Fiona Alderman: La Poste and other French things

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This month has been challenging in many ways. From battling with French bureaucracy to technology breakdowns.
Firstly, I sent some videotapes to the UK to be transferred to digital form. They are going to be an important part of the photographic exhibition that I am preparing for Barry. Feeling relatively cheerful,. I went to La Poste to find out I couldn’t just send them in a box I had prepared. Now with Brexit and new rules to be enforced, I needed to fill in a customs form online declaring what were the contents. Only by Internet too. Ok. I trotted back home, luckily I have a computer, but I don’t have a printer at the moment. I went into La Poste website to find the form and it took some time. French websites are awkward to say the least! They gave me a code to take back to the Post office so they could print it out for me ? Non. Didn’t work. Several trips back and forth, and on their weird opening times, I finally got it sent but it took me over a week. Now waiting for the return from the UK and their problems probably !
The phone packed up too a few weeks ago for some reason. However the Internet was still working? Bizarre. I struggled with this by myself before asking some male neighbours.  A lot of scratching heads and Gallic shrugs ,and still no connection. I finally unplugged everything including the Internet et voila !!! Not exactly sure what it was but now I know for the next time.
The next disaster was a leaking tap. Simple you might think to repair. Non again. First step, turn off water as it costs so much and I didn’t notice how long it had been dripping. Then ask my retired plumber, Mr Lacombe, who is also my neighbour to have a look ? He came limping up the road, not a good sign ? He had slipped and hurt his hip and leg so couldn’t really get down under the sink to fix it. We asked the local cantonier, Gael, who works for the Council. He works everywhere and is quite charming. Next go and buy a new tap. Not locally as it was much too expensive, so a trip to Sarlat was in order. Another two days pass by before they got it done. A lot of talking and more Gallic expressions whilst changing the new tap. Beers were served all-round in thanks though as it was all quite entertaining to watch in the end. Rural France, I love it.

Fires in France

paris rots

The images on the television of major cities filled with protests and riots over the new pension reforms from age 62 to 64, are alarming. The President, Monsieur Macron, is becoming increasingly unpopular and especially now as he has pushed his reform for a later retirement age without a vote from the Senate.Or rather one that by passes the usual way. It is called Article 49-3 and the Prime Minister, Elisabeth Borne, was able to use this clause without a vote.
People are now angry at his refusal to back down and so they have taken to the streets to protest very strongly. As before, with the Gilets Jaunes, 4 years ago now, when the people went on strike, it has the same feeling of unrest.
Macron’s ways are treated with disgust from many French people, and deemed undemocratic.
King Charles was due to travel to France on his first state visit since becoming King, but it has been postponed. Wisely probably. His trip to the Chateau de Versailles was also cancelled.
The streets of Paris are filled with uncollected rubbish and often set on fire during the riots.
What will happen now is unclear. Even locally, in Sarlat hundreds of people came out in protest on the streets and there are more strikes to come.

A picture tells a story


Once again, my neighbour Mr Lacombe aged nearly 83, presented me with a picture opportunity. He was working on this one day and I asked what it was ? He said his father had built it and it is truly magnificent.
A cart that apparently was used to transport the bride on her wedding day, around the village! I am not sure if his mother was in it? Presents would be placed around her to celebrate the day and it would be very jolly. He is putting it up for sale and he placed it in front of his house. People do stop as it is so unusual but no buyers yet. A lot of chat goes on and that is lovely to hear. Stories of the past.
I heard a good French expression recently and wanted to share it.
L’auberge Espagnol. Yes, a Spanish inn you might translate it as, but no. It is when you go to someone’s house and take something on a plate. A cake or prepared dish.
Strange one.
Life is strange now.
Fifi’s stories from rural France.
March 2023.
A New Season in Salignac
Fiona Alderman Blogging from Salignac, France

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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