Viella Vacances Bed and Breakfast, Viella, Gers

Chambres d'hôtes & Holidays in the Gers close to Madiran, St Mont and Jazz in Marciac, SW France

Everyday Ramblings !

Back to normality - Well, sort of

Posted by holidaysinthegers on February 13, 2009 at 4:57 AM

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Over the next few days, both Michel and I spent much of our time in the village. Michel cutting trees and me letting the English residents know what was happening or not, as the case maybe.  We also called on some of the older more isolated residents to make sure they were ok and take them water in case they needed it.  Most had gone to stay with younger relatives. Those at home invited us in.  In one, we spent a good hour sampling the home made Floc de Gasgone. Very nice it was too, even if my head was spinning afterwards !! The monsieur rarely went out so was glad of the company.  Needless to say, I couldn’t understand much of the conversation. The locals here have a really strong accent and speak a mix of French and patois (a local dialect). 


Water was finally running again Tuesday afternoon.  Yippee !  At least I could flush the loo without having to fill it up again from the well.  I swear I’ll never take water for granted again and will always keep some bottles in, just in case !  It was another full day before electricity was restored. EDF had tried to reconnect the village Tuesday evening, but it kept shorting out as the mobile generator wasn’t big enough. With a 400KW generator installed, the village came out in force to see the switch on.  Fingers crossed and, yes, it worked !!!  Huge round of applause for all.  Was that the end of it ? No ! Only half the village was connected. The power lines on the other side of the village had been too severely damaged and repairs were going to take several more days. So the major organized groups of generators for these houses.  Electricity was finally fully restored the following week. 


It’s amazing how a crisis bring out the best, and worst, in people.  Most villagers were out and about helping each other with offers of food, water and places to stay, but the actions of others, well ……. An example.  There were two houses on the edge of the village still without electricity after 5 days.  The mayor organized for a group of generators to be connected up to supply them whilst repairs were carried out.  The monsieur in one house didn’t want the other one connected up, he wanted the power just for himself. And who lived opposite you may ask? A young woman who lived on her own with three young children. Can you believe that ???  


Being without any utilities for several days really makes you think. After four days of no power, water or phones, the excitement starts to wear off and it becomes hard work.  We were lucky in that we had a well we could use to supply us with water for flushing the loo and washing in and we could use the wood burner to at least heat one room in the house. Others weren’t so lucky. Many villagers rely on electric heating and most don’t have an alternative source of water.  Still, it was an adventure and we proved that we take what Mother Nature chose to throw at us – well, this time anyway !!!       

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