Sunday, 31 October 2010

Steps forward and back

Life's like learning a dance right now. Clumsy, frustrating, backward and forward motions with inner celebrations at any tiny success.

This weekend has been a good example. I was looking forward to having my new TV delivered and installed. The guys arrived early yesterday (Saturday) but stayed three minutes, just long enough to tell me they would not be installing and that I needed to buy an extension cable. They said if I bought one that day and rang a particular number they would come back two days later. There's just not enough space between the connection on the wall and the space available for a TV because there's too much stuff in the way. I was naturally irritated and disappointed. The only way to minimise those feelings was to take action.

I immediately started walking to the station to catch a bus to the commercial centre. I pottered around the Mall for a bit because there are many nice shops to get acquainted with and then I arrived at Darty which is much like a Dick Smith or JB Hi Fi. Waiting for attention again I explained the situation and was told, sure, there's a cable you can buy but there won't be any installation on Monday and I'd have to wait for yet another weekend, since I work.

I reminded the vendor that I'd already waited a week and that installation was part of their service. This sort of debate is extremely difficult for me with my limited language. When a torrent of French comes at me I simply nod and then repeat my request, trying to use the clearest language I can, and hope for the best. The result can be mixed but this time I struck paydirt. The assistant felt sympathetic and offered to pop over to my place after he finished work and sort it out for me.
That was surprising. What was even more surprising was his patience when he arrived.

He spent ages putting the TV cabinet together but he was methodical and followed the instructions to the letter. He prided himself on doing a good job and when he made tiny mistakes he fixed them up instead of faking it and rushing home.

This sort of service isn't normal and he has my heartfelt thanks for giving me a TV for the long weekend. The disappointment was that in neither the TV package nor the DVD player package were any cables to link the two included. In NZ you'd have cables supplied til they were coming out your ears. No one told me they were not supplied in the products when I bought them. I must go back to the shop for yet more cables and set it up myself. Groan! Still, I don't have any zone 2 DVDs anyway, at this time, so no great loss.

I am really enjoying my 107cm HDTV, what a luxury. So nice to have some background noise and access to French language in my home. So far I have watched programmes on St Malo and its links with Jersey, a yacht race off the coast of Brittany following the old rum route, tried not to watch the absolute crap of celebrity chat/indulgence/reality shows. Where's House? - I need to give that another go.

I'm proud to say I succeeded in watching one of my zone 4 NZ DVDs on my new TV via a special cable to my laptop. I got the settings right all by myself -yay.

The other major project I've been working on is the curtains. Victoria took me to Leroy Merlin to look for ready-mades last week. We had a long and frustrating search to find anything suitable for my window measurements and situation. I came away with five gorgeous terracota/gold sheen curtains you put a rod through. I still have to work out the rod arrangement and buy them.

I've been spending my Sunday (today) trying to cut a length of fake lace into curtains(sheers) with a pair of nail scissors. It's not easy but they are the only scissors I have. I've got a lot of painful bruises from trying to balance on a table which is not connected to its legs and a chair I was standing on which was rocking around on top of my bed-I have no ladder and if I did there'd be nowhere to store it.
After more window and floor washing, curtain-hanging and appreciating my lovely TV I'm feeling very chipper.

Little by little the studio is turning into a home. I'm adjusted to living in one room. The lack of facilities is something I am having to be patient and inventive with and very, very organised. But, I am content. Even more content when the boss uplifts his big stuff.

I can say that everyday I have random moments of pure joy when something goes well, or something looks beautiful or I'm behaving just like a french person. I couldn't understand why I seemed to be the only one not feeling joyful about the superb sunrise last Friday. It filled half the sky as the train carried us all to work, lasted 20 mins and covered every colour tone from purple through red, pink, orange, gold. I wanted to shout to the commuters to stop sleeping, reading or playing with technology and just soak up the beauty. Instead, the sleepers continued to nod their heads in time to the movements of the carriage.

Walking through town in the morning I looked up at the lightening sky and saw a half moon and sighed with sheer happiness. I'm here in the only place I need to be, want to be, should be.

Today I noticed many people in the town of Cafeolait were carrying up to 6 baguettes in their arms. Perhaps there are no shops open tomorrow I thought. So I joined the queue outside the baker's and came away with a baguette, a 'festive', an oval 'campagne' and a pain au raisins (see photo). I topped that off with a visit to the 'charcuterie' for a couple of mini Quiche Lorraines. Imagine me carrying all that in my arms through the streets of Cafeolait, right at home. Yes, such things make me happy these days.

If only the bureaucratic nonsense from France AND NZ would get resolved- that's another story.

Photos show my TV, an example of the older women who seem to predominate as presenters, a programme on awesome sandcastles, my windows shaping up, my bread selection, curtain material I've chosen.


Defogger said...

Glad you got your technology [at least partially] sorted. Major step forward in the 'Frances Ease' front. I am pleased you hit joy and those moments of knowing that is where you are meant to be. It is all a very big deal, even bigger if you lost that knowing. Are you ever on Skype? I don't see you there. said...

You're putting much effort in mum, well done! Coming along nicely. Keep up the good work

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