Our car is currently in London, while I load it up with stuff to take to Preuilly for Christmas.
Unlike the load of stuff I packed in April, this is mainly concerned with keeping us warm: Susan scoured the City of London and bought the last 5 hot water bottles existing in the civilised world, a couple of pairs of gloves each - waterproof ones for outdoors stuff and fingerless ones for inside wear, and thick socks (Brashers 4 seasons) to go with the waterproof après-ski boots we bought last year. Add to this our woolly slippers, hats, thermal underwear, wrist warmers (yes, really) and I begin to wonder how I will pack the most important item of all - the Christmas cake!
I mentioned the car being in London because when here it has to sit out in the weather, rather than being in a nice warm garage. It doesn't like this overly much, especially as we have had some pretty icy weather of late. It has been churning a bit before starting, and then yesterday - it didn't start at all. The battery was as flat as a flat thing being sat on by an elephant.
Luckily our car insurance comes with inbuilt roadside assistance. A quick call to the delightful Marie-Hélène at Thelem in Preuilly to make sure we are covered outside France, then I rang the assistance number and spoke French to them! I dislike calling France on the phone, my already sparse language skills tend to completely desert me when I can't use sign language. I did manage to communicate my needs after a few false starts, and they said someone would call me.
A couple of hours later I received a call from a local company (about 5 miles down the road) to check my address and soon after a whacking great truck rolled up to take my car to the mechanic's. Our driveway, however, isn't meant for whacking great trucks, and there was no way he was going to get anywhere near the car. The mechanic does, however, have a couple of Ford Transit vans, and he arranged for one of them to come out instead.
Imagine my surprise then, when an hour later TWO whacking great trucks rolled up. The vans were all busy, so the driver of the first truck had grabbed a mate and they came down (each in his own whacking great truck) to push my car down the driveway, whence they could hook it up to the battery in the truck and jump start me.
Now all I have to do is buy a new battery (I'm doing that today, assuming the car will start) and we should be all ready for the trip to our first Christmas in our new home.