Lost in France

Hello to Sloggers from my small enclave of Stone Age comms here in a rural part of la belle France where ‘we’re working on it’ translates roughly into English as ‘we haven’t a clue when you’ll be online again, if ever’.

Although we have television, we do not have phone or internet. Also we do not have mobile technology other than by driving to the highest point in this region and then asking other people with land lines to ring France Telecom and tell them I do not. Also we only have £6 of PAYG allowance left on the mobile. And yes, it was dumb to switch from contract to ‘save money’.

Yesterday FT were working on it, today they say it’s Orange’s problem, and tomorrow is anyone’s guess. The bottom line is I have no line….as of 4.30 pm, on The Third Day.

And The Slog looked upon this, and saw that it was pants.

You can probably imagine why, after some months of similar bollocks, I am beginning to get a tad frustrated with techno f**kups, packing, unpacking, legals, cleaning, washing, driving and being without. I have also got to the stage where my love affair with mouseshit has petered out. My heart no longer quickens on seeing mouseshit. For when the mice have somehow managed to gnaw through a moulded plastic case – the better to devour the three tons of flour and pasta within – what they tend to do is settle in for the winter and eat the whole f**king lot….shitting in the packs afterwards to a depth of several feet….and then shitting everywhere else that takes their fancy. I have penned a short song to the melody of Bob Dylan’s Everybody Must Get Stoned in honour of this astonishing rodent achievement:

Well they shit on your stove and on your bed

They shit on the floor and on yer head

They shit on yer nose and on yer car

They shit every f**kin’ place yer are

But I would not feel such such a f**kin’ tit

if I didn’t have to shovel their mouseshit.


Well those mice they start to shit on yer guitar

They shit on yer piano and yer Ma

They shit on the rich and on the poor

They shit on the grave of Patrick Moore.

But I would not feel such a f**kin’ twit

if I didn’t have to shovel their mouseshit.


Well they’ll shit on yer fanny and yer bush

they shit on AA and the local lush

They shit on yer pig and on yer cow

They’d shit up yer ass if they knew how

But I would not feel such a f**kin’ nit

If I didn’t have to shovel their mouseshit.


After shovelling mouseshit for a day and a half, the thing one looks forward to is a nice, long, hot bath. But another thing you can’t do without a functioning phone is ring Savely’s the boiler repair folks and tell them the water is tepid at best, and certainly not up to providing a much-needed bath. Even if you drive halfway to the f**king Moon and tell them via mobile phone, you still can’t tell them really, because a robot asks for your customer number and then says don’t worry we’ll get back to you….on your landline, which I don’t have. I could go on the internet, look up the boiler model and do it myself, but I don’t have any internet. And I can’t get my internet back because the Orange assistance number doesn’t work when a UK mobile rings it. It probably feels like this when lightning knocks out your radar, and then a giant squid atop an iceberg rears up dead ahead.

Anyway, the only working techno on site being my ancient TV, I settled down last night to watch Celtic v Juventus, an object lesson in how to run around if you’re Scottish and score no goals, or amble about in a languid manner and score two goals if you’re Italian.At one point, the commentator pillock said, “The referee is a very experienced Spaniard”. You know perfectly well by now that I am mad, but it is this kind of stuff that has me falling off the sofa in uncontrollable laughter: “The referee is an experienced Spaniard, and thus able to recite seventy-four varieties of tapas by heart. But the near linesman is only a trainee Finn, while the far linesman is an incompetent Austrian with seventeen attempts to become German behind him. Furthermore, none of them knows a f**king thing about football”.When things are this bad, one must take one’s pleasures where one can. I will be back again/don’t know where don’t know when/but perhaps we’ll meet again one rainy day. ransom-held neighbours

95 thoughts on “Lost in France

  1. Look John, I know this is hardly PC but your dreadful misfortunes had me in tucks! I loved your delicate and tender Mouse Poo song … but it occurred to me how dreadfully techno-reliant we all are these days, even us old gits.

    I think you may find a lot more downsides to la belle France too … but they may still be better than the vagaries of British non-Telecoms at its most confusing.

