'The Font' phones to remind me that I've to go to the town hall to get the passwords for the census forms. Every five years France has a census. This year we receive a letter ( 1st Class postage ) informing us that we can fill the forms in on line. A week later we get a second letter ( 1st Class postage ) telling us that the mayors secretary will come around to fill in the forms for us. A third letter arrives ( 1st class postage ) to say she will be with us on January 20th at 8.00 pm or we can phone her and schedule an appointment to receive the passwords. We are the only people in the village to choose this last option. Angus wonders why she can't just e-mail the codes but this is not the way French bureaucracy does things.
All the villagers are sent these letters. Considering 60% of us live within 100 metres of the town hall door this strikes me as a a rather profligate use of public funds. In France the word 'austerity' has a different meaning.
Bob and his master note that the Joyeuses Fetes sign above the church door has been disconnected from the power supply. At some stage in the next five or six weeks the village odd job man will get round to taking it down.
Today, due to the extreme cold, the mayors secretary is wearing three cardigans and a blue, white and red bobble hat pulled halfway over her ears. She greets me primly, or as primly as someone wearing three cardigans and a bobble hat can. I suspect her cool welcome is in part a suspicion that online form fillers will do her out of a job. '' Will you be here if I have any problems ? " I ask in a manner designed to show that she remains a vital cog in the government machine. ' You shouldn't need my help. The form is self explanatory. In fact it's simple'. As she utters the word 'simple' she looks at me in a way that some folks might find disconcertingly judgemental.
Sophie continues to recover. Four walks round the garden and an extremely noisy and emotional reunion when 'The Font' returns home. There is pickled herring as a treat. For the PONs nothing but nothing compares with pickled herring. It has turned out to be the best day ever.
This cartoon seems timely : https://twitter.com/AdamMGrant/status/821709184811012096