Friday we became the proud owners of another hectare of land.
Google tells me that a hectare is 10,000 square meters, or 2.471 acres. And this is where I'm supposed to say: "The size of a football pitch" - or something. So you can visualise what I am talking about. Anyway, it's big and at the moment is planted with rape.
The land (carefully measured out by the géomètre and marked with red plastic borne markers at the far corners) swoops in a curved dip the other side of the track that goes down to our derelict cottage. The cottage - which becomes less derelict by the day - is the reason we've bought it.
We've been restoring the cottage (when I say "we" I mean the builders have) and we needed drainage access from our fosse septique to the ditch on the far side of Serge's field.
We were already in the process of buying a small scrubby triangle of land from Serge, which would make us the owners of a large walnut tree and a scruffy corrugated iron roofed shed attached to the remnants of an old barn wall. Because we needed access to the ditch, Serge thought it would be a good idea if we bought his football pitch sized piece of field as well. (For full details of the story see Problems with the Drains on La Petite Maison)
At the same time we've bought a small piece of the field up behind the house from Monsieur F. This means that he can no longer plough close to the edge of our boundary and hopefully that will help stabilise the bank and stop the mud sliding across our drive when it rains.
We sat in the notary's office for an hour and a half as she read through every paragraph of the two sale documents and we all initialled or signed every page. Having been through this when we purchased the house, we knew what to expect, but it still is painful to discover how little French we understand.
Serge has the right to harvest his rape up to August 1st. After that date, he would have to pay us a fine of €100 per day. He tells us he will be harvesting on July 14th - Bastille Day. In the meantime, he tells us we can get access to the ditch on the far side, ideally via an underground pipe so he can harvest above. Good, we have friends staying in the cottage in June. We need the plumbing to be working!