More news from Olivier on his way?

The way is the goal, as a wise man (I forget who) once said....and that's why they called him wise! He could not have been more right. This of course is not new to you, it is not a new insight. Some of you have been through that experience, others not yet ☺ ☺ ☺ but wait and see! Why, I woud never have thought, not in my wildest dreams, that one of our most wonderful projects, our «kibboutz» in the Dordogne, would one day be in jeopardy. My parents who held two parts in our société civile immobilière which was set up in 1997 had the bad idea of leaving us for new celestial pastures, or the eternal down from 7 there were only 5 of us left. What happened then could almost be seen as a disincentive to doing good: one of our founding members met the man of her life through us - so far so good - but this (otherwise perfectly likeable) man is not one for company under the hot sun....he is from Flanders and to him Normandy is paradise......tough luck!!! So she is telling us that things have been great but now we should envisage moving our kibboutz to Normandy!!! To Normandy? What about the sun? The outgoing personalities of the South? Our charming neighbours the Brits hihihi? The good wine (near Bordeaux)? August 15 on the village market square? Granted, they have good cheese und nice brandy in Normandy...but we, too, get nice brandy from our neighbour, the winemaker (but shhh! we are not supposed to say that out loud). No, we do not want to substitute the rain in Brussels with the rain of Livarot!

Now you'll say to me, that's too bad my friend, but what has your story got to do with me? Well, a great deal perhaps! You, too, may have given some thought to what you want to do when you get older - which was the very start of our adventure. Flash back: a bunch of friends of different nationalities in their thirties and forties, all very busy, spend some time together in the Auvergne and, inspired by wine and good food, end up wondering about the later stages of their lives. The children (if any) will be gone and the pensions will not improve. Loneliness lurks. Do we want to quarrel with unknown people in an old folks' home? Our children will no doubt thank us if we don't depend on them for our happiness. In other words, we have to take our fate in our own hands and make sure we grow old peacefully, in the company of friends with whom it will be fun to bicker about where the hydrangea should be planted and where the car should be parked. And so we set out, about 20 years ago, to look for our paradise. Three years and many trips to France later we found it in the Dordogne, at the Bourg de Rouquette next to Eymet (F-24500).

Yes yes yes, the property on the left is all ours! Why don't you come and see for yourselves? Because now we are actively looking for you, people with similar ideas who might join us and make the team complete again. We would like to find a solution soon because otherwise we run the risk of having to abandon this great place☹ ☹ ☹ ☹ ☹........the beautiful house, over 200 years old, with its 9 bedrooms and a swimming pool is not easy to finance by only 4 people. Ideally we'd like to be 6 or 7 members again to keep the financial burden per member at a viable level. I am not saying that we'll accept all of your whims, although... ☺ ☺ ☺ ☺ . Get in touch, naturally without any commitment, if the idea of acquiring a piece of paradise in one of the most beautiful parts of France appeals to you. And if you happen to be in the region or have not yet programmed all of your summer holidays, just drop in and see for yourselves what paradise on earth can look like. We are here until the beginning of september!

What other news do I have for my friends? Here are the activities I am most involved in; microStart ( is growing nicely and I am proud to play an active role in its development ; NewB ( is demanding a great deal of attention; the goal remains as essential as ever but the environment is less than helpful. Alumni Europae, the association of former pupils of the European Schools ( , one of my roots (, is taking shape, we now have ambassadors all over Europe. The progress of Cross-The-Bridge ( is contingent on the limited availability of its founding members but I am convinced that we are building one of the most relevant models of the future. Perseverance and tenacity. And there is more: the monetary markets in Europe (€ and Libor) are being reorganised right now ( and I am as enthusiastic as ever to be part of it still. MSF (Supply)( and Emergency ( are fascinating organisations whom I am proud to support. I am not forgetting Toolbox (, Ashoka ( and Oksigen Lab ( who call on me occasionally for social projects which I am happy to support in view of their relevance to a society based on solidarity. Last but not least I am still a member of the League of the Optimists (, the other pillar of my activities (you want to be happy? Be happy! Leon Tolstoï said), and I continue to sing in the wonderful Choir of the Optimists. If you enjoy singing but don't dare....come and join us!

That's it right now, and the conclusion is that all is well! Having said this, if you know someone who might like to become a member of our kibboutz, don't hesitate to forward my message.

Thank you and have a great holiday!

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