Long weekend back home
We had a fantastic long weekend in Oberlarg. I would have gone on my own but we decided to both fly to Basel. Sheila, our next-door neighbour, offered to look after the dogs so there was nothing to stop us.
After arriving at Basel Airport, we had to pick up the car in Zunzgen (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zunzgen) before driving home. As it was too early to go out for a meal we decided to go to Oberlarg (http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oberlarg) first and then out to have a meal. I phoned Pauline in Seppois (http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seppois-le-Bas), to see if she was doing anything that evening and if not if she fancied going out for a meal with us at the railway station restaurant (http://porrentruy.ch/hotrest/buffet-de-la-gare/) in Porrentruy (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Porrentruy) which is about equidistant for both of us. Alan had never been there but Pauline and I had eaten there twice before and we both liked it. It was a very good meal and very pleasant evening.
The next morning we found out that, even though the radiators were not completely cold, there was something wrong with the boiler. There was no warm water. Alan somehow managed to override the system and as soon as the water was warm enough we had a shower and went shopping for some food. When we arrived at the shop in Ferrette (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ferrette), the parking was empty except for one Swiss car. The driver of the car was standing next to his vehicle and I asked him if he knew why the shop was closed as I had never seen it closed at lunchtime. He did not know either. About 100 meters along the road there is a small shopping centre. There too, all the shops were closed except for the flower shop. I could only see part of a sign, which said TOUS .... At that moment, the penny dropped November 1st: Toussaint (http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toussaint). This meant that everything in France was closed.
We found something to eat at home and after lunch, Alan started sorting out the heating system again. I heard a few nasty swear words so I thought it better not to disturb him or ask any questions and settled down with a book in the not too cold living room. He did not seem to get the system working and gave up in the end, telling me to phone the plumber the next morning. As we were invited in the evening we were not too bothered about not having any heat. As it turned out we could borrow a couple of electric heaters from Jenny and Eric where we were invited that evening.
We had a fantastic evening at Jenny and Eric’s. We were nine people in all and the food, drinks and discussions were up to their normal impressive standards. On the way back home there was one scary moment, when, coming out of the forest on a winding road we saw the blinking lights of a police car and thought it might be a police check. As it turned out somebody had gone through the crash barrier and they were trying to get the car out. When a police officer came to our car, I turned the car window down hoping he would not smell any alcohol. He just told us to drive on.
The next morning I phoned the plumber early and he came around in the afternoon. Thankfully, there was nothing really wrong with the boiler – the electronics were completely mixed up and it did not take him more than 10 minutes to set the system right.
On the Saturday night, we all went to a restaurant in Fischingen, Germany for suckling pig. We had not been there for a few years and really enjoyed the food and of course again the drinks and company. For a good and inexpensive meal out, Germany is the place to go. The Alsace has become pretty expensive, probably because of the close proximity to Switzerland, and Switzerland is just too expensive.
Sunday was a quiet day. Alan did all the work in the garden he wanted to do, i.e. preparing for winter.
Normally I leave my car at my son Mark’s garage in Zunzgen when we leave for a longer period because we can get from Basel airport to Zunzgen and vice versa by public transport. This is not possible in the Alsace. But this time when I went through the mail that had come during our absence I found a letter from the garage telling me that my car had to be MOT’d in October. As we were leaving, again on the Monday Jenny and Eric offered to take us to the airport and the car to the garage, which is in Oltingue, not too far from Hagenthal. When I come back to France in mid December, they will pick me up at the airport and take me to the garage. It is great to have friends who help you when you need it.
The trip back to Denholm was uneventful, except that we could not get through the security check up at Basel airport without giving up a jar of pâté, which somebody in Oberlarg gave us. I told them it was meat and even opened the jar but this was not accepted. Any cream or anything spreadable and more than 100ml cannot be taken in the hand luggage. Alan was furious as he was looking forward to eating this!
We were back home at about 3:30 pm and the dogs were pleased to see us again although Aischa did not recognise us at first when we looked through the car window!