Malo approves

Author: fraise

Tuesday 10 June 2008, in Cats, Gardening, Journal

Malo approves

EDF, the main French electricity supplier, finally hooked me up yesterday (Monday), meaning Malo and I fully moved in just then. All of my things had been moved two weeks earlier; luckily I’d kept essentials — and Malo — at my old place just in case any unforeseen problems arose. A simple yet big one did just that: I realized that I have a macerator on my toilet. Toilets hooked up to macerators do not work without electricity…! For the last three weeks I’ve been going back and forth between furniture and appliance deliveries, work, moving smaller things to and fro, watering plants at both places, and chasing after EDF trying to get the electricity turned on.

Helpful advice for anyone in France needing electricity: do not use EDF’s website. I got a grand total of one reply to my request to be hooked up, and then… nothing. I had to phone them twice to get it straightened out, because their “email service and telephone service are separate”. Meaning that a customer request via email, cannot be handled by telephone. Which makes no sense, but whatever. Just phone EDF, that way you’re sure to be hooked up. However, pay attention to the contract offered! Use their website to read up on the different offers before phoning so you know exactly what to ask for — and how to say “no, I do not want X and Y.” EDF are particular pains in the rear end when it comes to making perfectly innocent-sounding assumptions about the contract you want, never once asking you anything more than the power level you need.

A very positive note was the incredible rapidity of my internet provider (Free). They switched my line in four days! Of course, without electricity, I could’t use the modem… but on Monday it was among the very first things to be turned on. I still haven’t managed to reply to anyone’s email though!

As a result of my exhausting running around and juggling far too many things at once, I also haven’t taken very many photos yet. I’m taking a short vacation next week (to be spent chez moi), so more will come soon. In the meantime, in addition to monsieur le chat Malo perching contentedly on the bar:
o New refrigerator in its nook — omigod I am in love with my refrigerator. It’s quiet, bright, the perfect size, and I thank myself every time I open it for paying the extra for a fridge-on-top, freezer-on-bottom combination. I also love the layout of my kitchen: the refrigerator and bar shelves are right behind the stovetop, meaning everything is right within arm’s reach.
o Terrace / patio before replanting. My now-previous landlords said I could take the bougainvillea with me, which is great since it should be quite happy with room to climb. I could hardly believe my eyes when I saw it and the other plants on the new patio — they filled my previous balcony, but look downright tiny at the new place!
o The terrace / patio after replanting shows the same: you can barely make out the bougainvillea in its new home.

When pulling out the old, dead trees to replant, I was surprised at how crumbly and healthy the earth felt. Then I came across an old friend I hadn’t seen in eleven years; one I saw all the time, often carousing about underground in groups, when gardening in Oregon. An earthworm! One of my new neighbors stared at me quizzically when I burst out, squiggling earthworm in hand, “mais il y a des vers de terre ! C’est super !!” (“There are earthworms! Awesome!!”)

6 responses to “Malo approves”

  1. Bouks Says:

    Félicitations! From what I can see, it looks like a great place. I’ll be in France next week, and we have a new place there too. It’s such a great thing to be in a place where you feel pleased by your surroundings…and so stressful when you aren’t.

    I was wondering, do you have any experience with growing shiso leaves? I was considering it, but heard they are difficult to germinate from seeds. On the positive side…I haven’t killed my little African violet yet.

  2. Nathanael Says:


    Free is pretty good, as long as whatever your doing somehow falls into their normal sphere of doing things. It’s one huge, giant machine. Woe unto you though if there is something weird on your end (some loose wire, etc.). I’m getting a new Freebox, although I did not ask for one. They are unhelpfully sending it to me now, while I am out of France. So it should arrive at La Poste and be held for 2 weeks. Afterwards, La Poste will send it back to Free, since I will still be in the U.S. (I’m still trying to figure out how to prevent this series of events).

    You know, you have a kitchen garden, right?… expanding into a terrace garden. Have you ever considered growing Tiger Nuts… the Chufi nut (or “Chufa”). My ex-girlfriend was half-French from the Oise and half-Valencian. Her Valencian family took me to an Horchateria, where I had Horchata made from the “nut,” really a root tuber.

    Anyway, in the U.S. (in California and Texas, at least) Horchata is becoming quite common, but made with rice, and it has been common in Mexico for many years, but again made from rice. The drink originates in Valencia, so it certainly has some claim to being authentic. Whenever I ask the Mexicans in South-Central Texas (where I am at the moment) about Horchata de Chufi, they give me a blank stare. So it’s origins have basically been forgotten.

    Finding the seeds for the Tiger Nut are pretty impossible. But apparently, it’s perfect for a kitchen-cum-terrace garden. And the Valencian climate ought to be close enough to your climate in the South of France. Here’s some info…

  3. Nathanael Says:

    Damn, I hate posting comments–and then messing up someone else’s blog. I re-read my post and of course, one can never edit one’s grammar mistakes (i.e., using “your” instead of “you’re”). Sigh…

  4. fraise Says:

    Bouks, I’d never heard of shiso leaves, and Nathanael I didn’t know Tiger Nuts either! Will definitely look into them.

    As for Free, my switch wasn’t at all normal (I don’t go into detail because it would be boring and long — in short the line being used by my predecessors, was not their line, and was reattributed to another person afterwards — like I said it would take a while to explain!!). They do indeed have a spotty record, but in my case, in the eight years I’ve been with them, I’ve never once had a problem that wasn’t solved *very* quickly. They have online assistance now, who replied to my requests within the hour, so you could send them an email via that site about your Freebox. (I’m off to work in two minutes so don’t have time to find the link; they updated their site just last week.)

  5. Polywood Says:

    I’m glad to see you got the EDF to actually do something for you. I heard nightmare stories of it taking 4 weeks to get the power on. It must have sucked to not have a functioning toilet. Makes me appreciate my old school toilet that doesn’t need power, just water. Keep up the great posts!

  6. fraise Says:

    Well for the macerator it’s actually not a question of modernity, but of necessity. I’m in a “basement” apartment (half underground, half ground floor, but beneath what’s counted as the official ground floor), and all the building’s pipes are above me. A macerator functions as a pump, pushing everything up and out. I do wish that I could have a regular toilet, though! Don’t know what I’ll do if/when there’s ever a power outage…

Leave a comment