Thursday, 9 December 2010

We are now the 9th December. I have been back in La Belle France for a couple of weeks.

It started to snow in the UK as I left, and Normandy all the way to Rouen, was sprinkled with varying depths of snow. I found it really cold. I do not like the cold weather, it makes my joints hurt - not ache, but hurt!

Arrived at our friends home and hubby came to collect me and baggage.

Got home and he had prepared a meal for me - good!!

The next day I started to go through what needed to be done!! (secretary wise!)

Phoned France Telecom and they agreed to refund one months rental and any extra expense I had incurred using my mobile phone providing I sent a copy of the bill with the items highlighted. I did all of that with pleasure...... It even helped improve my French grammar skills..

I am still waiting......

Sent a letter with copy of detailed invoice to Insurance company (bypassing Mme Talon) and am still waiting............

It has been freezing cold here for a few days but then it started to warm up and then we had a lot of rain - the river is looking so healthy I wonder if it will flood..

Dog has been up to his antics. He is only 18 months old and is still a young pup or adolescent. If he sees anything on the move he wants to chase it, trouble is he has (in the past) seen our neighbours chickens moving about and has leapt over their fence and has wanted to play. We have managed to get him away from the chickens without any damage done and kept it under our hats....Oooh, is that a good idea?

So a few days ago the hound decided he would play with the chooks again and our neighbour saw him and chased him off... and then came to see us and let us know what has happened..

Hubby was suitably apologetic and ensured our neighbour that it would never happen again.....

And what happened today? When the hound was being walked this morning he caught sight of a fox! possibly a vixen as it was not a little beast but a larger beast.....

Ah quelle horreur! If this beast decides to take a feast from our neighbours chooks then our dog will get the blame (possibly).

Hm, what action to take - do we let him (our neighbour) know that there is a fox about or keep quiet? We are torn between letting him know and not. Our lovely boy will chase but does not kill - he has caught our chickens but hasn't killed them. Would Mr Sais-tout understand that?

Or am I reading more into this?

Our chickens are not laying at the moment so they are all destined for the pot. Coq au vin, curry, soup etc... poor girls don't know this yet.
I found the following written on the 14th November, the birthday of Prince Charles and also our eldest daughter:-


So far we have been without a telephone line for 1 week, sept jours.

That means we have also been without internet.

We do have a mobile phone but that is only for short local calls.

Our neighbour, who is French, lost his line on Wednesday, two days after we lost ours.

He got his line back on Saturday.

Are we happy?

No, no, no, we are NOT!!

We have no idea about our English neighbours, we don’t speak with them.

Tomorrow I, (you do it better than me) will phone France Telecom and ask them if they have a racist policy (yes, I am joking). I will demand that they repair our line and give us recompense for the week that we have lost.

I will ask my dear French neighbour, who has so generously offered his assistance, to phone them and speak to them with our (my) demands, he is so genuinely ‘good’ he will do this for us.

Hopefully it will result in a success.

And we are still waiting for a cheque from the insurance company (Hah!).

We have also had a lot of rain.

Coming through the ceiling of my laundry room.


Because around 7 years ago a new roof was put on the hangar attached to the house and guttering was not replaced.

Every rainy season I have said to my other half that the guttering needs to be done – he has said “yes, OK”.

Is this a valid reason for divorce?

And so we (I) have, again, water pouring through the ceiling.

Had an immobilier come to visit. “Can you claim on the insurance?” he asked. ‘Not with ours!’ I thought!

We do have someone who will come and do the guttering, we have all the parts needed, and I just want to get it done!

But he (the builder) is waiting for a weather window.

So am I.

Weather: somewhere warm and sunny, without the hassle of house, and land, and husband; just a place where I can relax and be me. Fat chance!.

Went to a local Amateur Dramatic Society production last night.

Absolutely brilliant! (t’was ‘Allo, Allo!) and we knew some of the cast!

