Last night, while in bed, the window flashed and a crack of thunder was so loud I thought our time had come. A few hours later Sarah was up and for some reason she was hovering over me in her dressing gown. There was no power to some of the lights and the TV. Much worse there was no landline or wifi and Sarah needed to do some work. Bugger! In fact the whole system tripped, but Sarah remembered the switch I used to reset it from earlier in the week.
Bleary eyed I go downstairs to check the fuse box and it all seems okay. No switch tripped there. I can’t find another circuit board, switch or any sort of fuse box anywhere else. But I keep looking. Meanwhile, Puppy pukes all over the front door steps. I venture upstairs to sacred ground … Jo’s quarters … as the Livebox is there. Its a series of wires, small connecting boxes and more wires. I look at it all intelligently willing it to magically come together. But the Livebox seems to be a Deadbox.
The phone signal is weaker than usual. I have to go outside to the carport before I get 2 bars. I Google Livebox resets and it really isn’t much help. I try another tactic. I smile, feel jolly inside, positive. I sit and take deep breaths. Meditate on the Livebox springing back to life. I go upstairs smile at the black box and lay my hands on it in Reiki fashion. Healing. Praying. A sort of mental artificial respiration. But the piece of shit just sits there dead, lifeless and useless!
I call the fountain of all knowledge, Gervais, but he can’t help. I think that Jo thinks he knows more than he does. The network could be down, but I think the Livebox has fried. It has to be something caused by that huge crack of thunder last night. This is supported by the App WifiMap which doesn’t register Jo’s box, but there are others around that are live. Gervais tells me that there is a fuse box in the back bedroom, another up in a hatch between the kitchen and breakfast room and yet another in the studio down on the terrace! What? Yes, the electrics are crap and he has told Jo. Crap? They are lethal and we should get out now. It’s a deathtrap!
I hunt them down, but there is nothing in the kitchen or bedroom. Gervais is just talking a load of bollocks although Sarah did find the one in the studio and no switches have tripped.
I keep looking. Upstairs, downstairs, like Wee Willie Winkie in my nightgown. Nothing. Not a brass razoo! I still keep looking. At the same thing over and over, like I missed it the first or second or third time. I go back upstairs to the attic room. I peruse stuff just looking for inspiration. I read the spines of books on the shelves, shuffle things for the faint hope an answer will appear. I move objects. Take a handbag off an old leather captains chair and sit down muttering. I look at the desk in front of me. I open the top drawer. Fuck what’s that? The dried remains of a snake stare back at me. Bloody hell that will teach me. About sums this place up!
Sarah is outside trying to get a signal so that she can work from her iphone, but there is periodic rain. Having recovered from my discovery in the dawer I wander to the back of Jo’s room looking at the solid oak beams, up to the roof and almost everywhere I can. I get as far as the window that the cats use to come and go. Its high up, but is close enough to the roof line below for them to jump up. I turn around and almost hidden on a cross beam is a fusebox. It has tripped and I switch it on. That fixes the TV and the lounge light. I still need to find the box for the kitchen.
I remain focused on the Livebox to get the wifi going, but hope is fading fast. I attempt to trace every wire from its start to end. Not with great success. Its difficult to find the start and the wires often just disappear into walls or a tangled mess. Its like spaghetti in some places. Sarah texts Jo in the slim hope that she may have some idea. I doubt it. Sure enough minutes later we get a response “Try calling Gervais…” Really, is that all you’ve got!
Not giving up I fiddle with switches and poke wires just incase they spring into life. That’s about as far as my electrical experience goes. I still have to locate the switch board that connects the kitchen appliances that have no power. Gervais said there was a hatch in the kitchen. But there isn’t. He’s probably been drinking again. Bugger!
Huffing and puffing I go into the kitchen and stare mindfully at things. Hidden behind a post between the kitchen and the breakfast room is a switch. I flick it to what I presume is On wondering what it is for. Nothing. No light comes on. Nothing flashes into action. I look around. I look up. I look down. I look all around the room. Nothing. I look up. What? I can see a light through the ceiling which is just beams and planks of wood. I focus. Now I can see things. It’s an attic room. But where is the hatch? I go outside to workout the roof line and sure enough it must be a small attic. I return to the scene of my discovery. There is a very faint cut line. I grab a chair and stand on it. Blindly I push up and the ceiling moves. It’s the hatch. Bloody hell Gervais why didn’t you say it was in disguise. Very discreetly positioned. It wasn’t a hatch as such, it was just a square piece of the ceiling cut out, but in such a confined space you would never know it was there.
I go down to the shed and find the step ladders. Laced with cobwebs of course. I set them up in the kitchen and carefully push the small piece of ceiling away which also doubles as the flooring for the attic. I am careful. My experience of this place is that you never know what is lurking behind things. Is it full of bats? A dead body? Rats? Surprisingly it is okay. So okay in fact that I feel confident enough to pop my head up and hey presto on the top beam is a fuse box. Sarah steadies the ladders and I climb up and flick the switch. Full power restored. Just the wifi to sort out.
Needing a break and also access to wifi we take a trip to the supermarket, Leclerc in Pineuilh to use their free wifi. It’s not great. A bit slow, but does the job.
We receive another text from Jo. She has a solution. As her neighbours are not in residence she suggests that we stand outside their front door to use their wifi as they don’t have a password. What? … What? Are you F*cking serious? What? I look at Sarah. She looks at me. We mentally slap ourselves in the face to wake up from this insanity. This total insanity!
Having said all that, in desperation we did try it out on our return to Le Peyrail. Like most, if not all of Jo’s suggestions it didn’t work. I suspect that her neighbour has cottoned on to the fact that people are illegally tapping into the wifi and switched it off when they are not there.
Another text from Jo. She is on a roll. She is definitely on something. If she isn’t, perhaps she should be. Apparently our delightful host has contacted Orange about the Livebox. It seems that due to the storm last night many of the boxes just “popped”. We can go into Pineuilh ... where we have just returned from... and exchange it or she will do it tomorrow when she gets back. We leave it for Jo. It’s all too late now.
As a sort of calm descends I get on with the daily routine. Supplies are low for Oliver as we haven’t got any scraps left. So I make a concoction of cat food, dog food, bread chicken stock and milk. He loved it, although his grunt is a bit like a bark and he now climbs trees.
Despite the extraordinary experience at Le Peyrail, there are those natural wonders that momentarily take your breath away. Like the glorious poppies, the symbol of Remembrance and Hope!
Until next time 🌏