04 February 2014

Old and new

In the years before we came to live here, the exterior walls of the house we bought was covered in vines. As far as I know, the plant was vigne vierge, a.k.a. Virginia creeper. That's what Josette, the woman who owned the place back then, told us. I asked her why it had been removed, and she said it had all just died at some point.

The picture above is an aerial shot that was taken at some point early on — maybe in the 1970s. In 2004 or '05, Josette invited us for lunch at her apartment in Saint-Aignan, and she had the framed photo on the wall in her den. A few months later, she offered it to us as a gift. I thought it was a nice gesture.

Here are another couple of before and after photos. The weather was obviously different, and the light, but the angle of the photos, taken from a back window in our house, is about the same.

Today I have to go into town to consult with a French Social Security counselor about my small French retirement pension, which I'll be ready to take soon. I turn 65 in March. I didn't even know I qualified for a French pension until we moved here and I got a letter informing me of the benefits. I worked as a teacher in Paris, Rouen, and Metz back in the 1970s and early 1980s but had no idea I was paying into the retirement system.


  1. Nice surprise about the pension....
    I wonder how many other "non-French, worked in French State system" don't know?

    That "gorn" pylon don't 'alf make a difference to your view...
    I know they are ugly, but until you see pix like the last two, you don't really realize by how much!!

    Have you read the early "Ninteenth teens" January weather that I posted late on Sunday...
    I've now added the February summaries....
    I hope it is not similar!
    Especially as I went on to depress myself by reading the March and April report headlines!!
    Yuck, dubbel Yuck!!

  2. And .... they didn't forget you ! En fait, vos employeurs ont prélevé sur votre salaire pour cotiser, c'est une obligation. You will received a pension monthly from the IRCANTEC.

  3. What a nice surprise!
    It shows that the old record keeping methods, even if heavy on man power, did actually work - they caught up with you to give you some money - marvellous !!

  4. I got my first notification of the pension plan five years ago, just before I turned 60. It was around the time that I signed up for medical insurance with the CPAM/Sécurité Sociale, and that's how they found me to send me the letter about a retirement pension. I got another letter a couple of months ago, as my 65th approached. Yes, the old record-keeping does work.

  5. Wow, that closeup of the pole sure shows why it's nice to have it gone!

    Cool beans about the pension :)

  6. I understand why you fell in love with "les bouleaux" when you first saw the house. It didn't look bad with the ivy , just a lot of bugs to deal with, particularly in spring and summer. At least you are not the ones who had to deal with removing the ivy.
    Good new about the pension. I guess I will get a little something for my 1 year of work in France. It might be enough to pay my gas bill.

  7. Hi Nadège, my French pension will be just about enough to pay our annual property taxes. C'est déjà ça, n'est-ce pas?

  8. Ken, for 7 years in the "education nationale" in the 70's my pension is 50 Euro per month.

  9. I am still few years away from receiving some money but I will definitively let you know the amount. From Jean Laine's comments, mine might just be a couple of Euros (lol).

  10. Great picture of your house with the vines!!

  11. Love the aerial shot. It was really nice of her to give to you.


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