31 March 2011

The PC is Back ….. and English Mechanics

My regular readers will know that in a fit of extremely unusual extravagance when I was in New York for my honeymoon, I splashed out several hundred dollars on a new PC. Unfortunately, the PC I bought was a top-spec HP Pavillion dv6000 which, unknown to me was a crap piece of kit wrapped up in a very attractive case – shiny piano black, every bell and whistle you can think of and a few you probably haven’t even heard of!

The problem with this particular PC, which I would have known about had I bothered to research it properly, was that it melts, or to be more precise, the graphics board melts and eventually, the problems spread and so it turned out to be.

My Unreliable HP
It’s been down to Wolfgang, our trusty German PC engineer in Antibes a couple of times and last year after a new graphics board was fitted, the motherboard (quite important) gave up and he fitted a new one of these too. This motherboard lasted approximately 6 weeks by which time the warranty of the board was up so last October, the HP went back to Wolfgang and it’s taken this long to fix.

And so yesterday, I got the Beemer out, put the top down and headed off down to Antibes to pick it up. It was a beautiful day and driving my new toy for the first time with the hood down was great.

I got to Wolfgang’s house in just under an hour, picked up the PC and headed back into Antibes to meet a lady, who shall remain nameless and who was handing over some VHS tapes for me to copy to DVD.

When we finally managed to meet up (Antibes centre is a nightmare when you have a car), she handed me the tapes and said one was old home movies and was precious whilst the other was of her wedding. I looked at the wedding tape and said that it didn’t look to be very long. I estimated 25 minutes. ‘Yes’, she said, and that’s about how long the marriage lasted! I didn’t dare ask why she wanted it converted to DVD.

About 20 minutes from home, I had to stop for some groceries and decided to have a sandwich and a glass
Opio ClubMed
of wine in a brasserie attached to the supermarket in a village called Opio, known more for its ClubMed resort than anything else. I ordered a Jambon Cru sandwich. ‘Non monsieur.’ I asked for a fromage sandwich. ‘Non monsieur.’ What about a jambon sandwich? ‘Non monsieur – we don’t have any bread.’ ‘Well there’s a supermarket next door. You could actually get a baguette there’, I suggested. ‘Mais oui’, he said with a surprised look on his face as if I had come up with some startling idea which would transform his business!

It was as I was sitting waiting for the chef to go and get some bread that I noticed a rather noisy table of six guys having lunch. They were tucking into Pesto soup, braised rabbit with piles of vegetables and some sort of tart with cream for dessert. All for 14 euros – not bad!

But it was the ‘formidables’ (very large beers) some of them were drinking which gave the game away – they were English, and further inspection of their clothes told me they were from a local garage not far from the brasserie.

Now this business has been there for quite a few years and specializes in top-of-the-range cars, some costing over €100,000, and they are second hand! Now, contradict me if you like, but if I was spending  €100,000 on a used car, I would go to some fancy garage in Cannes, not a piece of gravel and grass beside a big shed in Opio.

Anyway, the business must thrive as it’s been there for years and it was as I was thinking about who buys their cars that I also wondered if this was some sort of day out for these mechanics as it was obvious that they’d been there for quite a while, and as it was now 2.30pm, they were quite clearly using their outing to embrace the French custom of long lunches.

Then it came time to pay the bill. They tried four credit cards which were all refused and then the waiter said, ‘don’t bother you can pay tomorrow.’

That answered my question.

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