Saturday, 30 April 2016

The Government Gazette, or Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité (part 6 of 6)

The Government Gazette
The last spasm related to my naturalisation was sending off the paperwork concerning my partner's name. Scanning was a bit tricky whilst on holiday, however, taking a picture in JPEG format was no problem and was just as good as a scanned copy. On March 14 we were at the consulate in Paris, received "THE" document (the excerpts from birth and marriage certificated I had already scanned beforehand), and the same day all documents and my answers to her questions were mailed to the Service Central Etat-Civil.

Ministerie van Buitenlandse Zaken
Of course we had no idea how everything would develop from there. However, on April 4 an e-mail ended our misery and despair: March 26 my dossier had been approved, and within a few weeks the decree regarding my naturalisation would be published in the Journal Officiel (the French Government Gazette). However, where does one buy a Government Gazette? Not at one's local Tabac, that is for sure!

What does he have to do with it?
And then it was again: wait, wait, and wait…. Finally Saturday 23 April the long awaited letter from the Ministry of the Interior landed in our letterbox: my naturalisation as a Frenchman was registered in the "Journal Officiel" of (Sunday!) 3 April by decree no. 13. Once knowing this it was just a matter of an internet search, and bingo, there was the decree of approx. 30 pages. With Photoshop it was a doddle to move my name out of the approx. 1200 to a prominent place just under the heading of the decree. Within six months the remaining paperwork should be finalized: a letter from the French President, the Livret de famille français and, who knows, maybe a blessing from the Pope.

Excerpt from the French Gazette of 3 April 2016
An overview of the road towards French citizenship:
Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité (deel 1 van 6) How to become French?
Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité (deel 2 van 6) The dossier
Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité (deel 3 van 6) The interview
Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité (deel 4 van 6) Bureaucracy
Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité (deel 5 van 6) What's in a name….

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Saturday, 23 April 2016

The "Broken windows" theory

In September 2013 we were in Saint-Christophe-en-Bresse to have a look at the church, and approx. half a year later, in April 2014 we were there again to take some more pictures.

The picture that was found
The first time we were there, there were some workers busy at the entrance, but the second time we had the church all to ourselves. However, what I did not spot was the broken stained glass window in the oculus above the entrance door.
Assume you want to have the window repaired, but you have no pictures available, and the stained glass restorer would like to have at least an indication of what the original window looked like.

The broken window
Well, the internet might bring relief. The person in charge did a search on "her" church, found a not very detailed picture, reduced considerably not to make the site "Bourgogne Romane" too heavy, showing the by now stampsize window, and found the name of the person who took the picture. Via the telephone directory she finally ended up with me.

The old window (1)

Once it was clear what the woman wanted, a solution was quickly found. I (fortunately) save all my photographs in highest resolution, which means that I can blow up a small detail and still have an acceptable image. Whether this is good enough for the stained-glass restorer is not yet clear, but it is in any case better than nothing.

The old window (2)
One day we will revisit the church for a third time once the broken stained-glass oculus has been replaced.

For our own website click here.

Saturday, 16 April 2016

What's in a name…, , or Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité (part 5 of 6)

Court ruling
When I was asked by the French Ministry of the Interior to produce the court ruling concerning my divorce, I was unpleasantly surprised. The Préfecture in Mâcon had accepted the excerpt from the Dutch authorities which stated clearly when and from whom I was divorced, and I assumed that what was good enough for civil servant X should be good enough for civil servant Y. However, arguing with civil servants, no matter their nationality is by definition a lost cause, hence …..
After taking that hurdle early February 2016 my paperwork was most likely in order, and after that I could do nothing but wait, wait, wait…

Service Central Etat-Civil - Nantes
One day before we (on 12 March 2016) were off for a week's holiday in Paris I received a phone call from a lady working in Nantes, at the Service Central Etat-Civil, Département Établissement, whatever that may be. She confirmed that my paperwork was in order (pfff…), but that she still needed some information from me. It appeared that she was creating a complete new file, with birth, marriage, divorce etc. certificates, all in French this time, following French rules. Her first question was how I would like to be registered: as "Cornelis-Gerardus" or "Cornelis, Gerardus". That question was easily answered. Her second remark concerned my surname: however, here I was not given a choice. I will enter French history as "Van Halderen", not as "Halderen, van". One can live with that; it is always a big surprise how I have been registered in shops, with doctors, hospitals etc. Where to look, under V or under H?

British consulate Paris
Her last question was more problematic. My partner is a British citizen, and in England people are or were more or less free to change their name if they wished to do so. As a widow she had chosen to keep the surname of her deceased husband. Her passport only refers to Nixon; her maiden name Mullin is nowhere to be found. The French have a problem with that concept; it is a bit similar as in the Netherlands, where one is registered as Mrs. Nixon born Mullin. However, the name Mullin could not but after extensive searching be connected to the name Nixon, and that was something the lady from Nantes could not handle. She had a list of countries (like Russia) where one could legally and officially change his or her name, but the United Kingdom was not on that list.

Letter from the consulate
What to do about this? Well, that turned out to be relatively easy. Once we arrived in Paris we contacted the British consulate. They knew about these sort of problems, and they produced a bi-lingual document stating that the name in your passport is your legal name, and together with a birth and marriage certificate of my partner and of her parents that should satisfy the Lady in Nantes.

To be (hopefully soon) continued!

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Saturday, 9 April 2016

World Music

When we were still living in the Netherlands we really enjoyed going to concerts which would be classified nowadays as World Music. A number of consecutive years we signed up for a complete season of Indian music, and sometime later also African music, and certainly the guy who organised the Indian concerts had very good taste and was very lucky in engaging the right artists. When the man had to stop, for whatever reason, the Indian concerts became less interesting, but since that more or less coincided with our move to France we did not lay awake about it.

Bourg-le-Comte (A) - La Tuilerie de Chazelle (B)
As said earlier, the available concerts in Burgundy are by far not as varied as those available in the Western part of the Netherlands, where concert halls in Rotterdam, Amsterdam and The Hague offer a wide variety of different concerts. Here the really great names are scheduled for the big towns such as Paris and Marseille, and at not such a high standard in places like Lyon and Dijon. For jazz concerts one has to watch out for the big festivals in Montreux (CH), Juan-les-Pins and Vienne.

Sandip Chatterjee
We were pleasantly surprised when we found a venue that had programmed during a number of years one Indian music concert a year. How good the musicians are is of course a gamble, but in general the musical quality of the concerts around here are of a reasonable if not excellent standard. Besides, nowadays one can easily get an impression of the musical quality of a group via Youtube and the like.

Nihar Metha
In the very near future we will be heading for Le Canoë Renversant in Bourg-le-Comte for a concert of Sandip Chatterjee on santoor en Nihar Metha on table. Bourg-le-Comte is a good one and a half hours drive, so we will not be home in time to watch the late news. However, in order to see and hear a possibly interesting concert one should not begrudge those sort of things, should not one?

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The pictures have been taken from the internet.