A trip to the village of Eymoutiers (pop C. 3000), in the Limousin area of France, for a weekend of relaxation with the family. This is the village about which I wrote in a prior post, where the Casino supermarket is open Sunday.

On the way down (via the SNCF) from Paris, unfortunately the electric cable of my laptop DELL computer malfunctions. Catastrophe, as I need it for Monday.

Moreover, my wife’s Motorola cell phone (with the Orange subscription) was not recharging anymore, either.

In distress, we head out on Saturday (what were we thinking) to the electronics store of the village. I laid out the computer problem. The lady (about 60 years old) looked at me.

“Computers? No, never been able to get to grips with them,” she says.

“Oh well,” I continue. “I have also a problem with the telephone.”

Her posture snaps back from defeat back to victory.

“Then,” I continue, “here is my mobile and the problem is that it is not recharging any more…”

The lady’s confidence deflates. “Ah, no, not big on mobiles either.”

My stress level rises a tad…

Afterwards, we drive to visit the touristy town of Collonges-la-Rouge (blessed with a rare sighting of the sun – a beautiful surprise for this rotten August). En route, we improvise a plan B, and make a pit stop in the town of Brive – the land of Rugby – to try to fix our technological woes.

Arriving right before midday, I visit the singular computer store, where I discover the disadvantages of using a Dell. The spare parts are available only on the Dell.com website. Screwed (at least for the weekend).

Challenge #2, fixing the cell phone. We find the Orange store of Brive. But, the relaxing nature of the countryside means that the stores are closed between midday and 2pm. We move fluidly on to the Plan C.

For lunch, we score a table (on the porch) at Le Corrèze, a busy restaurant in the center of Brive. Bad sign, we spend 20 minutes just to place our order; and the whole meal takes 2 hours (trying the patience of the children).

For entertainment, we have a waiter who acknowledges that he doesn’t like to answer more than any one question. Also, in the street in front of us, there is a growing procession of cars waiting, without honking, for a BUT (name of the company) truck to finish its delivery. The driver re-appears some 15 minutes later and makes no sign to thank the waiting cars. It is clear that in this part of the country, people have a different relationship with time. That said, I only have positive things to say about the quality of food served at Le Corrèze (excellent duck confit), all at a very reasonable price (40E for the 4 of us).

The good news at this point? The shops – at least the one which interested me the most, the Orange store – had reopened by the time we finally got up from the table.

But, alas, we were reserved one last glum experience. The Service Department was, miraculously, open. According to the very nice Claire, the solution was to call the Customer Service Dept (CS) — even on Saturday, the CS was open she assured us. And, with great fanfare, Claire suggested that there would be a new telephone delivered to our premises in Eymoutiers within 48 hours. Wow.

In spite of the growing euphoria engendered by the hope that great service still exists, the Orange Customer Service brought to us crashing back to reality. We had to call Motorola as they were, in fact, the responsible ones in this particular case. Of course, Motorola’s Customer Service department wasn’t available on Saturday. Therefore, we were 0 for 2 still.

Ah, the relaxation of countryside living. The delicious pleasures of nothing to do. Nothing that can be done either.

(English version of a post written in French on MinterDial.fr)

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