To see our holiday and long term lets.
'This page is consecrated to what happens when you
discover that; you in fact do not have any real
electricity or water, how to temporarily survive and
how your life or death relies totally on an anarchic
system called 'Maries' '
You have heard of 'A
year in Provence' but have you heard of
'Oh Dear ......... Provence'.
OK the base has been
built, everything has been connected and the main
roofs have been replaced, and you are just beginning
to think that you could enjoy a little rest. Every
bodies been paid all that lovely money you promised
and lets just lie back and enjoy some of that calm
Provence that you have been looking foreword to.
Well the sequence isn't
quite exactly in that order but very nearly was; as
while all of those things were going on we realised
that the water system was in fact a great
deal of a problem. We had been told that the house
water came from an underground source and was
captured into a storage tank and that when the
electricity was put back on could then be pumped
directly into the house.
Well that is all true,
but what they had not told us was that; come sometime
in June the underground source would dry up and
wouldn't come back until November.
We had also been told
that to power everything up and get it running again
all we had to do was remake certain connections and
then EDF would happily come and put in a new mains
power connection. We therefore followed to the letter all
their instructions and requirements including
trenches with special depths for the mains cable.
The trenches involved heavy equipment
which had to be hired and we also had to pay EDF to
do their work so the final bill was quite
Well the day finally came when we were
reconnected. Wow we had electricity .. or did we?
What we had not been told
that once we had done all this work and paid all
this money that in fact we would get such a feeble
supply that we couldn't do much with it. I mean what
were we going to do with all those new wall plugs.
The total power supply to the whole Hamlet of four
properties nearly all with families was 3 kilowatts,
and most of the time the voltage was in fact 168
Since I didn't know very
much about this, I had to have a quick education. 3
kilowatts is the amount of power needed to start a
washing machine or a dishwasher. It doesn't need it
all the time but just to start it! So it would take
the entire facility of all the power in the hamlet
just to start one washing machine but also because
the power arriving was only 168 volts when the whole
of Europe works on 210 Voltage (A reduction of 20%
over the norm) Also meant that the washing machine
needed to work longer and harder to do the same job.
In addition some equipment wouldn't function very well at
So how could this be in
1995 and especially as France was at the time (and
still is) the most advanced nuclear energy country
in the world and actually exported the stuff.?
The answer was in fact very intriguing, and
defiantly an 'Oh Dear ...Provence' It turned
out to be that when the electrical line was put in
the 1930's all they needed was light and the line
that bought the electricity came from Montlaux about
4.8 kilometres away and could not be used to bring
up more power then the 3 kilowatts we got.
change the line Mr. EDF you have 4 clients here that
need it. Well actually not, we don't own the line
says Mr EDF and we would if we could but in fact it
is owned by a syndicate of Maries. (group of town
councils) Well Mr Maries (non of then where female)
Change your lines EDF will help, Well no actually
the ground the lines run across is very unstable we
can't use that route anymore.
This is a polite way
of saying well actually we do not want to pay for it
and anyway aren't you just a bunch of hippies up
there that do not need anything more than a bit of
light or anyway we think we remember that from the
60's we certainly haven't been there since then.
.....Well actually no there are two families with young
children both normal and working and in fact one of
the men actually works for EDF. Then there is a
young couple and the other neighbour who has been
here since the 60's. Well you could call him a hippy
I would call him a deadbeat personally, from his
looks actions and manners, but you know he did
inherit a vineyard in Champaign country. So we can
call him a rich deadbeat actually.