Sunday 10 March – Frustradmin Stuff

Last week has been one of 2 activities.  The minor (unfortunately) was in the man shed where progress continues albeit slowly while the major was administratively focussed.

Man shed work was principally me building a work bench.  With the shed having been emptied the previous week I was able to map out the interior and decide how much space I could devote to a work bench – seems quite a lot!  I was advised by a friend, who is far more practical than I am, that it would be best if I could build the bench so I have access from both sides rather than build it up against a wall.  I also thought that if I did this it would be sensible to position it so that, if I work with long pieces of wood, I can have them partly on the bench and partly sticking out of the barn doors.

My initial thought was to make it out of breeze block and cement it permanently in position.  However, Dave has convinced me that making something which could be moved, should that ever be required, may be the more sensible option.  As such, I have made the entire bench out of wood and, while it is large, allows me plenty of space to move around when I have eventually moved in all of the shelving units I bought when on offer last year.  Next week’s job.

Workbench built in my new man shed

The remainder of the week has predominantly been given over to paperwork and admin which, sadly, doesn’t make for good pictures!  I mentioned in a previous blog that I had made a start sorting through all of the administration that I hadn’t filed pretty much since we moved here at the start of 2015!  While I successfully weeded out the ‘things to keep’ from the completely useless that was as far as I’d got.

The reason I wanted to pick it up again now was that our ‘interview’ for our residency permit (carte de sejour) is at the end of this month, and we need to provide evidence of residency among other things, much of which comes from utility bills and tax returns etc.  To do this I need to file all the bills we had received in order and give ourselves a bit of time to chase things down if we don’t have the right information.

The process of compiling our dossiers has, to some degree, reinforced my scepticism of social media.  While the application process for a Carte de Sejour is, theoretically, controlled centrally in France by the Ministry of the Interior, it is delegated down to department (county) level to do the actual work.  As such, each department approaches things in a slightly different way some, evidently, more effectively than others.

What it has also generated are numerous social media groups where people can share their views, comments and opinions of the process and, as you would expect, there is a wide variety!  What social media groups never seem to be able to do is provide accurate, consistent or concise information about what is actually required.  It seems that most of the, generally contradictory, comments tend to come from the aggrieved and angered sectors of the population leading to lots of passive aggressive exchanges of views – and some not so passive.  There are always official French websites available to give me lots of contradictory information!

The process has also increased my frustration with technology generally.  I always thought that nowadays things should be increasingly ‘plug-and-play’ and computers should talk easily to printers etc.  David has been fortunate enough to have been given a computer which he has spent some time setting up and clearing of old information and accounts.  When he tried to print some files from either of our 2, not very old printers, he had no joy.

I readily admit that I am not a technician and David is Kergudon’s IT department as he can generally work things out and get things sorted.  It has taken him almost all day today to get one of our printers to work from his new laptop – I haven’t yet tried if it has impacted my ability to print from his previous computer – and the second printer looks to be a more technical issue.  Not the ideal time when we are likely to need to print lots of information in the next 2 weeks.

Next week will be more of the same both in the shed and with the paperwork (printers permitting!)  As the forecast looks terrible all of the many outside jobs which desperately need doing will have to wait …]

On the positive side, Brandon has his stitches out tomorrow and we can remove his cone so he should be very happy.