Frantic Frolics in France

Frantic frolics in France: the hot water disaster.
Frantic frolics in France: the hot water disaster.It's time for our regular Frantic Frolics in France. It's not all sitting on a sunbed quaffing cheap wine, eating croissants and smearing ripe cheese on bread and doing nothing all day. I'm sure that many people think that people who choose to move to France are people with pots of money with a stress free life. How wrong they would be! For a start, I can't remember the last time I ate a croissant, a moment on the lips and all that. I'm saying nothing about the wine except we are best buddies. As for sitting on a sunbed? Let's just say it's a rare thing. Any tanning is done while I'm toiling the weeds or scrubbing something. Here's an example of my 'stress free' life last week. We were sitting watching a film when all the electric goes 'poof'. This is a very regular occurrence for us as somewhere in the system there is a fault we can't trace. We have 11 consumer units here but we start with the main box in the farmhouse. It's a sort of 'electric detective' thing. My main concern is the freezer and its precious contents! Anyway my husband and younger son trudge over to the farmhouse where my eldest and his girlfriend are staying. Switches are  flicked and they start trying to reboot. It is not playing ball at all. It turns out that the hot water system is tripping. The thing is that paying guests are due in a week. My head starts to tingle.   Being used to such disasters, I don't immediately fret. We have seen worst  problems such as when the pool pipework blew up and the pool tried to dump 30000 litres of water into the plant room amongst the electrics. It has happened twice now. I'd like to think I have nerves of steel!  Frantic frolics in France: the hot water disaster. The next day we isolate the problem to being the thermostat or heating element. Our French vocabulary grows as we work out what we need to find. Only problem is that the tank is old and  getting parts is like looking for hen's teeth. We are advised to buy a whole new system. Of course, no problem we will just remove the old one that is part impaled in the ceiling with a hand built wooden cabinet around it. It's just not possible in our timescale. Guest are now due in six days and the headache is a full blown migraine with a hundred lemmings with machetes running around with gusto. Taking everything apart we ascertain part numbers and start searching online. Amazingly there is a shop about an hour away where we can collect the parts which are in stock. We literally fly over and arrive well before  the mass exodus, that is French lunchtime, where  everyone jumps into their car and drives home at break neck speed to eat lunch that the English never have time for. The door is open and someone is working there, but no, the young French lad mumbles that he can't sell us  the bits we need as the owner is out.  Here is how the conversation went. It was in French,of course: Us: 'When will he be back?' 'Maybe this afternoon.' 'What time? We have guests coming and they might like to have a shower or wash their hands'. 'No idea. Maybe tomorrow. You could phone or come back'. 'Ok. So could we get in the car, place the order online on our phone, wait a bit and then collect it from you?' No. We will have to post it to you. AAAAAAHHHHH!!!!! The lemmings now have scythes. After driving two hours in another direction to buy something compatible which isn't actually compatible we go home and place an order online and miraculously the owner says we can collect! Faith and hot water is restored with two days to go.  The day before guests are due the internet repeater stops working. The migraine which has been my constant companion for a week gets out a bumper pack of hammer drills for the lemmings and my husband is waiting for the pompiers to cart him off to the asylum. It was going to be a long night. Whoever said that us Brits in France have an easy life? If you think I'm moaning I'm not. The sun is shining and I'm smiling now...until the next thing. The lemmings are contained for the moment.  

2 thoughts on “Frantic Frolics in France

Leave a Reply