    À bientôt, mon vieux haricot!

  2. Welcome to rural telecoms. Even in England, once said to be advanced, we cannot get a mobile signal of any flavour in our house. Yes, 500m away, all those little bars suddenly appear, but we moved here before the mobile era and are in the shadow of a nice, substantial hill. The land line is pretty useless, too. 2.5 km of dodgy copper with more joints than an Amsterdam café. Oh, that line, quipped the BT engineer. Everyone on that multi-pair cable has trouble. The tractors have worn away the asphalt that once covered the cable, exposing all those pretty coloured wires. Salt in the winter adds a little urgency to the corrosion process. One day we will probably replace it [sub plot: not before I retire]. Such is the dedication of BT to customer service. Some days I think of moving to a town. Then I think of all the taxes, fees and expenses and new curtains and carpets and all that stuff, not to mention the rapacious lawyers, and take refuge in the view. Rather nice with snow. And rarely interrupted!

  3. In case you don’t know we had a minor success in courts with cautions reilly against workfarw which apart from being unlawful was illegal since it didn’t obey parliamentary rules. So hastily rewrite went on so we have a bodged law now. Ideally the workfare victims should be given back theory lost dole money but dwp decided they are going to avoid that to the delight of the daily heil . Mark hoban proved he is a psychopath added more insult to victims by claiming they are avoiding work. Someone please kill this man. All the same workfare has creceived its second bloody nose.

  4. Looking forward to your further insights into this chaotic world.Have you,by any chance,some news of Garry,the supremo who abolished the economic cycle,and then disappeared ?

  5. Telecomms are a saga plus here in France. I wont bore with the all DFD (The dreary F***ing Detail) only the BFP (The Big F***ing Picture!).

    One Carrefour PAYG mobile that refuses to accept my recharge:
    One SIM for said phone to switch to Orange. The Carrefour phone will not use it as the phone is irrevocably locked to the Carrefour network.
    A new mobile phone from Orange to overcome above problem
    A new contract with Orange to combine Internet, landline and mobile phone seems like a way to save money. The nice lady says I will also get a TV decoder as part of the deal. I say I do not want this as I already have a sattelite full of UK rubbish and a TV full of French TNT TV. Well she says it is part of the deal and there is no reduction for not taking it.
    1 week later and our land line stops working. It appears the land line will now only function with a Livebox. no one told me that this was needed. Order a Livebox!
    Another week passes and I now have a Livebox and all is working.

    For a technical challenge I tried to connect up the TV decoder. A simple process!, but does not work! It appears that my telephone/Internet connection is too poor and too slow. Again no prerequisites ever mentioned or documented!


  6. Yes, seems a persistent problem in France. Even makes Talk-Talk service look brilliant. My 2 children have constant battles with phone companies both in Bordeaux and Paris with both mobile or fixed lines. Truly appaling service, or none at all. All are “having a laugh”.

  7. Marvellous post and comments. Cheers me up no end as I plod on with my Spanish homework in deep, dark and cold Quebec. I am also more glad than sad that I didn’t exercise my dream to retire in France. On the other hand, perhaps more sad than glad. Depends on the day.

  8. But you would not feel so all alone
    If the shit you shoveled weren’t your own.

    You take me back to the days when a guitar had five playable strings, because one of the two strings holding a joint had burned through:
    While God droned on the phone
    As the poet groaned and moaned
    ‘cos inhaling got him stoned
    But his thoughts were all his own
    So we wouldn’t be alone

  9. The bizarre thing about that story is that Cait Reilly (the pretentious one who objected to working at Poundland – as a graduate, she’s only qualified for museum curator work, of which there’s bugger-all supply of vacancies, or ever will be) is now working part-time at Morrison’s, while she still dreams her impossible dreams of unavailable jobs.
    Looks like a bit of work experience at Poundland actually worked for her after all.
    Put the mortar-board away, luv, and get real.

  10. Our little tricolor killing machine has an insatiable appetite for mice and voles. I have even found dead squirrels and a stoat. Best advice get a local farm cat (usually plenty of kittens available). It will exterminate anything smaller than itself, 2 wings, 4 legs, fur or feather and then sleep on your bed.