And for a bonus, we ran into some people we had not seen for many months, or even years.

At least they now know that we are still around.

Also met another couple that have been here 5 minutes.

I did so want to sell them a yarn:

“Oh yes, we have been here forever and have bought a chateau and have eight children (three of which are in prison – one being a so gay politician) and had won the lottery which is why we could buy the said chateau which needs millions spending on it to make it liveable as well as our properties in Florida, Spain and Tuscany, have a couple of lovers each, his cutie twenties (helped with the blue pill) and my toy-boy, guru, personal trainer, hmm that is why I look soooo young, and umpteen grandchildren between our five marriages” etc. etc….

Have got to get my man into the storytelling mode, I could follow his lead!!!

What business is it of total strangers as to how long we have been here, how would they react if we asked them loads of personal questions?

It really annoys me – not him – just me. I am a private person and will give out info to those that need to hear – mind you, I am writing a blog (anonymously?) but there are the ‘chosen few’ out there who know who I am.

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

November 2010 diary

At the moment I feel that the world is against us.

We have still had no joy from our insurance office in spite of telephoning Mme Talons on a daily basis last week (just 3 days as Monday was a holiday and she does not work on a Friday).

We went to our Bank on the Friday 5th November and spoke with our ‘conseillere’ Mme Sourire who was expressed her disgust with what was happening with our insurers. We explained the predicament we were in what with the extra taxes we have to pay this year on top of dipping into our fioul money to pay the builder. We have no heating in the house at the moment and it is getting colder and colder.

God bless Mme Sourire, she did no more than telephone the insurers and advise that they would be receiving a fax to be put on Mme Talons desk for Monday morning.

At last, someone who is willing to help us sort out this mess.

Mme Sourire said for us to give her a call if we receive nothing within two weeks…..

And so the weekend looked good.

We were invited to a lovely Anniversaire meal with some French friends on Saturday night, had a lovely relaxing Sunday and then…..

Monday morning …. 8th November

We had a violent storm – short and sharp – and it not only gave us a power cut but took out the telephone line…..

I phoned France Telecom helpline via my mobile and got very angry at listening to a 5 minute message repeated very quickly. Now this is costing me money!! Free from a landline – yeah but I don’t have a functioning land line!!

I got angry, very angry and just wanted to speak with someone in a language that I am fluent in and they are also – i.e. English!

I phoned again in the afternoon, when I had calmed down, and eventually spoke to a young woman who confirmed that my line was inactive and that an engineer would call either Tuesday or Wednesday.

By 5.30 Wednesday no one arrived….. Armistice Day on Thursday …..

As I said I feel that the world is against us!

I am writing this Wednesday evening – will finish it on Friday and maybe even post it on Friday!!!


Yesterday was Armistice Day. I did remember the fallen in both wars, especially my Grandfather who lost his life on May 16th 1915 in Normandy.

When I was a ‘youngster’ I would, with my family, visit the local War Memorial and leave a poppy on a cross on Remembrance Sunday. My Grandfathers name is inscribed on that war memorial which has a beautiful bronze statue of a soldier.

I would ask my Father if that was a statue of Granddad… he would squeeze my hand and smile…. It makes me sad as my Father never knew his Father – my Father was born in July 1915.

The weather is still foul, very high winds and lots of rain; at least there is water in the river now!

Had a visit from a French Immobilier this morning. He is a guy that we have known a long time and has been selling property all his working life. He arrived and we went through all the necessary regarding the size of the property, what renovation had been done, why we want to sell etc… He is a very charming man and will let us know his valuation next week.

He also mentioned that the 1st house in our little hamlet had been flooded 10 years ago.

Now this is interesting; When our (new) neighbours enquired of Mme (pre purchase) whether the house was ever flooded she said ‘No, never, never, no!’ I have also heard from a French friend as well as one of Mme’s nephews that the house had been flooded in the past. We have been here 9 years and have seen the river rise very quickly and cover the meadow until it looks like a lake – a stunning sight – then drop again. But it has not, apparently, reached the proportions of 10 years ago. Will the weather bring the river up to levels of 10 years ago this winter? It will be interesting to see as we have had no flooding to speak of for 3 years now.

