If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.

- George Washington

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Sorted, I think

I took the car back in today at the agreed time, the parts were on the premises, and they had the car in the workshop before I had sat down. They were finished in half an hour less than book time, and the bill was correspondingly about €25 lower. No more nasty noises on the way back to the campsite, despite some heroic attempts to get the whole weight of the car onto the right-hand rear wheel, so I think they have done the job. I will only know for sure when I get the caravan hooked up and a few miles under the wheels, but I am hopeful.

Customer Service went up a few notches, too. The service manager came and shook my hand, and so did the deputy manager, and even the guy who did the repair. All smiles and good vibes - even the chic and stunning Aurélie on the Reception desk gave me a half-smile when I said goodbye, and she had been practicing for the Miss Ice-Cold and Miserable All-Comers Lemon-Sucking World Record previously.

On a more interesting note, the campsite owner has succumbed to pressure from his guests and has reset his wi-fi router. About 50% of the people here were having connection problems. As a consequence, I can now connect on site with my laptop and not have to rely on the iPhone (plus I can follow a couple of eBay items a bit more easily).

And we have breached another milestone: Anna got on her bike and we have cycled into Sarzeau, done some shopping and got a little cash. It's funny, but we have been here before several times, and somehow getting to the Crédit Agricole for the hole-in-the-wall cash machine was a target for her. We stood on the pavement and she was close to tears - it seemed to bring back the long journey since we were last here doing something innocent like wondering if the bank account would stand another hundred Euros, and what we would do if it wouldn't. But we have successfuly biked for about four miles, and that is something that frankly I didn't think we would manage again.

On the way back to the site is a narrow dark tunnel under the main road, and we met some Dutch cyclists going the other way. The Dutch don't slow down for anyone, and Anna wobbled out of their way and hit the tunnel wall. Only a graze and a lump, but also a reminder that we need to be very careful. If she had come off the bike, the consequences would be quite serious. A lot of beer in the cooler would go to waste, for example, if I had to abandon ship and take her to hospital.


  1. I would become nervous if a group of French people suddenly became very friendly....maybe I'm a neurotic xenophobist....or too used to Greeks!

  2. Timeo Danaos et dona ferentes, eh?

    Let's say the reception (in both senses) was never surly, just non-apologetic for something which, in the UK, would have had them falling over backwards to put right. The next day, I think they tried to smooth me over a bit. In the UK, having everyone shake your hand (even the mechanic) would make you deeply suspicious, but over there it's much more the norm. It's one of the things I like about France: even in the most everyday of circumstances, you are constantly saying 'Bonjour' to strangers and wishing them 'bonne journée' when you leave. It's a civilising thing which we have lost.


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