  11. One time when we came down here to the Lot, hubby opened a drawer that contained all his cycling clothing. Twenty mice or so jumped out & rushed all over the room, trying to dodge the hastily fetched broom being thwacked all over the place. All his clothing was in holes. That was Oct. We were so glad we hadn’t left it till Feb. to go there, then there might have been fifty of them.
    Now the mice & us have an arrangement, they live in the old house next door, under the floorboards. We feed them ‘food’ on jampot lids which slip through a gap between the beams & the floorboards(upstairs), & when they want some more they toss the lids out!
    We tried traps, but they are cunning little b…s & always managed to get the tasty morsels without setting the traps off.
    As to your internet connection, well that’s slow here as well, on the other hand I know someone in Wales who can’t get one at all.
    Over here you have to fight your corner, as they don’t really know what ‘customer service ‘is.

  12. Get one of those 30-40hz buzzers – available at all good bricos – little black box sits in the corner flashing its little red light and emitting noises outside my hearing range. Haven’t seen a mouse since.

  13. I cannot wait for your inevitable ( and probably quite imminent ) post on French plumbing.
    Slogcandescence should ensue.

  14. Living in the Dordogne I have learned that the right attitude to the so called customer care persons is the number one ingredient to getting something sorted quickly, that and speaking French, it is also worthwhile heeding the advice that even if polite and you don’t get anywhere, just end the conversation and recall the number, the next person on the other end is likely to be much more amicable.

  15. Ah Dordogne! I was down in Brantome last autumn checking out the house we owned for eight years. I renovated the house with my parents and we slept in a barn next to our property which was sold to us by a dodgy Brit in Brantome, who I think is down there again.

    My parents slept in the caravan whilst I slept on a camp bed. We had an old fridge we took down lying near my bed. I used to hear crunchy sounds every night. after a few days we opened the fridge and discovered a packet of corn flakes with a hole in the side and “choc chip” mouse shit scattered throughout.

    Stay with it. The frustrations of not living in UK outweigh the frustrations of being out of there. I implore anyone to get out of Britain if they so can. I don’t regret coming to Bavaria.

  16. “My heart no longer quickens on seeing mouseshit.” That surely belongs in the next edition of the Oxford Book of Quotations.

  17. Mice? Welcome to the countryside. Nothing seems to have manners out in the sticks. Cows, goats, sheep do it anywhere – as do mice. What is it about the mammal population that they just don’t get “hygiene”?

    I suppose it is like talking to a banker and getting their heads around the concept of “restraint”.

  18. I see gilt yields are up sharply today at over 2.2% on the 10 year. It may be an interesting spring if these rates take off to more realistic levels of 5%.

  19. Sussex.
    The problem isn’t French. It’s European. Nobody listens any more, everyone thinks they’ve gotten it right, have the right answer to everything. When they don’t. Their systems worked. Last year.

    Watch out, Euro. You’re up for it next. Can you imagine the headaches that Target 2 is giving people who think like your France Telecom guys? You’re right. None whatsoever. Because it isn’t broken. Or put a better way, doesn’t look like it’s broken.

  20. Nothing at all makes TT look brilliant. Sorry, I find it awful, no that’s too kind. However, there are minor benefits. I now know the real names of some young men in Calcutta, purporting to be ‘Jeremy’ and ‘David’ but really of course with Indian given names. After a couple of woman-days talking to these charmers at TT’s expense, the naming pretence breaks down. So it’s Raj and Harish from then on. The pretence of any technical knowledge does the same. ‘It says on my screen to press the left hand button and hold it down for 20 seconds.’ Do that and nothing happens. Nothing at all. The screen has no further offerings on the subject. Eventually they told me that BT was a better bet! Yes, really.

    I left TT, not of course for BT, and things instantly improved tremendously. France does not have a monopoly of incompetent, uninterested ISP’s. But perhaps it doesn’t have the added amusement of Indian call centres?

