Saturday 31 July 2021

Quiet walk

 Yesterday's walk was unusual in that it was almost completely silent.  Not a sound to be heard - no cars, no farm machinery, no birdsong, no cows or cockerels.  

Random blue flower

The corn is as high as an elephant's eye.  Plenty of rain this year has made for healthy corn.  Most is fed to cows; people here are surprised to know that people eat it.

To scrump.  What a wonderful thing is the English language.  It has a word that means to steal, but it applies only to stealing apples, and only from a tree.

Random butterfly

The barrage at St Pierre sur Erve

It really is a spectacularly ugly dam, holding back the water for a mill that no longer exists.  When you buy a house in France that has a garden backing on to a river, you own the river until halfway across, where the person who owns the land on the opposite bank becomes the owner.   So normally a dam like this will have two owners.   But this one extends for a bit upstream as well as from side to side, and the middle bit has a third owner.  In order to destroy it, you need permission from all the interested parties.  Mission impossible.

Monday 26 July 2021

Customer service

I ordered a pump on the internet.  It was due to be delivered to my home address on Wednesday last.   It was not delivered on Wednesday.   I got an email saying that it had not been delivered (delivery failure)  This often happens because we're out in the sticks and sometimes the driver can't be bothered.   The delivery was programmed for Thursday.   Sine we were out for some of Thursday, I asked on lione for it to be delivered on Friday, and got the message that it would be deliverd on Friday afternoon, between 13h30 and 17h30 if memory serves.

I was out walking on Friday afternoon and got a call on the mobile from the driver asking if I could accept a delivery to the post office in Vaiges at 08h30 the following morning (Saturday) and collect it from there.  Oh, OK, I guess I can do that.

So on Saturday I go online and discover that the package has been left at Evron and would be delivered to a point near me, and I would be informed.  But the message on the site detaled information said:

samedi 24/07/2021
Echec de livraison, en attente d'instructions pour nouvelle livraison

That is, delivery failure, waiting on instructions for a new delivery.  So I did the necessary interaction to specify a delivery date on today, Monday.  So given that the website is giving me contradictory information (is it going to arrive at a delivery point near me, or will it be delivered to my home address today?) I went to the online help.

- Bonjour je suis Léonard, le robot de Chronopost. Que puis-je faire pour vous aider ?   En démarrant la conversation, vous acceptez que Chronopost traite vos données personnelles afin de répondre à vos demandes (ex : numéro colis).

- Bonjour, mon colis sera livré aujour d'hui ou non?

- Vous souhaitez connaître l'adresse de livraison du colis ?  Je suis navré, il s'agit d'une information confidentielle. Pour des raisons de risque de fraude, je ne peux pas vous la communiquer.

- Non, je connais l'addresse de livraison

- Vous souhaitez connaître l'adresse de livraison du colis ?  Je suis navré, il s'agit d'une information confidentielle. Pour des raisons de risque de fraude, je ne peux pas vous la communiquer.

Une vraie personne svp

- Avant de contacter mes collègues, dites-moi quel est votre problème ? Je peux peut-être vous être utile.

- Vous etes inutile

- J'en suis navré… comment puis-je vous aider ?

- je veut savoire si mon colis sera livré aujour d'hui

-Regardons ensemble votre colis xxxxxxxxxxxxx.   D'après mes informations, votre colis sera déposé dans un point de proximité (relais commerçant, agence ou bureau de poste).   Vous recevrez les coordonnées de ce relais via un email dès que notre livreur l'aura déposé. Merci pour votre patience ! 😊   Astuce : En vous abonnant aux notifications de suivi par email, vous êtes informé en temps réel de son dépôt en point de proximité.

- C'es pas cela

- Je ne suis pas sûr d'avoir compris ... On recommence ?

- Je veut parler à un personne

-Je vais vous apporter mon aide.   Dites-moi, êtes-vous un particulier ou un professionnel ?

- particulier

J'en prends note !  Le Service Client Particuliers est joignable au 09 69 391 391 (appel non surtaxé)   Du lundi au vendredi de 8h à 19h (hors jours fériés) et le samedi de 8h à 12h.   Vous pouvez aussi le contacter via Facebook Messenger en cliquant ici. Je serai présent pour transférer votre demande vers un conseiller.   Je reste disponible, n'hésitez pas à me solliciter si vous avez d'autres questions.

- oui j'ai des questions

- Je suis un robot plein de ressources, comment puis-je vous aider ?

(The facebook link takes me to another robot)

At this point I phone up, I do get through, quite quickly, to a real person who was able to relay to me the history of the package, and who assured me that it would be delivered today chez moi.   We wait.

UPDATE 6PM: I have an email telling me that the package awaits my collection at the Ste Suzanne post office.  Good grief.

Wednesday 21 July 2021

The Bistrot

Our village has a bistrot, it's right in the centre of the village, opposite the church.    When we arrived here it was not in use, but it has since opened, serving a locally-brewed beer, and it's staffed by volunteers.   A very fine establishment.

I'm the volunteer server on Tuesday evenings, an activity I have recently started.   It gives me an opportunity to meet the locals, shoot the breeze, etc.   We sit out on the terrace and enjoy a beer as the evening cools down.

