Simon Pocock

Simon Pocock

It’s incredible. In May there are 4 bank holidays: 1st May – Workers day (or Fête du Travail); 8th May – End of war, VE Day (or my wedding anniversary); 17th May – Ascension day; 27th May – Pentecôte. So, if the Bank Holiday falls on a Thursday or a Tuesday the French obviously take the extra day off and have a long weekend ‘faire le pont’.

After 20 years of living here I still find it strange. It reminds me of the French attitude to ‘après-vente’ or customer service (there is a television broadcast which mocks it). I ordered some parts for my Countax mower in March at a local agent in Guingamp. Six weeks later, still no blades. They put it down to reorganization, as it was taken over by an American firm last year (typical of another excellent British product selling out) and they blamed the French agent who deals directly with England. I thought it was just pathetic and cancelled the order, found an e-shop on eBay and ordered direct as he had the parts in stock that they should be here at the weekend at a cheaper price.

There seems to be an inertia with businesses. I guess something to do with their labour laws, where sacking people is difficult, and a lack of flexibility.

Our winter renter is moving out next week – ‘Big Ron’, a Dutch guy who used to play gridiron. We found a really cheap 12 month rental for him just down the road in the ‘Belle Roche’ a very pretty manoir with a traditional arch and gated entry. The owner has decided he can’t cope with living by himself and has moved into Plestin staying with ‘Les bonnes soeurs’ so he will have the place to himself. It’s very pretty externally, but nothing has been done inside for at least 40 years. Still, he will be the Lord of the Manor for the moment.

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