Friday, May 2, 2008

Bonne Anniversaire !

Quick roof update - we heard back from the Mairie but it wasn't very helpful. No we must wait for the permis. I have responded in the vein that we thought due to the fact there was a big hole in the roof and many rotting timbers due to neglect of the previous owners, on purchasing same we would be allowed to replace it and make the house watertight without permission, also asking if he has any idea how this might take, but he has not bothered to respond to that letter. I am thinking we have not got off on the right foot here!! Ho hum....

Anyway more tales from the hols. On my birthday (surprise, surprise no pressie from GWE - many excuses about working long hours, shops in Germany etc. etc. which of course fell on deaf ears) but no matter, I did have pressies and cards from other people who like me and could take the ten minutes it takes to write a card AND post it!!

We decided that would be our day in Limoges, have a nice lunch, a little shopping - lovely. However we woke up to a damp and miserable day, it seems everytime we go to Limoges it is raining. Never mind we had a long to do list. The plan was to go to the EDF (electric company) and find out why we were getting invoices even though we weren't getting electricity - that sounds like a fun one doesn't it? Go to the internet cafe to print off photos for the permis application. Go to the bank to see why no bank cards or cheque books had materialised. OMG I am getting exhausted all over again just thinking about it.

First stop the bank in Magnac Laval. Explained the situation to the teller in broken French, no we had never received any cards, no they weren't in the mail box. They send our statements to Canada, with the address hand written so someone's in the know. She looked in her drawer and low and behold one card, mine, nothing else, not attached to anything. Weird and disturbing. But no PIN. The upshoot of all this is, I THINK, that she has ordered new cards and PINs and they will be sent to our address in France and be held by the post office - fingers crossed. Being ever so trusting, we deposited yet more Euros that we cannot access!!

Next stop Bellac, we had been advised that there was an EDF office in Bellac, and we knew where the internet cafe is there...EDF office closed down and internet cafe without internet !! But we did manage to print off photos and after all this needed a rejuvenating cuppa so stopped into the English cafe to pick up a copy of Etcetera (a handy magazine with lots of info for ex-pats) and pick the brains of the owner, Jim, about various things including health insurance as and when we finally live there.

Then onto Limoges, having checked in the phone directory for the whereabouts of the EDF offices (thank goodness for GPS) - got to the office with ten minutes to spare (assuming that they would be closed from 12 to 2 like everyone else) and raced up to the door, well we think it was the correct door, no info, no office hours, nothing. So we thought they must close from 11.45 onwards - none of this is out of the ordinary in central France. Gave up there and went on into the centre to find a restaurant for lunch.

We did have an absolutely delicious meal, all the way from starter to dessert plus a bottle of red. We spent a good 2 hours enjoying the lively and chic atmosphere. Then when we felt the shops should be opening again we set off around those. Unfortunately I cannot shop properly with GWE in tow. He's all "take your time" "I'm alright standing outside in the rain - bored out of my brains" "go on its your birthday - buy it...them..whatever" and you know it is just guilt talking.....but I can't fully take advantage - managed to buy two pairs of sandals and that was it.

Next stop - back to EDF offices because they must have opened again now, right? No door still locked. But I noticed an intercom next to the door so I pressed the button and launched into my great French explaining the problems, getting invoices but not getting electricity - Ah madame, ce n'est pas ici, c'est dans Limoges centre - i.e. three minutes from where we had lunch!!! Off we go, fuming, but find it and after a quick detour around the block, managed to get a spot right outside the office and in we went. Finally we were going to get some satisfaction but no ....wait for it.....their computers are down, can we come back tomorrow!! GWE managed to pull me back out of the shop spitting and hissing.....

At this point there was some talk of looking for the place that we had been recommended to look for inexpensive windows, but all the fight had gone out of us.....so we admitted defeat and headed back to the gite!!!! Bonne Anniversaire

8 comments:

dND said...

SITH - that is France for you! Don't think it's just you it's the same for the French too. You do need to have a very laid back or is that totally resigned outlook on life if you are going to enjoy living here.

A belated happy birthday from me by the way.

Deborah x

aims said...

OMG! That would never be allowed here in Canada would it!!

Still - aren't you retiring to France? Isn't that the idea? So you're not suppose to care about these things....

my goodness....I'd be pissed too!

Carolyn said...

Sigh. Sorry this is all so much stress and work for you. But hopefully it will all be worth it in the end, right?? Bottles of wine, wheels of cheese, fresh baguettes...

Keep your eyes on the prize Softie!!

softinthehead said...

Don't get me wrong, I am not complaining (well not exactly) I think of that day fondly in retrospect but I just wish we had more time. Definitely planning a TWO trip in the summer in the hope of more progress,

The Lehners in France said...

Poor SITH, Welcome to France. You really do have to go with the flow. It's difficult when your time is limited though, I know.

We moved the road outside our house, wrote a v nice letter to Madame le Maire. Heard rien! A year later I went into the Mairie and explained we had heard nothing and she said oh it's OK just do it. We'll get the geometre out after to change the plans. e moved the road, plans changed, meeting with Notaire to sign over changes and he reduced the bill because he thought it was trop chere and I'd done well with the language. Bizarre. Bon Courage Debs x

travelling, but not in love said...

ha ha ha, welcome to France. Everyone of us immigrants in La Belle France is living the same nightmare, sorry dream....I'd like to say the bureaucracy gets better, but it's like anything traumatic - you just learnt to live with it and accept it as part of everyday life. Bonne chance!

Maggie May said...

Just like over here then!
Keep drinking the wine..........

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