Shortly afterwards, one of our orchard neighbours, Madame G, who works in Saumur and keeps up with Preuilly news partly by reading the blog occasionally, came up to me in the market place. She asked me what the story with the laneway was, and I said that all I knew was that sometime in the late autumn the ditch opposite the Moulin de Chanvre had been cleaned out, with the spoil dumped on the adjacent field, and the heavy machinery having made a mess of our laneway. Then in late winter, the commune of Preuilly churned it up even more when they were pruning the laurel hedge at the nearby sewerage works.
We were in luck, because when we got there Madame Ligaud, the mayor, was in reception. She is an attractive and dynamic woman in her 50s (or perhaps slightly older) and was very happy to listen to our case and said she would do what she could. She established exactly where we were talking about and told us that the ditch cleaning had been an emergency operation. Apparently the culvert under our lane got blocked and the road flooded, making it impassable. The border between the two communes is the ruisseau which runs along side the lane, in front of our orchards. The commune of Preuilly didn't feel to take responsibility for the blockage ('they don't like to put their hand in their pocket!' -- not the first time I have heard this remark...) so the commune of Boussay came and sorted the ditch out, but inadvertently left us with a pile of mud.
On Friday I nipped down to the orchard in one of the sunny half hours to find that sometime in the last few days, the commune of Boussay has been and levelled out the lane and rolled a load of blue metal on top. It looks good and I hope will prove to last. The lane doesn't get much traffic -- just me, Monsieur Ch and the Madames G or their mower man. A busy day is when more than one of us is down there at the same time. As we happened to pass Madame G's house on our after dinner walk that evening I popped in to tell her the good news. If she hadn't suggested visiting the mairie, I doubt if anything would have been done, so thank you commune de Boussay and thank you Madame G!
Communal Finances: Preuilly has a population of just over 1000, and a budgetary turnover of just over 1 million euros. Around half the budget is spent on personnel. Just for comparison, Boussay has a population of 250 and a budgetary turnover of just under a quarter of a million euros. Slightly more than a third of their expenditure is on personnel. Both communes balance their budget and indeed have a surplus, which in Preuilly's case is around 100 000 euros, and in Boussay's about 70 000, invested.