Sunday, February 22, 2009

Aventures du petit village

I got the modem working and the new computer connected to weefee (as the Fr say) here on Rue Ferlus yesterday afternoon and thought I'd fill you in on how it has gone this first week.

Monday: I arrived in Soreze and had to deal with the no water and gas situation which D. had called me about the week before I left CA =o{... Also found the phone/internet not working and the downspout torn off the front right of the house and laying on the sidewalk...The good news was that G. (American friend/part time Soreze resident from around the corner who is lending me her car) had written ahead to her friends M. and D. (French and Brit, respectively, who live in Rue Ballet) and together we managed to get the water and gas back on so I could spend the my first night here in the house, although with no running hot water as we couldn't get the water heater pilot to light. Turns out that Johann, my next door neighbor, had turned off the water because the hose bib at the well sprang a BIG leak and then he turned off the gas because he was concerned by the constant water heater activity in the cold, empty house. (I'm grateful for the helpfulness, but it did take a bit to figure out how to get it back on as they were not home...)

Tuesday: Through intercession by M in French, Gillaume, the cute, pony-tailed, young plumber working on a job across the street, came over with his welding set and fixed the leak on the patio, to get the water back to functioning in all locations. I got some clues from the last owner,K, through e-mail from D's computer, on the water heater. K's kind instructions pointed me to knowing that I had to open the door below and do something there. I turned the white knob down under (some sort of safety...), held the "spark" button (with little lightening bolt) down until I got a continuous spark and then pushed in the knob on the right to get the gas to the pilot, held it for the recommended two minutes, et voila! I was back in business for a much needed hot bath =o))... (Weather has been cold/mostly sunny, but this stone house is still warming up.)

Wednesday: M, a French terrier of a lady over 60, who takes great joy in pursuing "functionnaires" = bureaucrats and solving problems, went with me to the "Mairie" = town hall to iron out the payment of an obscure portion of the water bill (something to do with the region/county beyond the metered consumption which I have on "prelevement" = autopay). They wouldn't take cash, "pas de liquide" = no cash money, for the 12.98 Euro's, so Monique wrote them a check for me. She also called Orange, my internet/IP phone provider, to find out why the modem wasn't working (I'd already tried the usual unplugging/reboot routine.) and gave them her phone number for contact.

Then it was off to Revel, the next town, for me to iron out why I hadn't received any statements for my Credit Agricole bank account since April last year and to again request checks. I spoke to the young, teller in training, guy in my French and he hesitantly answered in passable English. Together we managed to put it together, though he had to ask for help from colleague's for everything and to get a manager's signature for the issuance of the checks.

Next, to my homeowner's "assurance" = insurance provider on the Revel town square to deal with an extra 44 Euro's on the insurance bill (I had paid the estimated balance in cash before leaving last May) for which I had 9 communications by letter saying that it had gone into collection "demand for payment!!!". The receptionist, a lady of a certain age with jazzy red spectacle frames and bright orange dyed hair arranged in a stylish flip, looked up my account and, once she understood who I was and what we were talking about "par mon petit francais", said "Pas de problem. C'est bon pour cette annee. (No problem. It is good for this year.) We took care of eet." and tore up all the bills. She advised me to bring her a "reeb", RIB ou "Releve D'Indentite Baincaire" = bank transfer order, so that we can set it up for next year to avoid the same problem. "C'est plus facile!"

Thursday: M. Akbar, a fix-it gent of M's acquaintance, and his hoodied apprentice came in the morning to repair the downspout, having dropped by to suss it out the day before. The intrepid M. has asked all around the village for any news of just which truck had run up on the sidewalk in our little Rue Ferlus and damaged my downspout. She wrote a letter for me in French to the Mairie to inform them of the situation and to give me something to take to my insurance provider.

M&D dropped by around noon, at the start of their 4 kilometer round trip walk over to have lunch with some friends at their converted "moulin" = mill, to check on the progress Orange had made with the internet service. She called them again and they said the problem would be solved before 1800 (6 pm). When M&D came back on their return, the modem looked the same, i.e. all red lights, but once we tried another reboot and hooked up my laptop -- Presto! it was working!! Yaay, Apple! I didn't even have to run the Orange installation disc as I had done for my PC laptop last spring. After they left for their supper, I quickly managed to get the wireless connection operating. The phone over IP (my home phone) will receive calls but can't call out. I think it's the old, hand-me-down handset, we tried replacing the rechargeable battery with new ones I purchased from the "Utile" = little grocery store around the corner, so I'll try buying a new phone in Castres tomorrow when I run over to see if I can find a used "armoire" from one of the second hand furniture stores there for my bedroom.

Friday: As I was typing this, M stopped by to bring me my property tax bill, which someone from the Mairie brought over to her house, since they had seen us together on Tuesday -- ah, la vie du village! =o). It had been addressed to "(Me), Healdsburg, Californie, Etats-Unis" and had come back marked "insufficient address". She called the tax office in Dourgne, the next little village, had them take off the 90 Euro penalty and promised that I will come in to pay it in the next couple of days and bring a RIB for next year.

We made a date to go and see a two person play on film in French at the Abbaye auditorium this evening (a Friday night date!) at 2030 and I invited M&D to dinner (mustard chicken, roastie potatoes, salad and dessert) for Saturday night to say "Thank You". 
It's been a busy first week!

J'envoie caresses et bisous à vous tous!

1 comment:

swallowtail said...

Aha! N2 sending mucho caresses et bisous!!! Great post, and I am expecting many more! Kind of reminds me of Alice B Toklas's Cookbook entries.... except now we need a receept. Much Love and Hugs to you... missing you! xoxoLC

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