20 October 2010

No quick fix

The French prime minister, François Fillon, says it will take four or five days to get the fuel supply situation back to normal. Now there are reports that at least a third of the filling stations in France are short on fuel, if not entirely out. Diesel seems to be the hardest to find..

Overnight, three fuel storage depots, one in Le Mans, another at La Rochelle, and the third down at the mouth of the Loire River, west of Nantes, were retaken by police, ending blockades set up by workers and union members. At the same time, France 2 news is reporting that strikers removed by force from the blockades out at Donges, near Nantes, have set up barricades blocking the roads leading into the fuel depot if an effort to keep tanker trucks away. It's not over until it's over, I guess.

Polls this morning indicate that 80% of the people would like the government to re-open negotiations with the labor unions on the question of retirement pension reforms. It remains to be seen whether President Sarkozy will be swayed by such polls, or whether he and his cabinet will maintain their hard-line position that it's too late to start further negotiations.

When it's chilly outside and the gas lines are long,
an old man's thoughts inevitably turn to lunch.

Broccoli stir-fried with garlic and tomates confites.

The strike has entered that delicate phase where positions are hardening and troublemakers are starting to make their presence felt. Meanwhile, the Toussaint — All Saints' Day — school vacations begin Friday, so people are going to be eager to get back to their normal lives. That includes the strikers, the demonstrators, and the people who are being inconvenienced by the fuel shortages. The logjam will break soon, and if the government holds out, it will get its way.

On a slightly different subject, today is the fifth anniversary of my first blog post on Living the Life in Saint-Aignan. I can't decide whether to go on strike and demand retirement benefits, or to just go with the flow. I'll be 62 soon anyway, so I'll qualify for reduced benefits no matter what. And if I keep working, at least I can WAH, as we used to say in Silicon Valley. That's "Work At Home."


  1. Congratulations ... and keep up the good work! :)
    'WAH', now that is something I would like to do. But unfortunately it's 'not encouraged', as they like to say. But then why did they recently replace my perfectly good desktop by a brand-new laptop?! Martine

  2. 5 years and quarter of a million visits - and auspicious occasion indeed.

  3. Hey there Ken..

    First Happy Blogaversary.. YAY!!!

    Okay, so at 62 in France, can you retire here if you are 'already' retired.. HAHA!! I like your take on that!! I think you should definitely WAH because there's always more work to do AH!
    Keep on blogging-- I say-- that's a big job and we LOVE to see the outcome!
    Happy day to you guys!

  4. I don't think our friend K., who lives down the road from us, will mind if I quote an e-mail she sent me yesterday afternoon:

    "...the Intermarché in Noyers didn't have much of a line for petrol when we drove out this morning at about 09:30, and they were only slightly busier when we passed this afternoon.

    "Tours was not so lucky - almost every station we passed: Carrefour, Auchan, Total, etc, were either completely closed or had no price posted for diesel, so we presumed them to be out.

    "There was one lone station on Grand Ave Sud that was open and the line stretched along the 3rd lane of traffic on the route.

    "I don't know if it was a function of the shortages of petrol, the day of the week or a result of the demonstrations, but most of the places we stopped were very quiet. I've never seen the parking lot at Leroy Merlin so empty.

    "The demonstration this morning in Tours was quite calm. It had started at 10:00 and by the time we finished with our appointment at around 11:15 they had progressed up Gramont, past Place Jean-Jaures, and were in the pedestrian area around Galeries Lafayette.

    "There was singing, a bit of loudspeaker chanting and even a few families with small children in the mix. It looked like everyone was having a good time and there was none of that rabid ranting that the television news seems to capture."

  5. Congratulations on nearly 62 years young and 5 years of your blog. Thank you so very much for your reports on the strikes. I have my dearest friend due to fly out to me in Australia from France next week and we are keeping our fingers crossed.

  6. Well, writing this blog IS work and all of us regular readers appreciate it very much. We wouldn't want you to take early retirement. Happy next 5 years!!

  7. I'm glad you started your blog, and I ran across it, and therefore you, again :))

    Crazy stuff going on over there!


  8. Just like everybody else, I'll say happy anniversary. But don't work too hard it's bad for your health.

  9. Five years with your blog have been a joy- WAH is great, non? Thanks for keeping us in touch with our French inner selves and making some new friends, too!

    Verification is 'sessess" which I take to mean a toast to your success! Merci bien for all the good you do for us in print and photos.

  10. I think the strikers need to wake up and realize that unless something is done soon, there won't be a pension to strike about.

  11. 5 years - congrats! We all appreciate your hard work. Perhaps this calls for a bit of bubbly to celebrate.....

  12. A toast to a great 5 years of blogging.

  13. Five years is a long time in one job, especially one that only pays in visits, comments, and friendship. What a minute? What am I saying? You have a job where you can work at your own pace, write about whatever pleases you that day, show off some photos, and collect the accolades of people who love and appreciate your work. People who actually read what you write. Sounds pretty nice, come to think of it.

    Here's to another half-decade of blogging (raises imaginary glass of bubbly in toast).

    One of your adoring readers,



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