Phone lines cut in rural France LIVING IN RURAL BRITTANY

We live in rural Brittany and so many things are different from life in the UK.

For example, I don’t recall seeing many overhead electricity or phone lines in England, but having said that when I travel back to the UK, I do head straight down the motorway towards a pretty large town just outside of London. Maybe rural England is different. Not sure. I will need to find out.

Rural Brittany, on the other hand, is very different: there are overhead cables for absolutely everything! And as you can imagine, what a maintenance nightmare! Each year, an especially designed tractor with huge loppers patrol the small country lanes chopping down any branches that are getting too close to the cables.

Thursday morning I followed a tractor ‘doing the rounds’ in Reminiac, and I wondered: ‘Those loppers are huge, surely, they must sometimes get the cables by mistake…’

Be careful what you idly wonder… 1


Be careful what you wish for! We ended up without a phone line for 4 days when one of the cables was mistakenly chopped! We not only lost our landline but also our internet, so we had to call Orange to fix it. 

To be fair, they reacted fairly quickly. After doing some online tests trying to fix the problem, they agreed that the fault. which was located outside of the house, needed fixing in person. The day the engineer came, the rain was coming down very heavily and relentlessly. He saw straight away that the cable had been chopped and was hanging loosely by the post (to be fair, we could have told him). After the repair, he left and everything was back to normal for a few days… until the wind started blowing. So we took a look outside: guess what? The engineer obviously hadn’t wanted to get too wet and had been keen on getting this repair over and done with quickly. The new cable was actually running through the branches of our tree at the edge of the road. Every time a gust of wind started blowing, the cable was obviously being disturbed by the branches.


One of our neighbours warned us that when a cable gets damaged due to the branches of a tree situated on our property, we are responsible. The phone or electricity company will send a contractor out to cut off the guilty branches, but they will also send us the bill for the privilege! Not good… Fortunately, our other neighbour has a lot of contacts and knows someone who knows someone whose business is tree cutting/landscaping.

We contacted him straight away, and first thing this morning, his two employees turned up in their pickup truck with all the necessary tools. After the obligatory cup of coffee, much head-scratching and umming and ahhing over which branches should be cut and how to do it, they did a great job. Very neat. Not sure how much this is going to cost, but surely it will be less than the bill our operator would have sent us otherwise. At least, if it happens again, we are off the hook.

However, the new problem is that now the branches have gone, the cable is fairly loose and hanging quite low over the road.

At the moment, things are great and we keep our fingers crossed: both landline and internet are back and work beautifully. And if the cable gets cut again for whatever reason, it won’t be our fault and we won’t be charged. Having said that, I am just dreading the first time a tractor drives underneath and can already visualise the scene.


Please help us!

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