French follies….. Week 4 . Xmas week.

A somewhat interrupted week, but not nearly as bad as Oz. the French take Xmas day off and then it’s business as usual. Usual, that is, for France.

The House

As reported in my last missive ,one bathroom is functioning although it still needs a screen.  Down in the cellar/plant room/ bloke’s shed area we found some leaks in Raymond’s new plumbing. He treated it with some epoxy product which has not been a complete success, so he has that to look forward to when he returns later this week,after new year. Raymond was scheduled to come back to work on the 27 th, but did not show up. I spoke to Frederic,who said he had not heard from him, but thought he was coming back on the 28th. Later in the day we were in Uzes and saw Raymond working on Frederic’s apartments.!

We are going into another week of a public holiday. Raymond says he will be back on Wednesday and will finish the job next weekend. We’ll see. Meanwhile…….

 The Container

Great news .the container will arrive next Friday morning on the back of a camion. We have 2 hours to unload it before we start getting charged more money.  Our advice is that the camion will not fit up Rue Droite, so we will unload it about 100 metres away and carry or trolley things either to the house or to the garage we are renting,which is  about 100 metres in the other direction. We are assembling a cast of thousands for this exercise. Should be interesting!


The morning after we arrived our brand new leased peugeot 308 was tail ended by an arab gentleman. The damage to the car wasn’t too bad,so we didn’t worry about repairs or a change over car.  Last thursday as we were motoring along we got severely sideswiped by a large truck going in the opposite direction. He did not stop.  The driver’s side mirror is gone and every panel on the driver’s side is damaged.  But it still drives OK  so we’ll soldier on.  No other motoring news i’m afraid.


What an organisation.   On Xmas day we made some calls to friends and family in  Oz.  On 27th orange cut off calls from the phone because we had spent too much! Not content with that ,they also cut off our ipads because we had used up our credit, but there seems to be no way of finding out how much credit you have left.  The Uzes orange shop ,on our latest visit (now into double figures), gave us a hitherto secret number which gets you through to an English speaker in Mogadishu or Dar es salaam, we offered to pay by card to get things reconnected when we found out what the problem was only to be told that the English speaking department could not take payments and that we would have to use the French payment number like everyone else. When we explained the language difficulty we were told to get a French speaker to help and we were disconnected!  But there’s more!

On Friday our box from orange arrived by mail , even though we had been told (by Orange) that we would be contacted before delivery. The box contained our “livebox” otherwise known as a router, I think and a decoder for the TV.  And lots and lots of glossy literature. We went into the orange shop (again) and asked if they could direct us to someone who could install it all. They sent us around the corner to an internet cafe, which they had never mentioned before, where the internet savvy young owners speak perfect English. We gave them the box of stuff from orange together with our ever expanding orange file and left them to the job of effecting the installation, so all we would have to do is take it home and plug it in.

Murphy’s law.

We took it home,plugged it in as instructed ….and it didn’t work.  A close study of the troubleshooting part of the installation manual revealed that the rapidly blinking red light meant that we were not getting an internet signal at all. The man at the internet cafe said that this was orange’s problem and that we needed to contact them.   The manual further says that if the internet is not working you should email!!! Them . No phone number supplied.  I should interrupt my flow of bile here to say that some of this was going on in our favourite cafe in Uzes and as we were leaving the customers all said to us “welcome to France”.  Everyone just hates orange.

Just down the road from the house is a cafe/bar that we retire to quite frequently. It has a nice terrace with wonderful views over vineyards and wooded hills where the sangliers ( wild boars) live and the chasseurs chasse. There is a girl working in the cafe who introduced herself to us a week or so ago and said if we needed any help with anything she was available. She came around this morning. She knew the number for problems at orange by heart. So, she went out into the street where there is reception and made contact with orange after a 15 minute wait. We had a young French neighbour running in and out check on the livebox for improvements, but, alas it remains a deadbox. Eventually orange conceded that there was an issue with the wiring and a technician is scheduled to visit us on Wednesday morning.  That will be one month since we ordered and paid for it all. When this is resolved i think that a stiff letter will be in order.  I doubt that it will achieve anything ,but I’ll feel a bit better.


What you may have read about the Frenchman and his lunch is an understatement. I have been refused entry at m. Bricolage at 11.55 and as previously recounted all negotiations ceased at Ikea at midday, even though Ikea itself doesn’t shut for lunch. What i was told by the Ikea man was that the switchboard at the delivery company had closed for lunch for 2 hours. Most businesses shut for 1 1/2 hours, some for 2 . And Uzes is like a morgue on  Sundays and Mondays… Most businesses are closed.. No wonder france is in the merde and sinking steadily.

It’s new year’s eve. We are looking forward to a lovely meal and a few wines in front of the fire before retiring around 10 secure in the knowledge that thanks to orange the phone won’t ring during the night.

That’s all for this week


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