Fiona Alderman: Blogging from Rural France – Waiting for Godot

french scene

29 October, 2023

Waiting for Godot

This phrase came to me recently whilst I was waiting for a plumber to come to renew a toilet. The story begins nearly two months ago in fact, when I noticed drops of water falling from the ceiling. On investigation, I found it was leaking from the toilet upstairs.There had been a problem before and we resolved it, but in the last year it hasn’t really been working properly. Luckily there is another toilet downstairs. In a bit of a panic, I went to phone a local plumber who was, of course, on holiday. It was a Sunday as well, so I went on the Internet to see if there was anybody else.


I came across one that I thought was local and it all seemed okay. I phoned them and explained the urgency, because of the leak. We went through all the formalities and he gave me a quote, which was extremely high, and I asked if I could pay in instalments? Still, okay. Then he asked me to pay the first instalment of 200 euros. Warning bells in my head,  he was very calm but very insistent. It was a scam though, and I fell for it. Hearing my panic, he continued the spiel and promised me someone would come the next day. No one appeared and I called the number I luckily had plus the email. He did reply and we fixed another appointment. Still no joy.

The upshot is I cancelled everything and told my bank who changed my card. They advised to send a registered letter to them threatening them with the police if I wasn’t reimbursed. This I did and I got the money back. All of this took about a month, then what to do? Still no plumber. I knew of someone else that I contacted in the meantime. He was recommended by friends locally. Start again, Fiona . He came to have a look, tut tutting in true French fashion, forehead crinkled as he said he was so busy, and wouldn’t be able to do it for another two weeks. Phone calls and text messages followed for a further two weeks, until last week when he promised to do it. No show.

Now he tells me he can’t come until the beginning of November. Which year I ask myself?

In a small village like ours, word gets round, so I hope all is resolved by next month.

Just like the play, Waiting for Godot, by Samuel Beckett, about two characters who have a variety of discussions and encounters, whilst waiting for the mythical Godot, who never arrives.

Logis of France


We came to France on holiday for many years before actually living here, we used to stay in the Logis chain of hotels. Relatively cheap but excellent value in terms of comfort and service.

There are over 3000 of these hotel/restaurants in France and they are classed in 1,2 and 3 “cheminees ”

Number 1 being simple, good food and value for money, to number 3, which  is excellent with attentive service, and sophisticated cuisine.There are official inspections every three years and even “mystery shoppers ” put in incognito style !

I remember we got their annual guidebook which lists all the hotels and was a marvellous way to meander through the country, stopping where we wanted and never booking in advance. Lots of lovely places we visited and the welcome we received each time, plus the excellent food from the different regions, was something I still fondly remember.

When we arrived in Salignac in 2000, there was a Logis in the village, La Terrasse, where we frequently went to have a meal in their welcoming restaurant. Family run, as is usually the custom, we had many enjoyable evenings there. It was sold about 10 years ago, and was taken over as an independent hotel but it didn’t survive.

In the last few years it was sold again privately but this time separating the hotel and the restaurant.

One half is now a family house which they are slowly renovating and the other hotel part is owned by the Maison Familiale Rurale here in Salignac. This is the school and training centre for young adults. Another part of the building will also rehouse the Tourist Office in better premises.

Extensive renovations are currently underway, and it is good to see it after so many years lying empty, as it is a central focus in our village.

Funny French expressions

I am continuing from last month’s blog when I was listening into conversations? Apparently this is called “breves de comptoir “. Comptoir meaning the counter or bar, where short snippets of conversation are held.

In a little book I bought recently, called Les 100 expressions favorites de nos grand meres ”

Favourite grandmother’s expressions, like ” donner la confiture aux cochons ” which means giving someone a refined dish or drink but the person doesn’t appreciate it. Literally giving jam to the pigs ! Jam was considered a delicacy and not to be wasted.

“Mettre ses habits du dimanche” is a nice one. Putting on your Sunday clothes and making an effort to dress well. As Sunday in Catholic countries is  so important, going to mass, in respect for your religion, it would be impolite not to dress accordingly.

More next time . Fifi’s stories from rural France.

Fiona Alderman: November Blues
Fiona Alderman Blog: Cafe´Talk

This section: Fiona Alderman blogging from The Salignac Foundation France

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Avatar of PatByrne Publisher of Pat's Guide to Glasgow West End; the community guide to the West End of Glasgow. Fiction and non-fiction writer.

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