They looked at each other and smiled as he locked the front door. Earlier they had deposited children with willing relatives and were off to south France for a delicious, sunny break. Six days to unwind, enjoy the wine and relax in their peaceful cottage. They headed for the airport with a sense of anticipation, really looking forward to reacquainting with their own little part of France.

The flight was uneventful and they caught a glimpse of the mediaeval walled city of Carcassonne just before the plane landed. Hopping into the rental car, they relaxed and laughed as they drove through the countryside, surrounded by vineyards and olive groves. Arriving at their house, they enjoyed the warmth of the spring sunshine as they unloaded the suitcases and the shopping. .He turned on the water at the mains, and went to fill the kettle – nothing! After some searching, he found disaster had struck! Whilst they were back home, the big freeze in February had destroyed their water meter. What to do? Six days without a drop of water. They looked at each other in horror. Then inspiration struck – SFN!!

SO what happened next?

Well, I receive a message from our intrepid traveller Shay (with whom I had exchanged a couple of messages when he first joined SFN over a year ago), telling me of the problem and asking if there was anything I could do. We put a discussion up on SFN and almost immediately Terry replied with a very helpful warning of not to touch the meter as it was the responsibility of and owned by the water company. Ian and Andrew also rowed in. Shortly thereafter, Anna saw the post and jumped into the fray. Noting that Shay (by his own admission) had very little French, they swapped phone numbers and made contact the following morning. Anna knew that the only resolution to the problem was to get the water company on the job, and make a call-out to replace the meter. She also had a friend living in the same village as our H2O-challenged member, who was on hand to offer shower facilities, etc.

However, this was not needed. I don’t know what kind of magic wand Anna possesses, but against all odds that most of us would have placed, she got the water company to come out and replace the meter that very morning, at 11.00 am. Result!

Henry and I met Shay and his lovely wife Deirdre the next day here in Lagrasse, when they came over for lunch, and we enjoyed sitting outside Restaurant l’Affenage in the warmth of the sun, relaxed, laughing, enjoying la vie en France.

What a difference it makes to life when people are helpful!!!

I am so pleased that Shay and Deirdre were able to enjoy their holiday and the lovely weather we have been having.

Well done to you all in the South West.

Well done Sheila and a good reminder of what SFN is about.

Well done Sheila and Anna. I hope that you have a great week's break now Shay.

I am so glad we were able to help. Sheila worked her magic and got people to help people. Feels good!

I was impressed with the water company too. They did move rather quickly and the funny part is, on Monday I got a call from a gentleman asking me where I was. Naturally, I was curious as to who wanted to know! It is the water company," Madame, we are in front of your home and no one is here"

Yes, my SFN'ers, they were there on Monday, not knowing that the problem was taken care of on Saturday morning.

So impressed with your short story Sheila. We are so greatful for all the help we got. Thanks to all again.


Disaster has struck at SFN Towers. There is dust everywhere (you can see the photos on FB!)

I think I need a posse of SFN ers to come to the the rescue. Armed with mops.....!!!!

....that's just nice to hear.... :)

A great piece! I really like this forum!! A good mixture of practical help, humour and philosophy. . .

I quite agree, Norah. I don't belong to any other ex-pat site. There's such a sense of community here.

I am not surprised Sheila. When my little cat had his accident I cannot tell you how supportive the girls (and some boys) on Cat Chat were. Just keeping my spirits up when I was so worried. And they are such fun also. This really is the best expat site I know. Some of the others seem to have more than their fair share of not very nice people but I REALLY like the people I have got to know on this site!

just shows what a boon this website is.....love it!

Now, that's what it's all about!

Happy days.

Excellllleennnnt :) Happy showering!

Nice one Sheila, glad everything got sorted and that everyone's enjoying this excellent weather ;-)

Love it!