Sunday 30th July – Painting a Masterpiece

The last 7 days seem to have been spent on 2 activities.  Either I have had a paint brush in my hand or I have been leaning out of the top floor window on Dave’s mobile speaking with our phone provider, SFR.  I mentioned in last week’s blog that we were offline with no phone or internet access.  A week later this remains the case. Unbelievable.

At the time we were waiting to receive new wifi boxes as our service provider’s diagnostics indicated this was likely to be the problem.  We weren’t convinced as 2 boxes broke at exactly the same time suggesting, to us, that the problem lies with the line coming into the houses but we had to allow them to run through their processes.

We did eventually receive our new box on Monday – one, not the 2 we were expecting.  Speaking to our new postlady, the reason it didn’t get delivered on Saturday, when we were told that they would arrive, was that because she is new to the job and unfamiliar with the route she ran out of time, didn’t complete it and so didn’t deliver to all the houses she hadn’t got to.  There are lots of things I like and admire about the French approach to life but things like that I do find frustrating and am amazed that the French can tolerate them either.

Having received and plugged in the new box there was still no connection reinforcing our view that the problem lay elsewhere and so the game of phone tennis began to get a technician out.  While I call it phone tennis, that would suggest that SFR actually returned our calls and rang us when they said they would.  Of course this didn’t happen and we had to get more and more forceful until, on Wednesday they agreed to send an engineer – the following Monday!

The situation here is similar to the UK where the network of lines and exchanges are owned and operated by one company.  Here that is France Telecom, the equivalent of OpenReach.  France Telecom are wholly owned by Orange in the same way that OpenReach is wholly owned by BT.  We took on the existing contract with another provider, SFR, who have to liaise with France Telecom to send an engineer if there is a problem with the line and, as Talk Talk constantly highlight their issues with OpenReach, France Telecom seem not to have to prioritise companies other than their own.

However, for various reasons, we now think we have appointments with a France Telecom engineer on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday! We haven’t cancelled any of these appointments to maximise the chance of someone turning up to one of them!  With luck, we should be back on line after one of these meetings.’

Ironically, we did have Enedis (France’s National Grid equivalent) arrive on Wednesday to fix an issue we had behind Granary that we reported to them about 7 weeks ago so things do happen in France, just not always quickly!

Enedis fixing the power cable behind Granary at Kergudon Gites

I also mentioned in my last blog that I was able to varnish the new floorboards in Priory although had to change the varnish I had bought, and that I hadn’t managed to make a start on the Priory fence.  These were the 2 jobs that meant I spent a lot of time painting, well varnishing and staining at least.

Knowing the weather we have seen here in Brittany I have built the fence behind Priory to withstand strong winds and, following the experience of Storm Zeus earlier this year which had flattened the preceding fence, I have made it so that we can remove the panels in the event of a major storm.

Fence rebuilt behind Priory and Granary at Kergudon Gites in Brittany

Storm-proof fence rebuilt between gite terraces at Kergudon








Both jobs look great and we are really pleased with the results – all that we now want to do is replace the boring white radiators in Priory’s dining room with something more aesthetically pleasing and in keeping with the space – its on the list!

Priory Dining Area new floorboards varnished

Priory's Dining Area back to use at Kergudon Gites in Brittany







What it has meant however, is that I have not managed to progress Grange at all whose completion date is, regrettably, getting later than we would have liked.  However, most of next week is looking OK to work outside so I should be able to make good progress with the remaining cladding – and it should make the telephone engineer’s job easy …