Life in France - why we love it

My Carte Vitalle finally turned up (after three sodding years!!!!!!!!!!!!!) --- it expired on September the 5th, 2014 and has me listed as unmarried, so not on OH's French social security number and they issued it on October 16th. So packed all the relevant documents into the suitcase and trotted off to see the chap from CPAM who is there every second and fourth Friday of the month (and we did double check before setting out). HE WAS ON HOLIDAY and they did not send a sub. A total waste of time, as most of our trips to them are. An entire rain forest has been demolished photocopying our documents for these people.

So then we popped into the supermarket for some bits. Half term - so packed to the gills and hardly any tills open. Still they have new self scan tills and we opted for those. Went through and did not really register the cost. Then I did a double take. Had bought milk and it charged me for 6 six packs of one litre bottles. Doubled the cost of my shopping. Forty minutes later customer services sorted it out and refunded us. Just another irritant but not welcome.

Then EDF!!!!!!!!!!! Will not even go there. Just take it for granted that I shall be snarling for several days.

AND NOW A LETTER FROM THE BANK ASKING FOR PROOF THAT WE LIVE HERE. This is the bank that we pay all of our bills through and whose card we use at the supermarket. I am seriously fed up with these idiots who have to justify their exorbitant charges for doing nothing. You may wish to block your ears if driving past – there is a wealth of Anglo Saxon coming from my side of the drawing room tonight.

Rant over x

On the up side I love our home, our neighbours and my OH. And we might even be able to have drinks on the terrace before the bad weather sets in. And these things now seem to raise their heads once every nine months or so. Can sleep easy for a while. :)

All I know is that when I have dealings with a guy, on the phone - in an office - things get done!

I would prefer, and - to date - always have had health trearment by males, and I'm alive. The only time I didn't, led to me being swiftly driven to the CHU emergency! Without doubt there are some good females in the work situations mentioned, but the CAF is NOT one of them!

I look at the enormous 4x4 trucks blocking the roads outside the local schools, ostensibly there to pick up one child which should take a maximum of 5 minutes, but with gossip etc takes........?

Everybody has the right to their opinions, I have mine - both the right and the opinion!

Since I'm a little bit busy, and this thing is taking up too much inbox space and time, I will be forced to 'stop following' the thread...

Goodness Ian, I hope you never have to rely on the services of my friend the anaesthetist or my other friend the surgeon or my other friend the lawyer not to mention so SO many others, what with their being women with children which obviously means they are too busy with their own kids to do a proper job (we don't take them to work, you know...... and nor does anyone). Presumably these women all have babies by parthenogenesis because otherwise there's a swathe of fathers out there doing a rubbish job too.

Do you live in the 1950s?

I can guess which Bank, we ditched them early on, our Carte Vitale took 10 days, but that was in 2006, I never, on principle, use self check out even in the UK as it costs jobs and NO!! I'm not a socialist. Accept what's bad about life out here, there really isn't much and embrace what is good, courtesy from most people even the young and a really tranquil life style.

Talk about sweeping generalisations...

Take the Good with the Bad, but focus more on the Good, at this moment were enjoying a tremendous indian summer in the Gers! Is your rose half full ar half empty? might need to top it off!

What a ridiculous statement to come out with ! This has caertainly NOT been my experience of the system since the '70s !

sorry - just stating the facts of my experiences over 30 plus years.

Complaining about French financial institutions is all very well. However in the UK I lost £60 k when Equitable Life went pop, Santander overcharged me £1k on PPI and MBNA overcharged me £3 k on PPI. At least I got the last two back. I managed to get nearly 7k euros damages from my Mairie who conspired with a local notaire against me back in the early 90s. These things go on everywhere.

"I'm sorry, but they are mainly women - too busy with their own kids, and they are not normally well trained..."

What a ridiculous statement to come out with ! This has caertainly NOT been my experience of the system since the '70s !

incidentally there are always problems with the authorities. I'm sorry, but they are mainly women - too busy with their own kids, and they are not normally well trained. The CPAM is one of the better ones, but the CAF and SS are NIGHTMARES and sometimes the 'IMPOTS' as well.

The CAF always stop your 'APL' when you change your address, just when you need it, so many people don't tell them (illegal). If you do, then you need a new application with copies of everything including your tax returns etc......

Never had any problems with the CPAM since I wrote (in French) to the 'big boss' in Montpellier. He wrote back almost immediately saying 'sorry, and you are now good up till 2023'

I still have to renew my carte vitale, but in fact they do it automatically for the last few years.

I am British, but my pensions and health insurance is GERMAN. Whether this makes a difference or not I don't know. I know I also got a letter from the German 'Krankenversicherung' (Health system) saying they also had written to the French CPAM - maybe that helped.

You should move to my area cos' the CPAM are absolutely brilliant ! EDF are ok too but the Banque Tarneaud is a joke...totally clueless and seemingly unable to carryout the simplest of instructions !

Just to calm you down a bit, we have had a very serious situation in the UK by one of the financial institutions which meant that we could not get at our pension fund for at least six weeks.

My OH has just turned 65 so will be starting the process of obtaining his carte vitale!!

With the name Kirk, I am sure you have had an overdose of 'Beam me up Scottie' comments. However, it seems like there are moments (longish ones at that) when you probably do want to beamed up to anywhere but supermarket customer services or any mention of the worlds biggest power supplier (how?? how many countries do they entirely mess things up in??) and their inability to make one plus one make two, let alone do anything else right!