David here. Thought I’d get my two bits in.
As much as I love France, and the French, there are some things that just drive me bonkers about the country, and today we ran into one of them. Of course, I could go on at length about the variable closings that reward a long drive to a favorite restaurant with finding its doors shuttered because of “personal reasons” or an obscure holiday. And the caliber of many products that we take for granted, like paper towel that is incapable of absorbing anything beyond a few drops of water; storage bags so flimsy they break when you take them out of the box; aluminum foil that is so thin it tears when wrapped around jello; Saran wrap…. you get the drift
But perhaps the worst is the reliability of appliances, plumbing, and the like, and the apparent impossibility of getting anything repaired within your lifetime. Granted, it’s not as bad as British-made products, which begin falling apart as they’re being built, and always require a “special tool” to repair. “Sorry sir, but we can’t replace that battery. It requires a dweedledum socket, and they are only available to the Royal Family. Oh, no matter, anyway, as I see the battery has caught fire and the circuit board has melted.”
Today we had problems with the washing machine. It apparently decided that it would omit the spin cycle, yielding a soggy, heavy mess when done. On the spot fixes did not work, so it was time to get a repair person. The usual drill is a) the repair person is not answering the phone; b) a secondary repair person is found who agrees to show up in four weeks; c) a tertiary repair person is found who knows nothing about your product, has no parts, but has a great-uncle who repaired Renault tanks during WWII.
When person (c) shows up, they generally spend a lot of time looking at the failed appliance, perhaps waiting for it to speak. They then take notes and promise to get back with a quote. This is followed by a two-week vacation, then a call with a quote for parts that exceeds the cost of an Audi A7.
We are now waiting for the repair person to show up, but have been through it with this washing machine before, so know what is coming. My solution is just to limp on, letting the washing machine amble through its wash and rinse cycle, then wringing the water out by hand before putting the load in the dryer. We shall see.
As the day was grey and a bit cold, we decided to head to St. Remy for a bite of lunch and some shopping.
St. Remy is usually jammed, with limited, if any, parking, but today we were lucky and found a space right away. We strolled though the little village to one of our favorite cafés and sat down for a light bite – blanquette de veau for Bev and salmon for David, washed down with a Domaine Vallongue rosé. After lunch it was just a few steps to the showroom of Souleiado, one of the two premiere fabric makers in Provence. Bev had the measurements ready for the tablecloths she was looking for, but the product line had changed, now featuring shirts, blouses, ties, and the like, plus the prices were astronomical, so we left without getting anything. Maybe Olivades, the other major fabric shop, will be better.
We meandered through St. Remy, noting the new shops, and what seemed to be a general sprucing up of the village. Back to the car, then home. We were to meet Patrick at 7 at the vintage auto museum for a glass of wine and frites (theirs are terrific), but they were closed (who knows why), so we headed to our usual haunt – Café du Centre in Eygalières – where we enjoyed ourselves until 9ish. Then home and to bed, as tomorrow is a dialysis day.