  21. Bienvenue en France John!

    Ah yes, the nocturnal munching sounds of rodents chewing on the poison-coated grains laid down in the ‘grenier’ so’s to eliminate the little blighters!

    I have to say John, that I’ve had a FT (now Orange) broadband account for about six years, with a bog-standard ADSL modem, wired into a bog-standard wireless router, and it’s been very, very, very reliable. We run 4-5 PC’s off it, including Radio 4 all day and, it’s quick. I can’t remember the last outage we had, and we are really out in the sticks. Before that, I had a Bentley-Walker satellite system – fast, but very expensive: http://www.bentley-walker.com/

    The Orange service should be pretty good in Villeneuve. I’m sure you’ll get it sorted in the end. If you’re invited to go for a Livebox, I’d gracefully decline – that’s my advice.

    Or, do as a lot of the French are doing – move over to Free.fr. The only reason I haven’t gone for it, is because our Orange service is so good!

    Bon Courage!

  22. I have had the same experience with rats in Spain. Someone (we know who) carelessly left our back door ajar for a week and rats got in. One was a nippy grey creature, well fed when we found it. I now know that they like ground coffee and will happily chew through a plastic bottle of polyurethane glue, the contents of which promptly discharged themselves onto the rat, gluing it rather too permanently onto our table. Ugh! Its friends somehow got into our chest of drawers and ate virtually all our clothes. So please, if you want serious fun, try a couple of determined rats. Mice are mere inconveniences!

  23. Comms are the same the everywhere …a total pain….my 3G on the i pad has stopped working at home yet again in the last few days….luckily I can still use the WiFi from the landline.

    I have come to the conclusion that our local 3G signal in deepest Surrey, a mere 28 miles from Charing Cross, drops out about the same time the temperature outside hits 2’C or less… Not sure how that works out technically, but it seems to do this with an all too monotonous regularity. Shall I complain to 3G?… Nah! I prefer to keep my blood pressure at its present slightly inflated level, thanks….life is too short …and with age comes the wisdom to only fight the battles where there is at least an outside chance of winning.

    Good luck JW, and don’t lean over any cliffs too far to try and get a signal.

  24. I started reading the article and the Internet issues, and my first thought was “Le Slog is in deep sh*t. By the end of the post it was a fact :)
    Hope you got some helping hands over there JW…

  25. Not quite. Cait Reilly currently works part-time in a supermarket and has already stated she was/is not above menial work. The museum work was also unpaid, so where is the problem here? She had already worked in supermarkets before, so the net increase in knowledge and skills would have been a variation on zilch. Better to give it to someone who would benefit from it. I take no lectures from pricks like Mark Hoban.

    Most graduates are realistic when you actually talk to them. Pretty much all of my old college mates paid their dues working lower-paid lower-skilled jobs before eventually landing the roles that were ultimately aiming for, usually within five years after graduation, though in a some cases never. Quite a few went back to do higher degrees, or unpaid work as a means of re-skilling. When I was on the dole as an unemployed software engineer, I downloaded a free compiler and started gaining know-how in areas that I had long wanted to pursue but never had the time. I have observed that being able to spout off about doing these things greatly improved my prospects.

    The point is, we all prefer to find something we like doing, and should be guided and encouraged to do, as far as is reasonably possible, That some nasty little f**khead at the JobCentre (many of whom have never even worked in industry) thinks otherwise should not be allowed to pose a problem. At the end of the day it was a legal matter and they lost. In spite of the threats her JobCentre made, her placement in Poundland was not mandatory at all.

  26. We also had a lot of telecom problems in Paris. I don’t remember how many times we went to the Orange shop! The last time we went there, my husband told them he would throw himself out of the window if they didn’t send a technician, and they did. Problem solved!

  27. I am just about to get a new cat, since ours died and the dog is too deaf and blind to bark at or chase them – all the neighbours cats just shit in my veggie patches! so I want a very territorial male. He can get the mice (being fed at the “bird Hotel” complete with night time guidance landing light) as side effect! Your own cat is recommended.

