On May 23rd, following an urgent phone call from my sister-in-law to say that my youngest brother was nearing the very end of his life. naturally we set off immediately for southern France, arriving there the following afternoon and I was able to see my brother twice before he died on the Monday.
The funeral followed on Saturday afternoon and so we set off for home early on Sunday morning. Fifteen minutes down the road, the car broke down and clearly could not be repaired at the roadside, so I rang our Spanish insurers. The guy who picked up our call was absolutely fantastic. Within an hour and a half a breakdown truck arrived and delivered us to a garage in Beziers. From there, he organised a taxi to the local railway station where he had arranged a train journey to Figueres in northern Spain. During the train journey, he rang back to say that a taxi would be waiting at Figueres to take us 70km to Girona airport, where a hire car had been booked with Hertz. The outcome was that we drove into the village just after 7 pm on the Monday, just about the time I had expected to get home had we not broken down.
If only the same could be said for the car! The company commits itself to picking up a vehicle from anywhere in mainland Spain and delivering it to the garage of your choice within a maximum of five days. If you break down outside Spain, they make no promises at all other than to get your car to your repairer 'some time'. Which in our case means that three and a half weeks later the car has still not arrived and the company is unable or unwilling to tell us when it will arrive. And when I demand to know why this state of affairs arises, cutting through all the polite obfuscations, the message is "Because it does."
So I continue to wait in the diminishing hope that the car will be repaired and available to us in early July when we are setting off for the UK as part of a house swap with each of our daughters. If we don't know by Friday (the day after tomorrow) whether we will have the car or not, we shall have to cancel hotels and ferry crossings, and buy - at very short notice, in high season - air tickets to the UK and car hire in the UK.
Thus, this is not paradise, whatever my previous postings may have suggested. But it's pretty close to it, and I'm sure that in the fullness of time, I shall look back on this episode with a much more relaxed attitude.