Monday, 22 October 2018

Loud and clear but not always obvious

"It is really well hidden."

(Quizzical smile)

"Our hide-and-seek puzzle for the next guests."

"Ah, got you." (Broad smile from hotel receptionist)

We were in Hobart for a business and (mostly) pleasure trip and had just checked in to our beautiful, barn-like art hotel with port views when I heard a gentle beeping. I tracked it down to somewhere near the safe in the cupboard next to the bar fridge... just before it stopped.

Later that evening - same, same - and then silence.


The next morning, at our third episode of short-lived but persistent beeping, I rang down to reception and a handyman came up to investigate. It was surmised that the safe's battery was going flat and was replaced expediently.

Thus it was that when the, by now familiar, sound started up again the second morning, I acted quickly. My husband was even quicker and with his never-go-anywhere-without-it headlamp in place scrutinised the interior of the safe. Nothing. Around the safe, under the safe, on top of the safe. Nothing. And still it beeped. Not one to give up, my husband lay on the floor, contorted himself into a skinny L-shape and peered into the small gap between the wall and the safe. Nothing...until...

"Bingo". (Delayed, but triumphant)

Any guesses as to what he found and where?

Perhaps it was a message. I feel like I am constantly looking for my next challenge/direction/focus. Is it already beeping at me loudly and clearly but I just can't see it for looking?

And, no, we didn't really leave the next guests a similar challenge - but we did think about it.

Hobart, by the way, is well worth a visit, as is Chez Moi French Style in Liverpool St, my newest stockist  of 'But you are in France, Madame'. Also available for your Kindle here








Monday, 15 October 2018

How did that happen!

Burgundian buddies
Last week, in a café alongside an ex-Prime Minister, I met Ali in Sydney. Some would say that was not a surprising feat, given that we currently have a rather large range of living Australian PMs to choose from. But, the main event for me was not a question of patriotism, more incredulity at the how and why that had brought Ali and I together. France, possibly?

Uh huh, but more specifically, the cover of my book.

You see, Ali, originally from the UK, now living in New Zealand, also owns a house in France...in Burgundy... in Noyers-sur-Serein... in the street... on my book's cover.

Somehow, this picture of her street came to her attention, and across time-zones and countries we connected, first by good old-fashioned social media and secondly, in person. I still can't quite believe that Ali's house is on my book.

A couple of day's ago, another beep (look left) brought to my attention an Instagram message. 'But you are in France, Madame' had done a fine job of saving someone from a Sunday washing day.

I ask myself frequently why these wonderful interactions keep on happening. I guess because people are basically good; happy to share the joys, dream the possibilities and champion the successes of others. Wow, that is worth highlighting and celebrating.

**For Kindle or print copies of our French story, 'But you are in France, Madame', click here ***










 

Wednesday, 10 October 2018

We are here to help you


And they were!

Twice, in fact, and from a distance.

In light of our difficulties with everything administrative whilst living in France, I felt almost foolish sending a document from Australia to France, asking for it to be dealt with and sent back to me. I agree that this sounds possible, even perplexingly easy but I was supposed to include a stamped (French of course) self-addressed envelope. How, when living abroad does one do that? The kind lady at the Australia Post office did not know and I was sure that FedEx representatives would not be inclined to hang around until such time as my document appeared on the top of an in-tray in an office (which I was not even sure was the right one) and was handed back to them. So, what to do?

Send it off anyway, and take the path of lowest expectation. This was our modus operandi in France, too. After all, if you expect nothing then you can't be disappointed and you get a wonderful opportunity to celebrate if something actually goes right.

I marked my envelope send-off date in my diary and put a note to myself for two weeks thereafter to remind myself to think again of the problem, hoping that in the meantime, another solution might have waltzed into view. And, it did. In the form of a rain-soaked, soggy envelope bearing a recognisable (mine) scrawl. I was all happiness and hope. Delicately, in light of the sogginess, I tore it open.

Nous avons le regret de vous informer qu'il n' a pas été possible de ...pour les raisons suivantes

Right. Not really there to help after all.

But, wait. What was the reason that I was not able to receive help? According to my personalised letter, sent in my un-stamped envelope, it wasn't needed.

I still can't believe (but am thankful) that my un-paid-for envelope was kindly sent back. The problem is I now have to take this French letter to the Italian authorities who asked me for it in the first place and tell them that the French government told me that it was not. Not sure that that is going to work in any language, with or without postage.

Wish me luck.

**For Kindle or print copies of our French story, 'But you are in France, Madame', click here ***The link will take you to the .com store, with a clickable link on the page to the store of your country.*