  28. Well I’m going to spend next winter back in Asia where I can get my weeks laundry, including all my shirts ironed, for £3, great telecoms and cheap tech help and good Chilean and Argentine wine for a fiver in a restaurant. And winter in SEA doesn’t translate into the local lingo. That’s the plan anyway, she who must be obeyed is uncertain, even though she is from those parts.

  29. And and all the ‘handy’ phones are unlocked. No need to spend a fiver going to the local Sikh gentleman who are ubigutous in Blighty but seem thin on the ground in rural France.

  30. I really enjoy reading your posts and do hope that you will be online soon! Here in rural Spain, I know of people who’ve been trying to get a land-line for years! (They can only dream about ADSL.) We had to resort to the “envelope” given to the right gentleman to get our landline!! As for the mouse problem – did you pack a cat?

  31. John

    I feel like you are my fella; a lot of the time you get right on my t*ts, but I miss you when you are gone. I hope you get your IT problems resolved soon.


  32. My last holiday in France was such a disappointment that I actually kissed the M25 when I got back. I’ve never seen bigger or busier McDonalds restaurants in my life.

  33. Liked the mouse lyrics Mr Ward first subliminal thought was could you not put politician where mouse is talked of? Yep think so.

    … Then it made me think with all the news over the articles on the BOE inflation target being mentioned today.


  34. It could be worse – you could be in the UK.

    I signed up online for BT Infinity at the beginning of December 2012. The property had a phone line attached to it but no current service. BT’s acknowledgement said the service (new phoneline and broadband) would be functioning within ten days.

    Just after the ‘cooling off’ period had expired, I got an email from BT saying the revised activation date would be end of January.

    End of January came (that’s two months wait) and some pikey turned up, mucked around for half an hour, then said he was ‘sending the job back’ because it was too windy to climb up the pole and reconnect two wires.

    A new date was then organised for a week later.

    Then an email arrived giving TWO dates – one for someone to come and connect the wires at the top of the pole and then another one to come and activate the broadband hub. On each occasion I was expected to go and wait at the property for five hours waiting for an engineer.

    Well, here I am today, and a missed appointment, the new date is end of February.

    That’s three months to get a phone line working (remember, wires already in place, just needed to join them up outside).

    They might as well renationalise BT. It’s now as bad as it was back in the 1970s.

  35. @JW: It’s totally shite up this end just now as well. So much so, in fact, that I am seriously considering relocating southwards, despite reading about your frustrations. Everything else seems to be heading south anyway so why bust your chops? I would happily, if things were otherwise at least it might be happy, take up residence in the land where my (real) namesake and ancestor (framed, convicted by Royal Commission at Maidstone, sentenced to be hanged drawn and quartered, let off the second two but not the first, 1798) completed his theological studies (Paris); I can only wish you fortitude m’sieur.

  36. Here in jolly old England, I use John lewis dot com for home ‘phone and broadband. Good connection and second to none tech. and customer service.

    Hickory dickory dock the mouse ran up the clock,
    The clock struck one, and all the others got away without injury.

    I’ll get my coat…….but in the meantime;

  37. Dare one suggest that British workers in certain industries seem to have evolved into softies who need guaranteed comfort at work before they’ll even get out of bed. If BT engineers could see the atrocious weather conditions their US counterparts often have to contend with during frequently severe ‘weather events’ in order to restore power to customers, their jaws would probably drop in amazement. However, the superior service here may be due to lack of union control ….

    John, re. your mouse problem, perhaps your house isn’t sufficiently mouse-proofed – they can get through unbelievably small holes, so your next chore might be to thoroughly check every room for tiny holes and gaps in floorboards, between skirting and floor, eaves and roof etc. Make sure all food is kept in solid mouse-proof containers; they surely can’t chomp their way through glass or thick plastic, can they?

  38. “My heart no longer quickens on seeing mouseshit.” That is your human heart JW , ask about the mouse heart .It beats like 500-600 times a sec, it goes so fast that probably sounds like a buzz and imagine when you chase it .Poor Mickey !

