A few people have asked me to explain just who everybody is in my letters, so as a quick guide, here is a run down on who is who.
JJ is a really likable lad whom we all said could be really bright if he only put his mind to it. There lay the trouble with JJ, he was so damned idle when it came to finding a job. Having quit school at 16 did little afterwards apart from laze around.
He applied for the Army and after a lot of interviews did the tests, but not as well as he could have done if he had only made an effort. I think that he thought it would all be a formality.
Because of his poor results he found himself unable to get a placement with the Army but under pressure from me joined the Reserve.
He also discovered that he was eligible for a military run Second Chance scheme (CD2C) allowing him to go back to school.
He is not stupid but doesn't have the paperwork to prove otherwise.
The difference between him and Johnny is probably that you can explain a thing to JJ, he will listen, take it in and give it a go. Johnny doesn't listen, because he doesn't need to, and makes a mess of things.
During 2004 and 2005 JJ did some work for Peter and Sandra around their house. I think they only really noticed how useful he had become when he went off to get educated.
When he was accepted for CD2C at Doullens he asked if he could have Johnny's old room and I said yes. He would have greater calm here and more of a learning environment.
He made good progress at his school, gaining his preliminary certificate and a lot of confidence on the way.
In August 2006 he undertook his Reserve Training and as he came to the end of his 6 month Contract with CD2C we had to make choices as to how he progressed.
CD2C offered plenty of things in the way of building walls or cooking but none of that particularly interested JJ so he decided that as he wanted to get qualifications rather than build walls he left.
Initially what we had hoped to do was get him an apprenticeship in warehousing/stock taking etc. Getting him into a school wasn't the problem - he passed all the tests for a number of places. The problem was finding an employer in our local area - nothing.
Thus it was back to the drawing board and he tried one of the government training agencies. Yes, they did do a professional course which would lead to a certificate of competence as opposed to a school type certificate. So he sat the entrance tests and did the interviews - and passed.
After waiting on one of these gold dust places he started his training in September 2007 at Beauvais and will be there for the next eight months.
To kill a bit of time whilst he was waiting he enrolled with an agency and worked at the local distillery (coming home stinking of whisky) and a local lamb merchants (coming home half frozen from working in the freezers).
Having lived for a while with Johnny and Vanessa, JJ decided that it was easier to have an affair with his brother's long standing girlfriend that find a woman of his own. He is now living with her and working in the kitchens at Fort Mahon Golf Club.
Johnny is JJ's older brother. A bit of a wild lad when growing up, he spent most of his youth under supervision.
He did manage to gain himself an apprenticeship as a plumber/heating engineer and was almost at the end of a two year course at the college in our coastal town of Berck when he decided to run off with his girlfriend and throw it all in the bin.
He has in the past shown a determination and desire to get himself out of the rut that he found himself living in, but it took a bit of guidance and support to show that he could actually do so. Quick on the uptake and full of energy and humour, I still find it remarkable as to how much he wasted his time at school.
He eventually passed his driving test with my support and whilst he was living in the house, that allowed me a certain amount of freedom as he would drive. Like his job though he decided that doing his own thing was better than having transport.
He spent 18 months living here in the house until I had to get him to leave in August 2005. He had become too much of a trial to live with.
Having spent five years with his girlfriend they moved into rooms of their own - only for her to then decide that she wanted to be with his brother - so she left him.
For the moment then he is living on his own in his apartement at Rue. He certainly hasn't found anybody to take him on as a plumber and seems to drift from one bar to another working in the kitchens. Give him his due though he does at least work most of the time.
The remainder of the family are: Jean-Marie the father, who has a definite drink problem (two hands one mouth); Jimmy who is 19 but with learning difficulties. A master at stating the obvious, he works away happily in his garden and seems to be reasonably green fingered. Or at least they would be if you could see them for the dirt.
His speciality is taking a fully working object apart and putting it back together again so that it is completely buggered.
Aurélie (15) and Jason (13) are the two wee terrors, I am never quite certain just which is worse him or her. Jason is currently in a foster home and Aurélie is in care. The village is quieter without them.
At the end of 2006 we had the two back in the village for a couple of months because having got home for christmas they refused to leave again. Whilst they were here they and Jimmy carried out numerous burglaries and wrecked a number of secondary homes - including our Dutch neighbour Rogier's place which was completely wrecked.
Thankfully after only a month of complaining the Social Services and Police finally did something.
When I moved here in June 2003 the first thing I thought about was the fact that I have nearly 1000 square metres of garden. Thankfully all grass but with a high hedge surrounding the house.
I hate all things to do with gardening and during the summer months I suffer from hay fever.
Whilst at Hexagone's offices in Folkestone I had noticed a leaflet from FLOYD in FRANCE offering to do gardening work.
Weighing the costs between buying all the kit and paying someone else - the paying someone else seemed a much better proposition.
I made my phone call and we arranged a meeting. Expecting to see some enormous wagon arrive replete with monstrous pieces of equipment I was rather stunned when this rather nifty wee Smart arrived decorated in the company colours.
I think the initial meeting was more of a test for me, to see if I passed their requirements for being a client than it was for them to prove that they could mow a lawn! Within a few weeks though we realised that we got on very well.
I am given to understand that it was me that set the precedent that all future clients had to not only pay for the work but provide food and drinks as well!
Excellent people to know and work with I would more than recommend them.