Everything's fine living here as long as all's going well. But when things go wrong? Double the trouble. It's not just having to use a foreign language; attitudes in France are very different from those back home in Birmingham. There, the general air of pessimism was renowned. In shops everywhere could be heard the refrain: 'I don't suppose you've got one of these', the customer wondering why he'd even bothered to ask, so unlikely was the trader's answer gonna be. So France was bound to be the same, wasn't it?
Living in the middle of nowhere, one of the worst things for me is when the internet goes down. I have one of these 'blinking' liveboxes, but it's not supposed to blink. Disaster. Ringing France Telecom is a nightmare: the usual musical tones, then the Queen asking you to press 1 for this, 2 for that etc. And then, when you finally get a real person - impossible to explain the technical jargon for what's gone wrong, even more the answer. But, my fairy godmother was at hand! I found an English-speaking service that actually had technicians at hand to help. Not only did they come chez-nous, they fixed the problem (a chewed wire underground + changed our old rusty phone socket) for free! Now that's something you don't see everyday. The tel. no. is charged at local rates: 09.69.36.39.00.
See. I told you everything'd be all right!