Wow, over a week has passed since I last wrote. This time has been dominated by my car. Tuesday was a busy day – first the Bréau Christmas lunch for pensioners and then an afternoon of music rehearsals.
After a morning battling with the airport’s non-functioning system of booking a parking place for next week’s trip to the UK, I was late. I climbed into my car, turned the ignition and – nothing, The lights were on, so not a flat battery, but nothing turned over and during several attempts various warning messages flashed by. Oh dear, an electronic problem.
I got to the lunch, thanks to my friends Charles and Pierre. (Didn’t enjoy it as I had a splitting headache and 96 pensioners packed into too small a space did not help.).
Then on to my first cello event, my lesson with Anne, driving an old car belonging to Charles and Pierre’s. In between this and my next appointment, I rushed round, talking to my insurers and others, establishing that getting my car to the garage in Montpellier could cost me over €200!
This did not help my next performance, with Jean Sebastian, the pianist – my last rehearsal before next month’s concert. Nor did my headache. Then before my final musical event – rehearsing with beginners for another ‘audition’ next week, I rang my garage.
Now why did I not do that earlier? I discovered that I was still under a service contract, despite being into my second year of ownership, and that my car would be picked up and taken to Montpellier for free. Phew!
So Wednesday morning a guy turned up with his lorry, got the car working, thus establishing there was a problem with the battery, but insisted that the electronics needed checking over as this failure was not normal. So I said goodbye to my little car, all set to see it again the following day.
Then I started to feel ill. I realise now the headache had been the start. By the evening it began to feel horribly like another occlusion. I was not in a good place. At midnight, in a calm moment, I packed my bag in anticipation of another trip to the clinic at Ganges.
Then I was sick, very sick, twice. And miraculously by 2am I felt things calming down. I managed to doze through the rest of the night and, amazing, in the morning I felt weak but better. Emergency averted, I hoped. Just as well, as my next challenge was getting to medical appointments in Montpellier by the afternoon.
With my borrowed car (not fit for long journeys), I drove to le Vigan, took the bus to Montpellier (what a bargain – €1.60 for 70 km) and continued by tram and then on foot (in the pouring rain) to the Clinique St Jean. I was there to see an anaesthetist, in preparation for the thermocoagulation injection into my spine next month. Then on, still in freezing rain, to an appointment with a specialist physio, who measured my mobility before the event and will see me again after.
I had hoped to return in my car, but of course it was not ready, so back home by tram and bus. Actually it was a jolly occasion. I sat at the front and one of my neighbours said as I entered “Ah, voici la violoncelliste”. She was a former councillor in le Vigan who used to attend our concerts regularly. The woman next to me was also very cheery (I kept quiet when she enthused about the gilets jaunes). The driver joined in the conversations too. I discovered his family have the magnificent old house at the far end of the Vieux Pont, the splendid romanesque bridge in le Vigan.
Thursday, after thankfully an uneventful night, I was back in the bus to Montpellier to collect my car. This was a three hour journey – bus followed by two trams, so I was relieved to find that my car was indeed ready. And even more relieved that I did not have to pay a penny. (I don’t like the fact that the receptionist at this huge Mercedes and Smart garage greets me by name – I have had uncomfortably too many visits here in the last year.) Nobody could explain the electronic fault, but they replaced the battery, rebooted the electronics system and ran various tests. I still love my car, despite its heavy reliance on electronics and potentially expensive bills in the future.
Oh and I forgot to mention that I had been ringing Lionel, my builder, regularly, chastising him for not coming to look at my roof leak. This week he came, apologetic for the long delay. The crack in the cement at the top of the roof was found (caused he thought by the summer heat) and repaired, so hopefully all is now well.
Lionel had brought his team from a bigger job the other side of Ganges. He said that there was now so little money available for building in the le Vigan area that he had had to move his business to places between Ganges and Montpellier. Another worrying indicator that the economic life of our area is in jeopardy.
Now this weekend I must practise the cello to make up for the three days of not touching my instrument.