4th December 2008
One of the biggest difficulties facing new arrivals in France is how and where to find help with day-to-day problems. As usual, the level of your competence in French is crucial - not so much in working out what to say on the telephone, but, as we've found to our cost, in understanding the answer! So, my heart sank when I realised we needed to find someone to fix our dishwasher. I know - hardly an emergency, but little things can build up when you live in a new country. Well, over the last few weeks, armed with the Pages Jaunes (yellow pages) and the telephone, I tried several electromenagers depannage (appliance breakdown) places. Each time they were very polite and promised to get the engineer to ring me back, but - you've guessed it - nobody did. Could it be that they wanted nothing to do with a mad foreign woman who couldn't even explain herself properly? The problem with the phone is that you have to rely solely on the words, without the help of gesticulations, facial expressions etc. So, in complete frustration, we walked into an electrical appliance shop in nearby Caussade and asked for their assistance. Much better. Not only did they contact their own engineer for us, but he actually turned up chez-nous yesterday. Of course, nothing is simple in life: he said he had to take it away to the factory for a repair estimate.....somehow I can see the necessity for a new machine looming on the horizon. Yet more money. Oh well, c'est la France.