Saturday, March 5, 2016

Foreigners !

We go to the prefecture in the departmental capital. Angus has a cheque for the coming years tax bill . 'The Font' goes to explore the possibility of getting a Carte de Sejour.

The lady at reception is unsmiling. She points Angus in one direction and 'The Font' in another. We start to wander away but are called back. ' You'll need tickets. There is such a thing as a queue '. This said in a disapproving tone of voice the Scots use for habitual criminals. 

When it comes to receiving money the system is fast, efficient and devoid of charm. An attempt at small talk '' It's cold this morning " met with a blank stare. Angus hands over the cheque.

'The Font' has less success. There is a discussion as to whether Sweden is part of the EU. 'The Font' says it is. The lady who deals with such things isn't sure. She disappears to consult her supervisor. Annoyed to find that Sweden is indeed part of the EU she returns with the news that no new applications are currently being taken. ' You'll need to prove that you're not receiving benefits. The unemployment office will provide you a certificate '. To preclude any further discussion the lady wanders away.

Angus waits outside the prefecture. To pass the time he reads a graphic sign about what to do if you're attacked by terrorists. 'The Font' has problems with the exit door. It's got one of those security locks. '' Press the button " shouts the woman behind the reception desk. 'The Font' looks around and finds a sign that says Push Button. The rest of the sentence says 'in an emergency'. This part is unread. No sooner has the button been pressed than a thick metal security grille descends silently and rapidly from the ceiling. This keeps outsiders out and insiders in. ' Not that button ! The bottom button ! ' screams the receptionist displaying the opposite of joie de vivre. ' Oops ' says 'The Font'. All things considered the gendarmes were remarkably civil.

Bob and Sophie would have loved it.

Just another quiet day in deepest, deepest France profonde.


  1. How long did it take Bob and Sophie to stop laughing after you told them about 'The Font's' little "mishap"?
    Oh dear, you need to be remarkably agile, and fit, in the event of a terrorist attack, and be able to hold your breathe under water.

  2. It was worth the laugh to press the wrong button, which by the way was not the Font's fault. It could have happened to anyone in similar circumstances.

  3. The service you received sounds just about right for what we receive here...sorry that Madame Font had to go through that "imprisonment" but I do believe that if she had been treated cordially at the service desk her mind and psyche would have been in a better place and therefore she would have been able to find the correct exit button.
    Hope you guys had a special treat afterwards like a nice glass of wine or a meal after that horrific encounter. On the bright side at least your taxes have been paid.

  4. Ah yes, that lovely time of year, known as tax season! I do fear it is the same for all of us, no matter which country we live in.

  5. Perhaps matters such as the status of countries are over the heads of local government employees. When my husband applied for our marriage license (in California), he was required to provide the names of the countries where our parents were born. His father was born in Singapore. The county clerk informed him that Singapore was a city but not a country. They disagreed for some time, but the clerk was not giving any ground. Finally deciding that the license was the more important issue, my husband said that his father was born in Malaysia. The clerk was satisfied, my husband less so.

  6. Your trip to the prefecture sounds like the equivalent to our going to the department of motor vehicles -- A glass of energy restoring champagne is always needed afterwards.

  7. Do bureaucratic institutions everywhere hire the same type of employee or is that particular type of employee drawn to working in bureaucratic institutions?

  8. We don't even understand the illustrations!