Edouard, the farmer who cuts our hay, arrived yesterday to tackle this year’s grass. Sadly it’s a poor crop due to the early hot weather followed by the continuing long dry spell. Things aren’t good for farmers generally. Edouard told us that his beef cattle are worth half of what they were last year, that the cereal crops will be disappointing and that Creuse still refuses to declare an official drought. I’m not sure what the repercussions of their doing so would be for farmers, but there is presumably something.
Anyway, before Edouard climbed back into his cab to finish the last field, he mentioned that one of our telegraph poles was leaning. This came as a surprise. It had been OK when we’d last passed it at lunchtime. There’s circumstantial evidence to suggest that the event has something to do with our hay being cut by a large tractor with a large cutting attachment! However, when we went to try and prop the pole up this morning, we soon saw that it’s practically rotten, and has large splits and holes all over it. It’s a poorly pole. It would have only taken a slight bump from Edouard to send it toppling.
We have a lot of poles at Les Fragnes. Down one side of our long driveway we have electricity poles, and they cross over the drive and back at one point. And down the other we have the telegraph poles, which also cross the drive at the corner. We are a tad over-poled. It’s a pity the two utility companies couldn’t work together and save a few trees.
So, since this morning I have been ringing France Telecom to tell them about our pole. Phoning 1013 is a waste of time at the moment, though. There are ‘perturbations’ in their service, a recorded message tells me sadly. The answer machine bloke who comes on next won’t let me pass ‘go’ since he refuses to believe me when I tell him ‘un poteau est cassé’ – a pole has broken. He insists on putting me through to the commercial department on 1014, who promptly tell me to phone 1013. Scream. I shall just have to wait till humans appear at the 1013 site again. Given that it took around six months before I finally made contact concerning our droopy telephone wire last year, it’s not looking too optimistic for getting the problem sorted soon. But this is altogether more dangerous with a large lump of wood flopping around loose. I shall persevere since there’s no other choice! France Telecom are leading us a merry dance, again.