Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Série noire

That's what you could call a streak of bad luck in French. And we've been going through one for the past several weeks, with car troubles and Gala throwing up daily.

A few weekends ago, we let Benjamin volunteer at a girls' gymnastics competition. Since no good deed goes unpunished, the white gate stop in the center of this inoffensive-looking parking lot at the Gymnase Jean Davesne in Soissons managed to completely tear up our entire muffler line. The parking lot was full at the time, so we had no reason to suspect anything, and it looks like a gentle slope, but it isn't.

The lovely city of Soissons refuses to accept any responsibility or acknowledge that there is a 20-centimeter difference between the top of the gate stop and the level of the parking lot. So this is your formal warning: Do not try to enter the Gymnase Jean Davense parking lot, look for parking on the street nearby if you must go there. (Fortunately this is NOT the gym where the boys have their gymnastics classes!)

And our wonderful insurance (Direct Assurance - if you are in the market for an insurance company in France, don't bother with them!) did at least agree to repair our car (rather surprising since it is a 1999 model with 260,000 km on the clock, so isn't worth terribly much, and repairs were 1200 €), but left us with a ridiculously high deductible, a "loss of control of the vehicle" and full responsibility for Frédéric... how it could be "loss of control" when he was going about 5km is anyone's guess... They also told us we could have a loaner car only after the work began on ours... and then no one bothered to tell us when the work began, so no loaner, and no car for two weeks with all of that. And that's not to mention the towing the insurance was supposed to cover, but the towing company couldn't guarantee they would take the car to the right garage, so we told them to forget it and drove it ourselves to the garage, even though the garage told us we shouldn't drive it because the fuel tank could catch on fire.

In the meantime, Frédéric thought he'd get the other car running.... and he did, after a new battery, fixing the key/anti-theft system (really, do we need this on a 1996 Renault?! They ought to be automatically disabled after a certain number of years. Auto manufacturers, are you listening?), and passing inspection. And changing a couple of parts.

So with any luck, we are over the worst of the série noire now... but Gala is still throwing up, so I guess we aren't quite done yet.

1 comment:

Top-of-the-Arch said...

You sure have so many exciting and interesting stories - thanks for sharing. Wow - first it was the explosive in the ground, then driving a vehicle that could catch on fire - even 007 would not match these - haa haa.
Thanks for sharing wonderful photos, especially the castles. And I love the road signs too.
Have a great summer or whatever season you are having there.
It's already in the 90's here in STL.