Welcome to the latest blog on February 19th 2021.
As many of you know, we are in the middle of settling into French life, which has meant far too much of our time has been spent on paperwork as we re-arrange key elements of our lives. Not all of that effort has been on our own behalf, some of our time has been taken up by sorting out a pet passport for our dog Maddie. Initially, it seemed that this was going to be an incredibly simple process. We took her to the vet with a British passport and half an hour later she came out with a new French passport. The young vet couldn’t have been more helpful, even filling in the form for me that would update the contact details on Maddie’s electronic tag so that she was registered in the French system as well as the British one. All I had to do was put it in the post.
It couldn’t have been easier. It couldn’t have been a more pleasant experience. I breathed a huge sigh of relief and ticked that particular job off my list.
But then I received an e-mail from the company who held the details of the micro-chip for Maddie’s tag. Our application had been blocked by an organisation called DDPP and we needed to contact them directly to find out what the problem was. We had never heard of DDPP but an internet search identified them as the umbrella organisation for all the state services. The thought of trying to find the right contact in so vast an organisation filled me with gloom but there was no avoiding it. Surprisingly, I was put through to the right department relatively quickly. I asked why our dossier had been bloqué.
‘C’est la rage.’
That flummoxed me. ‘What does that mean,’ I muttered to myself. ‘Could it be rabies?’
‘Yes, exactly. There is a problem with your rabies inoculation,’ she replied in perfect English before reverting back to French, at speed, losing me completely. I told her that the rabies jab was up-to-date and valid for another year and offered to send her a scanned copy to verify this.
‘Pas nécessaire. I have a copy here.’ There was a short pause. ‘So…it seems the rabies is ok, but your dog must be checked by a vet in the UK before you come back to France. Because of Brexit. I see that you did not do that.’
I explained that we had returned in September 2020 and that the vet requirement had not come into force until January 2021. Then I waited to see what the next problem was going to be.
‘Can you confirm to me that your dog is in good health, with no worrying symptoms?’
I looked at Maddie, who had just come in from the field after an energetic session of rolling in the mole hills. She threw her grubby little body down on the rug, tongue lolling, and grinned up at me. Her whole life was a worrying symptom for me in terms of trying to keep a clean house, but her health was not in question.
‘Absolutely. She is in excellent health.’
‘Alors, perhaps I can authorise your dossier after all. Everything is more complicated now with the Brexit you understand.’
‘It certainly seems that way.’ I replied.
Michael came in just as I put the phone down.
‘Do I need to know anything?’
‘Nope. Ignorance is bliss.’
And that was the end of that. I hope.
On a far more exciting note, the weather has suddenly become warm and sunny and so, when I am not wasting my life away on the phone dealing with mountains of bureaucracy, I am spending as much time as possible outside, both walking and also working in the garden. Leaves on trees and shrubs are beginning to shoot, my first lettuce seeds are just poking their heads out of their pots in the greenhouse and the wild flowers are appearing in the hedgerows. So I’ll finish this week with some pictures of pretty things, some wild, some in our garden, some from the supermarket but no less beautiful for it. I hope you enjoy.
See you next week.