From my experience, you do a lot of that in France, most especially when you are waiting for something that you’ve ordered to be delivered.

I’m delighted to say that my soopa-doopa new radio and transponder arrived yesterday, so apart from having to send off a cheque for 98€ for the transponder antenna cable and wiring loom plugs that they included but forgot to add to the invoice when they initially provided me with payment details, that saga is thankfully over.

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But even with all of the delay involved in actually getting hold of this kit, incredibly I still do not have a panel to put it in despite this notionally being, apart from the detailed fabrication work involved, the simplest thing to arrange. I initially acquired a sheet of pre-lacquered aluminium, not the easiest thing to locate in the form that I wanted it, but which was delivered just a few days after I’d ordered it.

Unfortunately my original fabrication efforts were not up to standard and after using the sheet for learning and experimental purposes, I decided that I’d order a sheet of plain aluminium as a replacement which one would expect to be much more readily available. And sure enough, it was easy enough to find an internet supplier who boasted of having the material in stock and claiming to be a leading supplier of all metal types.

That was way back on 16th April. I was immediately informed by email that the order was ‘in course of preparation’ so proceeded to wait in eager anticipation of my small sheet of standard aluminium arriving on my doorstep within a few days just as the other more elaborate pre-lacquered sheet had done. But this was not to be the case.

In the meantime various other items and components that I ordered on the internet arrived just as I expected them to but still no aluminium. So I contacted the supplier and said that if they were unable to supply this simple item would they please cancel my order and provide me with a refund so I could source it elsewhere.

I have already discovered that there are three types of internet supplier here in France. The most successful ones behave like Amazon – they take your money, communicate with you effectively and deliver your goods on the promised date. Others, however, are very pleased to take your money but don’t much like the inconvenience of actually having to supply you with the goods you’ve ordered, do so grudgingly after considerable delay and never communicate with you often even after you’ve contacted them several times.

And the last type, the worst of all, like to take your money, fail to provide any product or service at all and still want to hang onto it. I found this to my cost when I employed the services of BSP Auto in Paris to arrange a hire car for me, did not use their service and cancelled according to their terms and conditions and then had to spend weeks getting my money back from them, which I only did after legal threats.

My aluminium supplier falls into the second category, I find. After contacting them they said that they take 8 working days to turn round an order – this to cut a small sheet of material and despatch it – and if as I said in my message it was ‘urgent’ I should have said so when I placed the order.

I find such complacency astonishing. Nobody orders something they don’t need and once they have placed an order and paid for it, they expect it to be delivered in a timely way. In this respect every order is ‘urgent’ and any business that fails to recognise this does not deserve to succeed. They told me that my order would be shipped out ‘the next day’ for delivery today.

As I type this, it is already late afternoon and I have received no notification from any delivery company that my order is on the way. Naturally, I will never use this supplier again, but it’s already too late and I’m about to lose yet another week-end that I could have spent fabricating and assembling my panel.

I have important family reasons for wishing to fly back to the UK in the near future but to do so I need to have my Savannah in a fit and airworthy state. So far some of the suppliers I have chosen to assist me in achieving this have done exactly the opposite and I hope that they don’t end up costing me more dearly than just money.

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