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Interviews

Laraine Bashford - Entre-deux-Mers (Bordeaux)

"Right from the start our neighbours welcomed up and we have intergrated well with everyone, I was married in my village, and my Mayor
of my village married my husband and I. Bless him, he didnt speak a word of English, and he did the whole service in English, I was
really surprised, many years later, I asked him if he had help with an English person, he said no, that he took a dictionary and wrote the whole service out himself. Although my French is not brilliant, our closest friends are French, and we take part in most events
and activities. The other thing is that we have never had an attitude which I have found many Expats have when they come to live in
France.. we are British, why do we have to do this and that. When you come
to live in France the rules and regulations and the whole way
of
living is completely different to the way you live in the UK, so one has to change otherwise, why bother to come to live in France. When I here some Brits start running the French down, that really makes my blood boil. I really feel like saying, Go Back To England.*/" (LB, Jan 2011)

  • Interiew with Laraine Bashford

    What is your name, age and how long have you lived in Entre-deux-Mers?
    Laraine Bashford and I have lived here for 23 years

    Why did you decide to move there? What is the region like?
    Unfortunately it is a very long story, We got fed up with the UK. The region is absolutely beautiful, rolling hills, beautiful countryside, hectres upon hectres of vineyard and orchards, the French people here are just fabulous, so friendly and
    helpful.

    How many children do you have, what are their names and when were they born?
    I have one son Peter John - date of birth - 5.02.1986

    Do you work and if so what do you do?
    I am retired officially, but I market privately owned Chateaux for Weddings,Family/Group Holidays - for all occassions.

    How did you find the process of setting up a business in France?
    The company I work for is in the UK

    What was your experience of relocating to Entre-deux-Mers with your son?
    It has be very hard over the years, we have been knocked down many times by other expats, but we have picked ourselves up
    and worked really hard, but we have NEVER had any regrets.The only thing that I was sorry about was that my son, who has slight
    learning difficulties has to go to a special school, as here in France, they dont have the intergration at mainstream school as they do in the Uk, consequently my son went to a school where he other children were really handicapped, he was not in that grade, those children
    stayed at the school, where Peter came home everyday, the school seemed to concentrate on the more handicapped, so Peter was not pushed hard enough to work. I feel that he had wasted 13 years at this special school and really didnt learn anything, I used to get
    private tuition for him during the week-ends. I am very proud though of him as he is bilingual, in fact his French is better than his
    English, It is a shame that they dont have these facilities in the education system here in France. The great thing is that everyone
    French and English here in our area, knows Peter, watched him grow up from the age of 2 years old, and now look out for him. I have never feared for his safety.

    Would you do things differently if you did it again?
    No

    How well integrated would you say you and your family are?
    Right from the start our neighbours welcomed up and we have intergrated well with everyone, I was married in my village, and my Mayor
    of my village married my husband and I. Bless him, he didnt speak a word of English, and he did the whole service in English, I was
    really surprised, many years later, I asked him if he had help with an English person, he said no, that he took a dictionary and
    wrote the whole service out himself. Although my French is not brilliant, our closest friends are French, and we take part in most events
    and activities. The other thing is that we have never had an attitude which I have found many Expats have when they come to live in
    France, we are British, why do we have to do this and that When you come to live in France the rules and regulations and the whole way
    of living is completely different to the way you live in the UK, so one has to change otherwise, why bother to come to live in
    France. When I hear some Brits start running the French down, that really makes my blood boil. I really feel like saying, Go Back To England.

    What language do you speak to your children?
    My son speaks French and English

    Were the locals welcoming of you and your family when you moved to the area?
    Yes, very much so, after 3 weeks, my neighbours came with cases of wine, and helped us clear our barn with all the
    bales of hay that we had.

    Your son went to a special school due to his Cerebral Palsy, what was it called and were you happy with his education?
    I rather not mention the name of the school, and No, I wa not happy with his education, as I have mentioned above, if he had gone to a
    mainstream school, he would have intergrated better and had grown up with other boys of his age, and because of this he has grown up without having a mate to talk to and share any secrets that normal lads do.

    Are there any local activities, restaurants, shops or services you’d like to recommend in the area?
    There are lots of activies during the summer months, with fetes, markets every day in different villages,local restaurants, shops Cinema and services are all great, within about 5mins - 30mins in and around. Again I am really surprised that there are no Youth clubs in villages where the teenagers can get together, play snooker, darts, music etc., they all tend to meet up at the local bars, but I must say that the children and teenagers in our area have so much respect for not only family but friends and people in general, I have always admired this, even the churches and cemetaries are looked after and cared for, nobody would ever dream of going into a cemetary and smash things up, like they do in the UK. I suppose living in the countryside we are all more united than living in a big city.

    What do you think are the main advantages and disadvantages of being a parent (from the International Community) living in Entre-deux-Mers?
    The advantages of living in France is the pace of life, you live a healthier an longer life, . Bank holidays stay bank holiday, Sundays are family days France is family-orientated . Great education, Medical care is fantastic. I dont find any disadvantages

    What do you think would improve children´s lives where you live?
    Youth centres. expecially in the countryside.

    What advice would you give for anyone having a baby or thinking of relocating to Entre-deux-Mers with children?
    There is no real advise I can give really .If you are renovating, please use the locals, I am a real avid user of French Artisans, you live in France use the locals, it helps tremendously when you have just moved into the area. I have never had a problem with the French artisans, they have worked well, always been on time, and therefore I have given them work to other people.

    (Jan 2011)