Anyone who is not a John Denver fan, and I know there must be some of you out there who are not, will be blissfully unaware that each verse of his song Ripplin’ Waters ends with the words cut the telephone line, the story might change. Such is the nature of the somewhat tenuous link between this entry’s title and its content. Perhaps The Great Beaugut Chainsaw Massacre might have been a more appropriate title, but you would then have been denied this little glimpse into the strange workings of what it pleases me to call my brain.
At about 11am on Wednesday 7th March I was doing some work on the internet when I heard all the telephones in Beaugut briefly ring, rather reminiscent of the ending of The Lawnmower Man. I also noticed that my internet line had dropped. The ADSL connection is sometimes a tad tentative so I just left it and went downstairs for coffee.
An hour later the connection was still down and, when we checked the telephones, they were all dead, too.
I had noticed earlier that the guy from whom we purchased this house, and who still owns the 2ha field across the road, was lopping trees with his chainsaw. After he left, I went to look at the area where he had been working, and look what I found.
The line had been tronçonée – chainsawed!
The following morning I spoke with neighbour Pierre, who had called France Telecom to advise them of the breakdown. Friday afternoon, after another call, two contractors arrived and spent two or three hours making what they described as a temporary repair. I told them my line wasn’t helped by their work and they said not to worry, another team would come on the following Monday or Tuesday (12th or 13th) to replace the section between the main distribution at the bottom of our road and the local distribution at the end of our driveway.
Monday 12th – nothing
Tuesday 13th – nothing
Wednesday 14th, I spoke with Pierre again. He thought I was just without internet, not telephone as well. When I disabused him of that notion he said he would immediately call FT again. He did. FT promised to send someone.
Thursday 15th – nothing. Pierre called FT again. They promised someone would come on Friday.
Friday 16th. Two men from another contractor arrived at 3:30pm. They had no background information and believed they were responding to a new call. They saw what the previous guys had done and explained to me why that didn’t work, and how nothing could be done until another team came Tuesday or Wednesday the following week to replace the cable.
Tuesday 20th – nothing
Wednesday 21st – nothing
Thursday 22nd – nothing. Spoke with Mrs Pierre in the evening. She said Pierre would call again.
Friday 23rd. Found a telephone number for FT that I could call from my mobile. It’s a free number (but not from a mobile). Five minutes’ worth of music later someone answered. I asked if she could speak slowly as my French is a little weak, she said “Please hold” and put me back to the beginning of the five minute queue. Spoke with Pierre. He had already spoken with FT – someone would come on Saturday. A man from FT arrived at about 3:30pm and started doing something in the area of the break. He was joined by another and they were definitely doing something with spaghetti. An hour or so later they came to the door – the telephone was working! They explained that they had done a temporary repair, that I should get ADSL back in a half-hour or so but that it would be slow and perhaps flaky. It was more like an hour later that ADSL came back, but I am not about to quibble over 30 minutes when I have been without service for 16 days! Another team will come early next week to replace the cable, they said.
Looking at their work, they seem to have taken a fresh line from the distribution at the bottom of the road to bypass the original temporary repair. They apparently did it without affecting the other two houses so it must be just for our line.
We shall see what next week brings – meanwhile, it’s nice to be back.
À la prochaine