You have to get used to things suddenly going awry here in France. The fact is, they’re not very good at running things here, things like systems, even just keeping things going that have been running OK for months if not years.
A case in point is our communications system – our fixed phones and internet. We have to accept that our internet only runs at the snail’s-pace speed of 2 MBs, the kind of speed that we kicked out of the UK 10 or more years ago. But what I personally cannot accept is that the telephone system just keeps dying without warning. And when it does, it takes the internet down with it of course.
It’s been doing it regularly for the past few evenings and it’s no good just re-booting the system and hoping that it will come back up again. It doesn’t, and only decides to when it wants to, often the next morning, and in the meantime you just have to accept being cut-off, except for your mobile.
And there’s no point thinking that technology will come to your rescue and that as you’re paying for a 4G connection on your mobile phone, you’ll be able to tether your PC to it and carry on surfing. Sorry, 4G down here also runs at a snail’s pace – slower actually than when your phone is connected via your home internet connection.
But just when you think that things couldn’t get any worse… they do. I’m desperate to sort out my Savannah radio and transponder issues as time is now running out for me to receive the kit and get it installed in advance of my possible time windows for flying to the UK. It didn’t help, of course, changing my plans and deciding to return the radio that I originally ordered and exchange it for a different unit because that lost me over a week when time was already tight. But the latest issue takes the biscuit.
I hung around all day yesterday waiting for an email from Germany telling me that the radio that I had returned had arrived back safely and that I could now amend my order and add a transponder to it. It didn’t come until nearly midnight but I decided that as time is now of the essence, I’d write a reply straight away, which I did. However, when I pressed the ‘Send’ button it transpired that my service provider, Free.fr, has now decided to classify all of my emails as spam and refused to send it.
I tried changing to one of my several other email addresses, but to no avail, my email resolutely remained in my ‘Out’ box. I tried rewriting it instead of just replying to the email that I’d received from the supplier, but still the same result. So well done Free.fr, at a moment when any kind of delay is critical for my plans to fly to the UK in a matter of a few weeks time, you’ve rendered me totally incommunicado.
But not quite. Fortunately I have the option of using a UK-based outgoing SMTP mail server for my micro-trike email address and I was able to get my message off this morning using that address rather than the personal one I’d used previously. Hopefully it won’t be confusing for the supplier when it drops into his ‘In’ box this morning and he’ll deal with it promptly.
But one thing repeatedly reveals itself whenever these kinds of issues arise, as they do frequently. If Mr Macron thinks that France has any kind of chance of grabbing business fom the City of London after Brexit, he’s kidding himself. The French communications system and infrastructure just don’t cut it and are years behind the UK, so the response has to be, ‘Not a Chance Monsieur!’