French Connections

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IT'S NEARLY 20 years since I came to live in France, creeping into Le Havre one dark October morning waving a sheaf of official papers and passes which everyone said you absolutely had to have or they'd just put you straight back on the next ferry to Portsmouth or wherever. In the event nobody took the blindest notice of any of it. Very strange. Unreal, too. Weren't they interested in a family of Brits (plus dog and cat) who'd suddenly taken an immense swerve in the even course of their lives to date, had given up paid employment, sold up and were in the process of moving lock stock and barrel to the south of France? Did nobody share our sense of adventure, did no one recognise the butterflies in our stomachs? Did we not deserve a little encouragement, a word of welcome?