Moving to France can be full of so many high's. The scenery, the peace and quiet and of course the local food and drink and it is also so easy to feel as though all of your troubles will go away forever, sadly, this is not the case.
Speaking the language, even if it is just a little is the best asset you can have to make life go that little bit easier and let you get on, stress free with the things you moved to France to do.
Calling a service provider to get your phone connected or the local water company to turn on the water is so much easier if you can communicate.
Sometimes, even if you feel equipped with a reasonable vocabulary of eagerly learned French words and phrases, the speed with which the telephone operator the other end speaks, or perhaps the dialect that they have, can make understanding, and making yourself get across is made all the more difficult.
There are English speaking service providers such as Teleconnect for telephone and broadband or English speaking sections of existing services like France Telecom's English speaking help service (although I have had lin=mited success with this).
In this day and age, anyone that is Internet savvi can get to the service they need. For example, just typing English speaking mechanic, builder or electrician near Monflanquin into Google and you will get three choices or recommended artisans to choose from.
However, there is always the need for a personal touch and when things can feel as though they are getting you down (after all, you moved here for less stress right?), there are services available to help you out.
One such new service is the Settling In Service run by our friend Anita Phillips from Monpazier.
We met Anita, and her husband Simon very soon after we arrived here through Lafayette, who we used to buy our house.
Simon and Anita have become good friends and I play golf with Simon and we all meet up (too infrequently) at Chez Minou in Monpazier for a pizza.
Back in 2005, Lafayette started an after sales service for their clients designed to help settle in new clients after the house buying process had been completed.
Anita and her colleague Pippa would then assist clients in setting up bank accounts, getting connected to the telephone, arranging medical insurance or currency exchange, or even just reassuring clients with a friendly chat before they had chance to make friends elsewhere.
We were a guinea pig for the service and didn't have to pay and we got into the swing of things fairly quickly - I think it is called 'in at the deep end' and didn't have a need for too long.
If you are thinking of moving to France or have recently arrived then Anita could help getting things straight - the telephone number and email are on the site.