Saturday, 29 September 2012

One cannot get lost here!

When finally, after having been for sale for a couple of years, the restaurant “Aux Berges de la Grosne” along the D981 was sold to Wolfgang Schmidberger, who turned it into a pub “Le Papyllon” serving special beers, we saw with great amusement and amazement how the signs with the name of the pub seemed to multiply themselves. It started off with a blackboard showing in chalk the opening hours. Slowly more signs appeared, telling what he sold, showing the opening hours, guiding people to the parking and the entrance, etc.

All signs were enamelled, colourful and all located on his territory, hence fixed with bolts to the walls of his property or put on poles in his garden, parking area and terrace. In a word, once you have found Le Papyllon, there is no way to miss it anymore!
How successful a pub specialised in foreign beers can be in an area where even the dentist asks you to rinse your mouth out with a Mâcon Village, is a good question. My experience with this pub is, that on one of the two occasions I sat down there to have a special beer the owner brought me a beer I had not ordered.
He sells (his words) 100 different beers, price range over € 5.00 a bottle. His excuse? The brand I ordered and the brand I got stood next to each other in the fridge. And was I finally offered the beer I ordered?

No, he took € 0.10 off the bill, because the beer I got was that much cheaper than the one I had ordered.
The pub, or better the owner, has another minus point. He does not really get many customers, and it seems that he cannot stand being alone. Hence whenever clients come in and sit down at the table, he joins them at the table and in their conversation. That maybe fun if you know the guy well and if you really like him, but if you want to sit down quietly with your partner to enjoy some peace and quiet with a special beer, this is not really what you want.
His attitude was extensively discussed during a meeting of the guitar festival in Cormatin, where more than one present there came up with the same experience.
What is a blog without statistics?

Photo 1 : sign on the Voie Verte inviting cyclists to stop here.
Photo 2 : sign at the entrance of the parking area.
Photo 3 : three signs visible from the main road and from the parking area.
Photo 4 : three other signs visible from the main road.
Photo 5 : four signs along the main road and on the door; the three signs fixed to the pole were installed in 3 phases. First the middle one, then the top one and the bottom one came last.
Summarising: Wolfgang obviously thinks that he needs twelve (12) signs to attract his beer drinkers!
The overabundance of signs around Le Papyllon invites me to pass by there as soon as possible...

One cannot be accurate enough. When recently we returned from some friends we approached Le Papyllon from a different direction. And lo and behold, Wolfgang had managed to mount another small sign on the back of a big one that was already there! And that gives us :
Photo 6 : small sign fixed on the back of the one on photo 2.
This brings us to a grand total (for the time being?) of 13...

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Saturday, 1 September 2012

My money-off voucher

When we came to live here, I had to register myself as a job-seeker with the French equivalent of the Job-centre. I had been registered as such with the Dutch authorities, who refused to see that someone of about 60 did not stand much chances in finding a job in his trade as qualified engineer for a salary far above the minimum wage. However, rules are rules in the Netherlands and if I did not apply for a job at least 4 times a month I would loose my unemployment benefit. The lady who dealt with me in Mâcon made it very clear to me that she perfectly understood that a foreigner of 60 years old, speaking pidgin French in a country where the retirement age at the time was still 60 was not high on the wanted list of the few employers around here offering the specialised work I did in the past.
She struck a deal with me, and registered me as “looking for work, with dispensation to actively apply for a job”. There was no money involved; I simply had to wait till my pensions from the Netherlands started rolling in.
What I received however was a piece of paper we referred to as my “money-off voucher”. This piece of paper enabled me to enter museums free of charge or at a reduced price, gave me a nice reduction on the price of the cinema in Cluny, etc. In a word, this piece of paper was worth its weight in platinum.
Recently my voucher expired, because indeed money was coming in from the Netherlands. Of course one has to inform the French authorities (Assedic, now Pôle-emploi) of this sad event, which I dutifully did. But it certainly hurts, having to pay full fare for Cluny abbey and getting a mediocre reduction for pensioners in stead of the royal reduction for “Chercheurs d’emploi”.
The voucher can easily be Photoshopped to give it another year, but I have not lived 65 years in relative honesty to became a hardened criminal at 65...

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