At the End of the Day

A French Letter

meglycinessnipOh how we laughed. It could been a nightmare day from Hell; only the fact that I live in France saved it.

I was up at seven and spent four hours clearing storm-powered leaves and pine spines from the pool, chopping back a summer’s worth of tall weeds by the converted barn, slicing up plastic liner to put over the weeds and then dumping gravel on top of that to both hide and kill the awfulness that lay beneath.

Having noticed that I had a slow puncture in the offside back tyre of my ageing not entirely babe-magnetic Peugeot 207 saloon, I pumped the bugger up and went off to my local dealer – a chap called Vincent for whom I have the highest regard. The recent storm having also dumped  a large branch onto the windscreen, I made a note of the insurance company involved…in the hope that perhaps two things could be done at once.

Vincent had the tyre I required. He informed me that I had a second tyre that also required immediate replacement. “Fine” I said, not feeling fine at all. As to the windscreen, oh-la-la, for this I would need the paperwork showing I own the car, the paperwork showing my full certificate of insurance, and an EU driving licence….as well as the paperwork relating to my English driving licence showing that I am not a homicidal drunk driver asking for nine further offences to be taken into account.

I didn’t have all that stuff, but Vincent said he could do the tyres on the spot….except that it was now five to twelve, and all his mechanics were about to go off for lunch. Could I come back some time after 3 pm?

Now as it happens, there is a restaurant in a town just walking distance from the garage, so I said OK, and set off to work up an appetite. I arrived at the restaurant, and at this point things began to look better. I was knackered and hungry, but the fixed price menu looked pretty damn good.

In fact, it wasn’t pretty damn good: it was amazing. I had a charcuterie salad, followed by Chicken Basquaise and then a beautiful chocolate concoction with home-made vanilla ice cream to finish. Two beers, a glass of wine and a hot chocolate drink were included in a bill that came to just €14 – £12.10 at today’s exchange rate.

Replete and happy, I wobbled off to the local park to sleep it off. I picked up the car at just gone three, and came home renewed to finish the day’s chores.

In all seriousness, there are times when loneliness here coupled with French bureaucracy can lay one low. But a nice meal delightfully served while reading Le Monde is hard to beat.


12 thoughts on “At the End of the Day

  1. John, I can fully relate to the loneliness in Bavaria. It is crushing here, especially with winter on the way. Probably like you, there are people around, but finding a wavelength is almost impossible.

    Do you have a decent web forum for expats in France? Ours is Toytown Germany.

    Meanwhile here is a doc about the Iceland crisis:

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Yes, well, there are excellent restie-rants in Sidmouth, where you SHOULD be living, of course…although A Vincent is a little harder to find, he giving his employees a three hour lunch…Mayhap you could start to retrain that bloke wot owns Sports Indirect to A Whole New Way Of Thinking…..

    You KNOW you want to come home really, back to Maymarcos and Hammond…and just think, you and said Peugeot would be a WASPI Ol’ Babe Magnet then….although Donald will NOT be happy about *that* ;0)


  3. We eat what we call builders’ lunches – about 14 groats for 3 or four courses with wine and coffee. very civilised and le plat de jour is normally the best option. The French get much wrong, but what they get right is worth keeping.


  4. Jeremy Stocks

    Inspirational video, at the same time both encouraging and warning us about what needs to be done. It seems incredible that they are achieving at least some forward motion in spite of their relative cultural unity, harrumph.


  5. @Jeremy Stocks

    Personally feel now that many other countries have to do the same as Iceland and a simple reason as Japan is finding out. You can print all you want, the bad debt is sucking up to much of any stimulus money and render the Keynesian system powerless. We shall see …


    Lucky you TBH take a chainsaw … not so easy trying to cut the Microsoft cord though. Today decided, that’s it, pay-to-play, had enough, flipped the switch any other popularist concept. All Microsoft OS laptops / PC’s are now degraded to 2nd class machines because I deplore Microsoft machines. Moved over to the main one and Linux because I am tired of all the control freakery and the continual effort required to keep them going.

    It has been set up for a long time just didn’t fancy the effort of making it work. This BREXIT mentality is good though because I will just convert all programs I use and code over to the other system and no more pratting about trying to make the spyware work.


  6. JS – I strongly recommend the Debian-based Tails for browsing. It may get you on the XKEYSCORE list, but frankly I suspect some of us are already on it anyway. I do not get any pop-up ads, and if I do visit a dodgy site and pick up something nasty it is gone the next time I boot. I use it principally not to avoid scrutiny by the Five Eyes as I suspect that is probably futile, but mostly to avoid profiling by the corporate internet giants.


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