There's enough being debated on the current disease outbreak; I don't need to rehash it here.   But I will not be party to any mandating of vax passports that I can possibly avoid.   So if, from the 1st August, as currently mooted by our leader, I would have to demand such a document from the clients, I won't be volunteering any more.

How far to take this?   If I am required to demand it for gîte customers I probably don't have much choice.  But if the end-of-year concerts given by the harmony orchestras that I play in will demand it?   I should probably stop playing.

Given that égalité is a prized part of the French constiution, I am hoping that a vax passport would be declared unconstiutional.  I wouldn't bet on it though.

There's a free concert tonight in Evron.  You have to reserve your place so I phoned up the local tourist office to do so.   Good - no problem with availability.   I was able to assure the lady that yes, I do have the vax certificate and identity card that will be required of me in order to get in.

Shit, it's started.

Tuesday 20 July 2021

Veg update

The tomatoes have been a complete failure this year.  The wet, cool weather did them in, they got blight.  The situation was not helped by the fact that I planted marigolds along the rows to keep the bugs off.  But I got the seeds mixed up and planted tall African marigolds instead of the short French ones.  The result:  The tomato foliage peeking above the marigolds looked fine, but the bases in the stagnant air were thoroughly rotted, so I had to take them all out.  I've sprayed the potatoes with a copper fungicide (bouilli bordelaise) in the hope that they will stay clear of it.

I planted florence fennel, and have had some good plants.  However, the good ones are coming from randomly-scattered self-seedings, not the ones I planted.  Oh well, they taste good.

If you leave a courgette for a day or so without noticing it, you get a marrow.   You can't take your eyes off them for a moment.

The French beans (purple variety) have been a great success; they must have loved the weather.   I only planted three one-metre-long rows, and I have been picking enough for two servings, every day for the last several weeks.   There's a lot still in the freezer, and plenty more on the plants

Potatoes didn"t do especially well.   I have a crop, but mostly small ones.  I'm hoping that if I leave the plants alone they will get bigger, but the foliage is starting to die back.

I have good beet root and plenty of carrots.  

I planted climbing French beans alongside the sweet corn when that latter was bout 6 inches high.  4 beans per corn if I remember rightly.   The beans are now weighing down the corn leaves, but I am hoping the corn will produce as normal.  No beans yet from those plants.

Looking forward, the squash look like they will be productive come the Autumn, the parsnips are growing well, and maybe I will get some green peppers.  The aubergines in the greenhouse look like they will produce too, not sure about the ones outside.

One lives and learns.

Saturday 10 July 2021

Today's walk

A swift walk in the valley and back via Saulges.   This butterfly was distractedly supping from the blackberry flower so I was able to get quite close.

This signpost is at the entrance to a long driveway leading to a home that is an ex-mill on the river.   It's asking people to keep to the footpath on the other side of the river, in a polite and friendly manner, but personally I think it would be more effective in blood-red paint, with dribbles running down.

There's a massive horse in this field, along with some cows.  I think the owner has had some problems with tourists.

(For her health, please don't feed my horse ("Valda") bread or cake, but you can stroke her.)

Friday 9 July 2021

Lilly the Pink

Imagine that you're a doctor, and you're presented with some cases of a new, nasty lurgy.  So nasty that it kills about 8 out of ten people you see with it (you only see the serious cases).   You're pretty desparate to find something that will cure it, or at least reduce the death rate, and you recall that Medicinal Compound was efficatious in a similar outbreak in the past.   MC also has the advantages that it's cheap, its toxicity is known to be close to zero in the correct dose, and it has been widely used for years.

So you call up Pink Lilly Pharmaceuticals, and order a batch of Medicinal Compound, and try it out.  And behold, out of the next ten patients that you see, only 3 die instead of 8.   The question is: what do you do now?  

There are many options available to you, of course, and you must realise that all you have to offer right now is "anecdotal evidence".   If you are a normal human being, you will probably continue to use MC to see if your result is just a fluke.   You might phone up some colleagues elsewhere in the country or in the world, to tell them about your results and find out if they also might have tried it, and with what outcome.   Only if your conversations convince you that MC is inefficatious would you think about stopping using it, and then only maybe.

What you probably won't do is stop using Medicinal Compound until a randomised double-blind trial proves that it is efficatious (or not) in these cases.   You might even question the morality of giving people a placebo in such a trial, given the success you have had with MC.

What you also wouldn't do is stop using Medicinal Compound while you scrabble around looking to find or develop a new, expensive treatment of unknown toxicity and side-effects to inflict on all of your patients.   Why on Earth would you do that?

What you also wouldn't do is organise a limited trial in which you give potentially toxic overdoses of MC to people who are seriously ill with the lurgy, at a stage of the disease when MC is known not to work, find out that they die, and then proclaim that MC doesn't work.

Wednesday 7 July 2021

The plastic cabinet

We got a new small cabinet for the gîte kitchen, for storing odds and ends.   It comes in kit form, it's like Ikea on steroids.

The instructions are clear enough, but you have to look at all the fine details of the drawings to get it right.  All the information is there, but you can't lose concentration for a second.  I put one of the door edges on the wrong way around (easily fixed), and I put the screws for one end of one handle in the wrong place through the door (small, permanent holes in the front).   However, the final effect is pretty reasonable.   I'd be happy to buy more of this kind of thing.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...