Friday 22 June - DELWP, SFR(not), blog, choir practice, Sunbeam, Swiss 2-1

I was up early to send off our responses to the Expert Assessment Panel for the DELWP Grant in Melbourne. Their deadline was 4pm Friday (Melbourne Time) but that translates to 8am Moissac Time, so it was up early to collate feedback from our team in Taggerty, then send it off to ensure it got there in time (which it did).

Since today was the 22nd and our SFR mobile phone contract rolls over each 23rd of the month, we set aside time to go up to the SFR shop and change to some better plans (more capacity, lower price), and not get caught out like we did last year. So in mid-morning we headed up there, only to find that there was no longer an SFR shop in Mossaic, and it had been replaced by a Vivre Mobile outlet. While their sign outside says they are an SFR agent, they said inside that they don't act for SFR, and hence we couldn’t change to the new SFR plan we wanted. But the mobile brand they push (NRJ Mobile) had a similar, somewhat better, plan for the same price so we decided to go with that, since we had no compelling reason to stay with SFR, especially if they no longer had a shop in Moissac. Their customer service was not exactly the friendliest (nothing like our old SRF guy Matthieu) but we thought we would give them a chance for this year at least. But despite having been an SFR account holder for 5 years, having a French bank account, and owning a house in Moissac, they made us jump through all sorts of hoops and hurdles just to get a mobile phone account with them. Twice we had to return to the barge to get more documentation when they decided that what we had given them was not enough. In the end I refused to go back and Rita went by herself, and then they told her there was no way she could get an account with them for some obscure reason.

So my advice to anyone looking to get a mobile phone in France, DON'T go near Vivre Mobile or NRJ. I expect to hear that they have gone into receivership any day now.

We thought of going over the the nearest SFR store in Montauban to do the change-over before the 23rd, but quite frankly we had had enough of mobile phone companies for one day. So we’ll just stick with our current plans for this month, and maybe go to SRF when we are next near one of their shops (and we’re in a better mood!)

I spent the afternoon catching up on this blog, and in the late afternoon Rita went to choir practice with some of her French music friends. That evening I went down to the Sunbeam Cafe to have a drink with a bunch of barging people from the port, and Rita joined me later. We got talking with Greg (on Madeline, another Melbourne-registered boat in port). He had lived in Maldon in north-western Victoria for many years (just north of my daughter who is now in Muckleford), before moving last year to live in St Antonin Noble Val, one of our favourite towns on the River Aveyron about an hour east of Moissac. His career as a mechanical engineer bore some strange similarities to mine as a civil engineer.

After drinks, we wandered back to the barge to follow the World Cup game between Switzerland and Serbia, which the Swiss won 2-1. Several of the Swiss players (originally from Kosova) were lucky to escape suspensions for their goal celebrations against the Serbs, where they made Albanian Eagle animations with their hands over their chests. Somewhat understandable, given the recent history of the region, but uncalled for in a World Cup that is supposed to celebrate sport, not politics. They were each fined €7500, but could easily have got 2 match suspensions for their two goal scorers and the captain. That would have truly stuffed up the team's World Cup plans, and left the Serbs laughing.