the French way


Boite aux lettres dans les buches
Image by jacme31 via Flickr

The French do have a funny way of working. Most of the time they’re more friendly than the global opinion suggests. And some times not.

We bought the mill in March 2009 from a French doctor who lives 30 kilometers in the nearby city of Rethel. The family used to use the mill only as a summer get-away. Therefore it was not insulated nor decorated. And it had no mailbox.

With the first mail was a handwritten note requesting a mailbox. The previous owner never received any mail at the Ruelle de la Fontaine (Spring Alley). The note, written on the back of a letter, was stuck between the shutters. We thought it was so sweet that we bought a typical French boîte aux lettre the very next day and fixed it at the side of the fence.

When we picked up this weeks mail there was a new and very official letter from the main postoffice in Attigny. With some help of a dictionary we were able to translate the meaning: our brand new mailbox was too far from the public road. With the rain and snow of the past weeks the postman probably got sick and tired of getting his shoes dirty. There’s not much we can do though. The fence IS the official border of our land. The mail box is fixed exactly on that border. We guess they think that the dirt road to the mill is private property. It sure looks like it.

The down side of this story is that we have to write a letter to the postoffice of Attigny to explain the situation:

Cher monsieur Facteur,

Dans votre lettre d’entre vous nous demande de mettre notre boîte aux lettres sur le côté de la voie publique (D30). Nous sommes au regret de vous dire que ce n’est pas possible. Cette pays n’est pas la nôtre. Sur une précédente demande par l’un de vos facteurs, nous avons installé la boîte aux lettres à la frontière officielle de notre pays aussi proche que possible de la clôture.

La route humide et sale, va bientôt être beaucoup mieux après la rénovation de l’usine est terminée. Nous espérons continuer à recevoir du courrier à la Ruelle de la Fontaine.

Merci,

Marco de Boer / Hugo Kalf

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