misogyny is not welcome in my home ever. This rubbish about speaking ill of me to my husband does't work, he just tells me what has been said and by whom! We are a team of 35 years plus and no one will muddle in our affairs.

I've found the lack of wanting to invoice or itemise, show us what's been done when we were away, really hard to deal with. We are blind when this happens and also, as our company owns the property, we have to keep really good financial records for everything we pay out. This isn't a cash job, never was. It's also never been a quick fix, have a go Charlie thing! We only employ people that say they can, do and bill accordingly. How we ended up with several contractors over the years that go ahead even if they can' baffling in the extreme. One follower put on my timeline this week, that 'they' get their qualifications on Brittany Ferries! Would be funny if it wasn't often true sadly. Hiring locally has been quite the challenge frankly. These people just make a mockery of time served and talented contractors, drives me nuts.

Philip and I are very tired of the negative rhetoric, which has surrounded our first renovation here in France. I think people working for us forget it's not about them, it's about getting the job done, it's about us. It's about what we need and how we manage all of that inbetween our other commitments. No wallflowers here! Philip and I are strong, confident characters and still they try!

There has been a lot of criticism of how we've run the project, but there's a lot they don't know and don't have the right to know. We are not retired, didn't live on the project and we were mostly in the UK! We did our best to plan which has been pretty tough. Like I said on my FB post, we have to know when contractors are actually going to be in the building, ahead of time, in order to plan. We are not here to fit in with anyones timeline bar ours. That has been the one thing we've struggled with. Going forward we have to be able to plan or we will fail. We are not after a pity party, we just want to get it finished! We are not apologising for minding our own business and getting on with it.

You know, it's not a great feeling knowing that we are constantly being judged, even from within our own walls. It's pretty vile actually. The lack of respect has been quite something, it's very unfair and added an unexpected cloudy dimension to what should have been a great adventure. The least we need from our team, is the dates they will be in the house working and for how long? Without that knowledge, we may as well give up. We've been made to feel foolish when we are far from it.

I honestly don't understand why the people working for us get so upset that we are or aren't going to live there? Our business, our choices. As for my online presence? Don't like it? Scroll on. I've never understood their need to follow, just to see if I'm writing about them. I will only write about you once you've done us wrong, so don't do it!

We've rallied, we always do, but it's hard to feel good about any of it, because of the constant interference. I know I'm not the only one. Oddly, the contractors we've worked with in the UK do the job, get paid and go home. They don't bother commenting on our private lives or tell us what we 'should do', they just do it! We never hear a morsel of gossip ever and they don't try to manage us! Hence we are bringing one of those trusted guys out to help our trusted chap push it all forward. I think adding to the EXPAT team locally is just too problematic right now. He worked for us in UK when we were there and when we weren't and it was all good, easy actually.

I realise that the current incumbants may fear my wrath? No need, as long as they do what they say they can and when they say they will. No problem. This is about the people that let us down and not the people that do their job.

We always knew after last years craziness, that we would struggle with only one chap on the project and we have. Not his fault. That said, being able to plan is key to getting this project finished. It has to be finished by October as it's going to be rented out, no more excuses or made up problems please let's do this!

I realise a lot of my followers are routing for us to move in? They want a happy ending. I get it. I'm always sorry to disappoint, but we have had to rethink so much to do with the renovation over the years and its future recently, even we are perplexed by the turn of events. We've used this opportunity to make a plan that suits us all better in the long term and that's okay, it's also our business. The decision wasn't an easy one, but the best one for our mental health and our business.

We've even had people try and play us off against each other! It's bonkers.

I, of course know there are lovely people in the area and great contractors that understand their role, we have a few on board, but honestly we've had enough all round. A few bad apples have really spoilt it for us. It's simply not enjoyable now even though, we've tried hard to reset the ballance more than once.

We've heard the same thing said from several mouths lately! Complaints about constant scope change, paying our bills and know absolutely that we are the centre of constant gossip. You just know don't you? If one person repeats something verbatam that I've already's sooooooo obvious!

"The scope keeps changing".........echo, echo, echo..!

The only way to stop it, is to get finished and get out. Yes we will change the scope when we need to, but mainly to adapt to constantly falling behind and priorities changing. This is real life and not a Jackanory story folks, channel 4 hasn't got anything to do with this adventure! BTW...My husband runs multi million, multi national £££ $$$ projects, so he can tell you all about scope change, thank you!

What our ex contractors don't seem to understand, is that their opinion on what we do and why is absolutely none of their business. It's that simple, we are the client. Whatever their feelings, they should just leave them unsaid. I'm not bothered about what they think of us, but I'm terribly upset when lies are spread, hence I put it right here and I absolutely have the right to reply.

What decent contractor gossips about his client? They don't if they want to work again! It's a reflection on them not us! Client confidentiality is key to a good working relationship isn't it? These people are making us out to be something we are not and for why? I fail to see what they gain from it other than jumping on the bandwagon!

What has further upset me, is these same people want to stop me writing by complaining bitterly. Not interested. Do a good job and then no one can ever say anything now can they? I certainly won't.

On a positive note we had a great welcome supper here last night, for the new owners of the apartment downstairs, much needed hilarity ensued resulting in a lot of empty bottles to go to the bottle bank today! The clink of shame, love it. I really like people I can relax around and be myself not the online version of me. It's good to make new friends and hang out with old friends and the judgy lot can just do one eh!

Love and Gumption in equal measure.....!

D x

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