Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Mysterious France

Monday's are always a bit strange in this part of France. Some shops are closed, others aren't, some open only in the morning, others only in the afternoon. This particular Monday was more mysterious than most.
When Linda woke me up with coffee (this is one of the small joys of retirement. She's an early riser by nature, I like to sleep in. She brings me coffe as payback for all those working years when I got up & made the coffee Monday through Friday.) she said that some of the electricity was off. A circuit breaker I thought so I got up & looked. No tripped breakers. Yet, some things worked, others didn't. Most serious was the main fridge/ freeezer being off. Yet the kitchen power points were fine. After a lot of trial & error I worked out that the things not working were all associated with one bank of circuit breakers, but none of them were tripped & resetting them didn't help. Time to call Electricity De France (EDF) as it doesn't look like this is a simple problem. Now you normally avoid calling EDF as like many big utility companies getting through is a nightmare. Doubly so when you're trying to do it in Franch & are hard of hearing as I am.

I've got a problem. I have to send a fax to my French bank. Now, this morning, but the computer & fax are part of what's not working. No problem, I go up the road to our friends. Turns out that they too have a funny electrical problem. Same as ours one bank of things doesn't work. Fortunately, their fax does work & I get my message off.
Back home & Jacques has arrived. We go over the problem together, same answer. He calls EDF. 35 minutes later EDF allow that we have a problem & its theirs. The fact that our friends have the same issue seems to tip the balance. EDF will work on it.
I go off to Caylus to mail a letter & get some bread for lunch (both bread shops & the post office in our village are closed on Monday.) The letter's fine, but both breadshops in Caylus are closed! They're normally open, but both have signs saying they're on holiday. Strange! They normally alternate, Hummmm.. I decide to go to Pulygarde, there's a good baker there who's normally open on Monday. Nope he's closed as well. Very strange. It's unhead of not to be able to buy bread in France. Sacre Bleu! What's the country coming to. I return home defeated. We manage lunch without bread.
About 4:00 that afternoon. The electricity goes off entirely. Then it comes back on, but with a different set of things not working. Finally it all comes on & shortly thereafter we get a call from EDF. "Is everything OK now?" Yes we say, but we're flabbergasted that they've called this is not normal EDF behavior. But, all's well that ends well. We still have no idea what was wrong or how you can lose just part of the electricity. It is & will remain a mystery.
I'm still worrying about the bread. Next morning the village bread shops are still closed, so are the ones in Caylus. We go up to the general store in the village to buy rubber gloves. (Another story, our drains are blocked) While I'm waiting outside in the car I notice a sign in the shop's window; "Depot de pain. 06/11 a 12/11 inclusif. Congres de Bouloungers" Ah Ha! All the breadshops are closed because they're off at their annual convention. Mystery solved!
Sometimes you get to the bottom of things other times you don't. Its never dull though.

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