Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Things that happen

OK, so I have excuses but you don't need to hear about them.

Nope, not the work nightmares in general or the work travel nightmares (one of them resulting in 8 weeks of antibiotics).

Really not.

So we should get onto SL news, right?

This could be a problem, as there ain't none (except that I have Good Intentions).

In fact, I had SUCH good intentions that, seeing a slightly less harrowing week ahead, I decided that it was going to be  Big Comeback time.

Silly me.

So, here's a little story about... stuff. Well actually it's quite long so do feel free to scroll. Just call it the result of blog withdrawal and I promise that this boring and this long will not happen again. Well, not often.

And no, it is not illustrated.  Please just imagine the visuals.

On Monday night, we were invited to friends (OK, so I'll get inworld tomorrow, I think - what's one more day?).

And then, it starts to rain during the evening.

As in huge rain with storms that keep waking me up.

At 5 am, I note the absence of the alarm clock display. Always bad news.

Absence of all power, in fact. Power cuts do happen in rural France. It's part of the fun deal.

So off I trot to the fuses, attempt to restore power (and thus heating and useful stuff like that) and it comes on briefly but the main fuse keeps flipping. Not a power cut then.

I proceed by elimination, flip one fuse after another, and find the problem is on the "external" circuit: I decide water must have got into a "waterproof" plug adapter outside so grab a torch, remove it, get soaked, but congratulate self when the fuses then behave nicely.

The woman is a genius!

And then I realise there is water flowing out from a drainhole, all over the garage floor.

At this point, I decide I should wake Mr RL so he can join the fun.

The damned drain appears to serve no purpose except it's connected to the main drain outside (which is, of course, overflowing too - but soggy garden is better than flooded garage, which is not used as a garage but a workshop and storage place and even has a big old rug that soaks up water most beautifully).

Long sentence. Bad writer-y person.

Oh, and on closer inspection, there's a smaller lake in the utility room (we live with a trickle or two when it rains, occasionally, but this was a bigger-than-usual trickle).

We mop. We admit we should have done something about the drain and the trickle before but then it doesn't usually rain that much in such a short time.

We have coffee.

Mr RL decrees that the trickle is slowing down and the drain has almost stopped overflowing. We are lulled into a false sense of calm.

More coffee.

Then, I go turn on the PC because I have a very urgent job to deliver, and realise we have no phone line. And thus no Internet.

After hitting a zillion buttons on their helpline, discover from a very snotty France Telecom person that they can't send anybody today (maybe tomorrow). Also, they only handle stuff outside as in if the problem is "their fault", but if it's inside the house, it needs another appointment ("a few days later") or you find your own electrician. Because it's "your fault".

More coffee. It starts raining heavily again.

Mr RL heads off to buy a cap for the drain, involving lots of good advice from his DIY store friends. That, in fact, proves to work. So far, anyway.

(None of them can imagine why anybody would want to put a drainhole from outside running back into the garage either. The mystery remains).

But it is, after all, France.

Meanwhile, I establish the fact that the neighbours who share our telephone pole are not cut off, and set about finding an electrician. Except electricians are like gold here and I discover not many do "telephone stuff".

I go borrow the neighbours' Internet line for half an hour. They hover. I'm distracted, but at least I get stuff sent.

Yet more coffee.

Call friends to see if they know electricians. Attempt to work. Fend off panic attacks. Realise just how much I rely on the Internet when I'm doing technical translations quite apart from getting and sending work.

The day drags on. And then, around lunchtime...


Wonderful electrician who is a friend-of-friend calls back,  arrives, fixes the phone wires (good news although it takes two hours), but confirms that the phone itself and the Internet router are burned out, most probably from lightning and despite having a lightning conductor (bad news).

Dash to the Big Town for a replacement router and phone (two-hour round trip because they can only be obtained from the provider's stores, not locally) and get back to find... the whole neighbourhood is in the dark and, as our neighbours call to tell us, has been for the last two hours.

The electricity company have said it will be back "soon", apparently.  Mind, they always do.

And it's cold in the house. And it's still raining.

We grab torches and candles and firewood for the stove, and I try not to freak out.

Wine is poured. Medicinal, of course.

Half an hour later, the power actually trundles back.

And the new router works. And I have my second glass of wine in front of me.


Light. Heat. Internet. Phone. Cooking facilities. Slowly drying garage and utility room and rug.

But it has taken 15 hours. And way too much coffee and nothing to eat.

So I cook pasta. Drink much, much more wine.

Then conk out. Waking up every hour paranoid about floods and phones and power cuts.

So tonight could be the night I get back inworld. Except I have another heap of jobs and deadlines that landed on my desk and I need sleep. Badly.

And it's still raining. 

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