The Joys of France
The Club were delighted to welcome back former member and Past President Derek Forshaw with his son-in-law David Currie to the Club meeting Monday 02 October and he regaled the Club with his French experiences.
He explained “Why France?” by noting having sold his business and living in the Argory they had to decide where to live after he retired. They had holidayed frequently in France and liked the idea of moving there and having used the services of an “immobilier” (French Estate Agent) settled on the Burgundy area and fell in love with a house in Beaune. He advised that it is about 25-30km west of Beaune, very rural and close to the Chateau Sully home of Patrice de MacMahon (President of the 3rd Republic 1875-79) in the Côte d'Or wine area. "Why Côte d'Or?" he queried when we're 500 miles from the sea? He pointed out that when he left France the area was a golden riot of colour. Beaune he noted was a lovely town with a population of around 45,000 and they had joined the Beaune Rotary Club (rather than the closer Autun one) because it also had an Inner Wheel Club. The Club he noted has 47 members with usually about 25 at meetings which are alternatively lunch (2 course) and dinner (3 course) – it is much more expensive at €1,200 but this does include all lunches and dinners.
He noted that they have had to do a lot of reading and listen very closely to get by with everyone only speaking French and have found that the French love paperwork and bureaucracy and react positively to ‘niceness’. He affirmed that Rotary and Inner Wheel had been incredibly welcoming and inclusive and although they never speak English to Derek they do a bit for Sandra! He acknowledged that he misses football at Windsor Park, his family and friends (though they do travel out) and their church and community but not the traffic (he may only see 3 cars on his way home from Beaune), the grey damp weather (though they do get cold and snow) and Irish politics. He also noted that the French health service was superb – you have to pay upfront but get 75% back and test results are very quick.
He concluded that he has no intention in the near future of coming back as he is enjoying the calm, tranquil and peaceful life.