Upon the first visit, I was hooked! the place looked so charming, as enchanting as Normandy’s promises. The old farm, L shaped, with a big body of water: a “bief” a new word in my new rural vocabulary. Seven woody acres, a pond the river coming and going, and old buildings… a lot when you are single, dreaming of a conversion from Parisian girl to rural France “belle des champs”.
If the house was a maintenance monster, the pond was a maintenance ogre. So, I moved in with a monster, an ogre and a black Bergamo shepherd dog named Ebony. Looking back there was never a dull moment.
The pond was way more demanding than I would ever imagine. A human created body of water, the “bief” in French, is a detournement from the river with an old mechanism to regulate the flow of waters. It had machinery, not in working order in its own small building. There are no stagnant waters because the water flows thru. Oh well, it was magic to look at, but I never thought it would be trouble…
Within the first years, I had to have a caterpillar coming several times into the pastures to reinstate a good flow of the water. Then a couple of years later had to repair the highest point of the mechanism. And again, years after, because I was told it "impacted the river", I had to have the authorization from the very exhausting French administration to remodel the design. Long months of negotiations and administrative nightmares followed. Finally, we got the approval and were able to go on with the project. It was costly but at last, had found a good compromise. That was it, done, finished. Oh well, never really, but mostly low maintenance.
The trees create a wonderful atmosphere, a magical softness, but they grow fast and are a constant chore.
when I look back, even with the administrative nightmares and chores, I do not regret to fall in love with my monster and my now "appeased" ogre. And the unpredictable
“Ménage à trois” lives happily ever after.