Monday, November 8, 2010

A Monday meltdown

France is not in my good books today. Whenever any of my buddies (chiefly Tony or Will) start complaining about life in France, the bureaucracy, the driving skills etc etc I am the first to leap to the defence of my adopted country.

But not today. Now that summer has properly skidaddled out of here, we decided on a cosy night out at the cinema. Consulting Angloinfo, I noted that The Town was showing and being a massive Jon Hamm fan and having read all the brilliant reviews, we bolted down supper in record time, jumped in the car and hurtled off to Roquefort, as usual cutting it so fine that we arrived just as the film was about to start. Except it wasn't.

Having spent ten minutes searching for a parking space (a certain person wanted to be under a streetlight in deserted RLP because he was worried that our battered, scruffy jeep might look like a good prospect to a passing opportunist car ringer) we hurried to the entrance to find it in total darkness and all locked up.

Cussing in the freezing cold on the trudge back to the car, we consoled ourselves with the thought of a cosy stop off at a bar en route home...then we remembered that this is the Cote d'Azur, there are no cosy bars in this neck of the woods, just very expensive hotel bars or slightly shabby brightly lit atmosphere-less stop offs for a swift after work tipple. But no pubs with a log fire, some decent wines by the glass, a dimly lit ambience and a comfy sofa or, nothing like that at all.

So our night out culminated in a trip to the garage to fill the car up (76 euros) before arriving home to the guffaws of the girls who said: 'But surely you know by now that everything here is closed on a Monday?' After two and a half years, I really should remember that Mondays and indeed every lunchtime is a no-go, no-trade total shutdown. I have checked Angloinfo again, and it clearly states that The Town was showing last Wednesday and Saturday, but definitely NOT Monday night. I am sure this has been sneakily ammended in the last hour.

The picture above, by the way, is of idyllic Bar sur Loup, without aforementioned bar....

Onto the curious case of the pet insurance fiasco. When we first arrived here with our menagerie of animals, we decided in our infinite wisdom to take out an insurance policy covering all the furry beloveds in case of accident or illness (this was pre-empted by Archie Smith, Norma and Tony's cute but acutely allergic Westie who has now had in the region of £40k worth of vets bills covered by Pet Plan.) How sensible we thought we were. In the spirit of cutting back this autumn, we decided that shelling out in excess of €1000 a year on the rudely healthy little rugrats was not strictly necessary so Iain emailed Generali to politely cancel our policy.

Cue a concerned phone call the next day from a Generali minion politely informing us that we can't cancel the insurance. If we refuse to pay, they will continue to take it from our bank account anyway, because we renewed the policy in August and so have to wait until August 2011 to cancel something that is not mandatory in any case. Is the world going mad? Ok, so what if all the animals die then? Well, in that case you need to produce a death certificate for each animal certified by a vet in order to cancel the policy. Cue much hilarity from Will, whose suggestion that we start a dead animal collection service locally was not greeted with total derision. As nan in Catherine Tate might say: 'What a %£*?ing liberty!' Except liberty is the one thing in short supply.

My mood has been lightened somewhat following a flurry of emails from C in London, who entertained and shocked me in equal measure with the story of how her just turned 16yo has been grounded for a month after being dropped off for a girlie sleepover in her PJs on Saturday night, only to change into her gladrags and head out to a Soho nightclub with all her friends, before catching the 5am nightbus home to sleepover friend's empty house (the parents, of course, had gone away for the weekend.) Having shared the story with Liv, she could only gasp: 'Wow, that is legendary - but I know I would have been grounded for life if I'd done that!' She is not wrong, so perhaps living in a pub-less, bar-less, cinema-less rural idyll is the least of my problems.