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Southern France
Lynn Deasy is a freelance writer, author, foodie, and garden tinkerer. She lives in a 600 year old house in southern France with her husband, Christophe. Currently, she is looking for a literary agent for her memoir CA VA? STORIES FROM RURAL LIFE IN SOUTHERN FRANCE which examines the oddities of French provincial living from an outsider’s point of view through a series of adventures that provide more than a fair share of frustration, education, admiration, and blisters…. yes, lots and lots of blisters. Lynn blogs every Monday, Wednesday, and sometimes Friday.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Rural Living and the Challenges of Utilities

View from the terrace

One of the oddities of living where I do is, well, the utilities.  The lights we switch on, the water that runs, the internet that is supposed to keep me connected to world doesn’t always work as I hope.  More than once, I’ve turned on the facet to hear nothing but a dry gasp of air; found the lights flickering for a simple rain storm, and the internet go out because some phone company worker has accidently unplugged us.  And that “us” is the entire village.  That’s what happened Wednesday; I was about to publish the blog post and I found myself without the internet.

When the internet works, it has been dodgy and sporadic lately.  At the end of last year, the village started to bury all the power and phone lines into the ground; the work’s not done yet.  All the electrical lines are buried and active, but the phone lines still hover overhead.  During part of the work, a phone poll was broken, sending the once airborne, and live, line crashing to the ground.  The once very reactive and publically owned phone company has become privatized and subcontract work out, so the line lay on ground for over a week.  Temporary repairs have been made, but the line is at waist level and run next to a field where cows graze.  I don’t think I need to explain what could happen next.

This is just one of the challenges we face living where we do. We don’t like it; we accept it. There is neither a WIFI café next door nor a hotspot with a reasonable radius.  DSL internet arrived just a few years ago to the village and satellite followed shortly after.  This too tends to have its share of problems since the tower signal is known for not being strong enough to pass over the mountainous territory.  Not that I think it’s normal that Christophe has to lean over the terrace to find reception on his cell phone, or that the reception on digital television is worse than analogy, but it’s something we’ve get used to.  Living in a place like this gives a whole new definition of “normal”, which at least gives us something to talk about when the lights go out, yet again.

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