And so, back to the saga of the telephone. It turns out that in our little hamlet all the phones are out, our neighbour Gilles had reported his line went down on Wednesday, two days after ours. I phoned France Telecom just after lunch today (no good phoning during) and spoke to a charming young man who said that our line would be fixed aujourdhui, après-midi….. I verbally confirmed what he had said and ‘Oui Madame, aujourdhui, après-midi’. I thanked him.

Ha!!! He was having a laugh!!!

So it is Friday evening and we have no telephone or internet.

We also have no cheque from the insurance company……………..


Gilles telephone line went back on Saturday afternoon. He phoned FT for us and they confirmed that ours would be fixed Monday.

Monday 15th arrived. I phoned FT in the morning to confirm that the line would be fixed. The advisor told me that it was a collective problem and that I would have a line by 6.00 pm.


I have phoned today (Tuesday 16th ) nine days now since losing the line. Spoke again to another guy and guess what – he spoke and understood English!! I explained that I had been promised a line on three separate occasions and that I was still without a telephone line after 9 days.

He will get back to me.

And so the saga continues.

Still no cheque from the insurance company.

Wednesday 17th

Phoned FT again this morning and was told, again, that it is a collective problem, yes I said I know. My neighbour lost his line last Wednesday and it was reinstated on Saturday and I am still waiting since Monday 8th, she paused then said that I must be patient. I said I have been patient, she paused again and apologised saying that it would be fixed soon.

And I am fed up having to update my spell-check to UK English from American English!

I also phoned Mme Talon at the insurance office – there is a letter on the way!

I go to the UK to visit family on Friday and I am travelling with friends rather than solo.

I need the break but would like all these niggles resolved before I leave if not I will be leaving my husband to cope with it all. He is not happy at the prospect as I am the one who manages better with the language.

Thursday 18th
Phoned the English helpline and got through fairly rapidly.

I spoke with a charming young man and explained the sorry saga of my non-functioning telephone line.

At least I wasn’t stumbling through the explanation in my inadequate French and I could understand him perfectly! (hmm I wonder if BT has non-English helplines?)

I asked why it was taking so long and what the problem was. I also explained that my French neighbour lost his line on the Wednesday and that it was restored on the Saturday!

The explanation was that there was a power surge on the Wednesday afternoon that severely damaged the telephone relay equipment. We didn’t have a storm on Wednesday afternoon – if I remember rightly it rained a bit but nothing drastic!

The upshot is that we have to wait another 72 hours (that takes us up to Saturday) and I won’t be here.

The guy I spoke to was very helpful but when push comes to shove it is all out of his hands – he is only the go-between (Hmm, but he did ask me if I had internet connection).

Now I have a theory about this.

We lost our line Monday morning due to a storm. I let FT know Monday afternoon and I was told that it would be repaired Wednesday. I think that the Engineer sent to fix the problem possibly caused a greater one by damaging the equipment he was working on. I might be wrong but you never know!

Letter from insurers has not arrived today. Went to the UK on the 19th November.

Arrived back home late on the 29th November, leaving the snow behind in the UK and Normandy.

Whilst I was away my husband dealt with FT and eventually an engineer arrived on Friday 26th, checked the internal phone sockets, checked the connection to the house, checked the line back to the junction box. He then ran a new line through to the house, re-checked the sockets; hey presto! It is fixed!! We can phone out and receive calls again.

Why on earth they couldn’t have done that in the first place I will never know, engineers and the way they work are a mystery to me.

Letter arrived from insurance company, they need an invoice. They have had an invoice but the wrong type. They need a detailed invoice which has now been prepared. I will forward it to them and see what happens next….

Still waiting………soon be Christmas