  39. There is no way that now I am married to a national with a family I will return to the U.K. I find the frustrations are much reduced; coupled to the near fact that being a foreigner speaking French means that most people actually show some to the fact that you are intergrating. I know Brantome it is if I have the right town well in the north of the Dordogne, I am down in the south west, that englishman isn’t the one that ripped off people for millions a few years ago, is it.

  40. Mouse traps I find tricky to get right. A neighbour once gave me some Chinese-manufactured warfarin-based rodenticide that was very effective. Even more effective when mixed into their food with some talc, so as to track where they’ve been going.

    I think most of the poisons nowadays dehydrate the mice so that they look for a water source before they die. Both effective, but strictly kept out of the way of kids…

  41. As soon as the time is right, I am off too, that’s absolutely my plan. I would happily leave the UK today. Having quite a bit of Irish ancestry, I have no particular affinity to England. I f**king hate the place most of the time.

    I think it goes deeper than external events and day-to-day frustrations – I think the British are really stuck-up twats and class-obssessed wankers and this sickness pervades all levels and pecking orders, not just the upper echelons. You either come from the right school or you don’t and I definitely don’t!

  42. @MarkeyMark After Virgin installed our TV and Broadband, nothing much in the house worked as they tapped into other working freview TV aerials and the phone sounded like the Fish People from StingRay. Still, after One Home Visit from a Virgin Senior Manager, 6 months free everything on top of a refund for the three months it had taken them Not to Install our system….And Virgin paying £300 for an independant installer of OUR choice to undo their knitting…it all works perfectly now. Good luck with BT…You’ll need it !

  43. @Marky Mark. Spot on. I think what’s needed is, if you can’t be “Proud to be British” (and I’m not – there’s not much to be proud about any more) then at least BT should be vigorously promoting the concept of “Proud to work for British Telecom”, or if they can’t pull that one together, “Proud I’ve got a f*****g job at all!”

  44. Thank you for your reply. Yes Brantome is well in the -Green Perigord. We stayed in houses down deep in the Eyzies/Vezere region early on in the 90s.

    What this evil chap did was so clever. He would only rip people off a few thousand – my parents he took 5 grand off – then move on to the next victim, so that they’d think it wasn’t worth pursuing him. I am told there was a file a foot thick on him in the British Embassy in Bordeaux. When my Mum asked about what to do re taking him to court the British Embassy lady said quote: “Oh that wouldn’t be very British”. !!!

    Do you have the name of the man who was caught. I remember this chap very well.

  45. Heard something yesterday,but will not say what,if it has any mileage will update has events permit.
    But thought it best to mention now,so it doesn’t sound has obvious hindsight & mousesh**l

  46. No, I am sorry, I cannot remember his name, however he pulled off the scam by claiming he worked for Credit Agricole, he went to court and got a sentence of 4 years, however for some strange reason he was let off by the French authorities after 4 months much to the outrage of his victims, I cannot remember many details of the affair, he served his time in 2006, apparently at the Prison at Mauzac, not too far from where I am based.

  47. Agreed Sussexwino mouse traps are the solution!

    Here in the byways of the American west we find the most effective low tech solution to mice infestation starts with a five gallon buck filled with water to which a string attached to a small platform which is strung across the top. Put you favorite bait (Mayonnaise works well) on the platform suspended in the middle of the bucket. In the morning you will find your bucket filled with drowned mice. The mice make the jump from the rim of the bucket to the platform which capsizes. Simple low tech and effective.

  48. Mo……. in case you missed it here is another solution.

    Here in the byways of the American west we find the most effective low tech solution to mice infestation starts with a five gallon buck filled with water to which a string attached to a small platform which is strung across the top. Put you favorite bait (Mayonnaise works well) on the platform suspended in the middle of the bucket. In the morning you will find your bucket filled with drowned mice. The mice make the jump from the rim of the bucket to the platform which capsizes. Simple low tech and effective.

  49. Welcome to France, mon brave.

    “the mice have somehow managed to gnaw through a moulded plastic case” … is he nicknamed Jaws? Or perhaps you have un loir? (Lat. glis glis. Fat dormouse to us Brits) Eats everything: cables, dishwasher hoses, the backs of cupboards, only then will he sample all your veg and fruit. The cat solution works. I’m rodent free. The little beggars only need a hint of feline intentions and will be orff without even packing their bags.

    And Orange livebox works fine. Copes with 2 laptops, pods, pads and phones. Customer service excellent – especially when commune hedgecutter also chopped my connection with the outside world…

  50. I’m sure France wont be the last I can just about remember the UK’s Exchange Controls of the 1970’s. This is just the next phase of the ever worsening economic depression the stupid politicians and banksters have got us into.

  51. sounds like you are experiencing a prelude to a systems collapse. Could be a lot worse. You might have been on a wind powered grid, with a water flood and the sump pumps waiting for the wind to blow. Mice. May I suggest feeding them nasty stuff when you are around and leaving a whole bunch of sticky traps when you leave. You will discover scores of disintegrated lumps of hair on the sticky traps. Better yet, leave a nice little lady behind taking care of a breeding cat or two. No more mice, and depending on the circumstances some fringe benefits.

  52. Amazing! That’s a solution discovered here personally by trial and error! It works! Never heard of anyone doing likewise before.

  53. Where I have my house in Spain, I have wifi from a central point a few miles away. I used to have a land line, but it got so expensive that I dumped it. The radio system (run by an English woman) works fine and is reasonably priced.

  54. Later today we are all supposed to find out just how much ‘Spaghetti Bologneighs’ there has been on the shelves of our UK supermarkets ! ;)

  55. ‘Wee,sleekit, cowrin’ tim’rous beastie,
    O what a panic’s in thy breastie!
    Thou need na start awa’ sae hasty,
    Wi’ bickerin’ brattle!
    I wad be laith to rin an’ chase thee
    Wi’ murderin’ prattle!’
    And then, several verses later……..

    ‘But, mousie, thou art no thy lane
    In proving foresight may be vain :
    The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men
    Gang aft a-gley,
    An’ lea’e us nought but grief an’ pain
    For promis’d joy.’

    Proving of course that there are far worse things than mouse s..t!

  56. Do cheer up KFC. Perhaps something good will happen, like an asteroid of just the right size to hit the HoC (we don’t need to worry about loss of life, what I have observed, there’s hardly ever anyone there). Or perhaps the snow will melt, & the Spring may come. Hey nonny, nonny & all that.

  57. You say France Telecom say its Orange’s problem? Have FT done a line test and are saying the line is OK? If it is then they may well be right. Have you tried resetting the Orange Livebox? I don’t mean by just cutting the power but connecting to it via your laptop or whatever? This assumes you have a local (no internet connection of course) and your laptop is actually ‘seeing’ there is a Livebox albeit not conneted to the Interweb. You can get to Livebox diagnostics and a proper re-set via Windows – Computer/ Network/ Inventel ADSL (or something similar) (right click) Properties/ then Network Device/ then view device webpage < this page is not on the Internet but seems to be imprinted on the routers memory< it may be in French but the last time I did this there was an English language option. You then need to go into the configuration page and for this bit you will need the original piece of paper that Orange would send when they delivered the livebox as that piece of paper contains your network password. The first bit, if you haven't changed anything might still be admin/admin but you will need the password specific to your Livebox to reset it.
    Apologies if you've tried all this but your comment about FT saying it was Orange problem rang a bell as I had very similar problem of line appearing dead last year when in fact line was OK but Livebox was the culprit.

  58. O/T,
    The Exaro site is reporting the Mets Operation Fernbridge is preparing to arrest an Ex Cabinet Minister (Tory) in relation to the Elm Guest House.

  59. Hope you’re settling in ok & the rodent problem has been resolved? We moved from deepest sarff London to the outskirts of Hastings mid Dec last year, with our 3 rescue cats yowling & p*ssing themselves all the way down the A21. Initially the house over-run was with small rodents but not anymore – thanks to the murderous nature of our moggies. Moving house is an **epic** experience. I wish you all the best in your new home & trust you can get hold of some decent red stuff in order to sooth your way through the “adjustment” phase of settling in….

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