Monday, October 18, 2010

The National Pastime

En grève. On strike.

It's the French national pastime. I'm not being smart - they will tell you this all the time, usually with an eye roll and a goofy shrug.


Readers living in France know what I'm talking about, but for those overseas you may not know that France is in the grip of some hefty strike action at the moment.


Why? Well, the French retirement system, amongst other things, is sending the country broke. To help rectify this President Sarkozy announced that the national retirement age will rise from 60 to 62, and the eligibility age for a government pension will rise from 65 to 67. Folks are not happy.


It's odd because all the people I've spoken to about it agree the retirement system needs to be fixed, but no one wants it to happen on their shift. There have been considerable transport strikes (airports and the rail system) which have been a pain in the derrière for those going about their daily business. The mister needs to get to Paris today for work but only 1 in 4 TGVs are operating. Not to mention whether he will be able to get home again on Tuesday.


French truck drivers have also joined the strike. They participate by driving in slow convoy down the national highways, causing massive traffic jams that infuriate the very people they are trying to help - regular punters. I must admit I have trouble with the logic behind this one.


But the strikers have have done well this time, they are hitting the country where it hurts. Oil refinery workers have been on strike almost two weeks and workers are blockading the fuel depots (where fuel stockpiles are kept). This teamed with panic buying means fuel shortages. There is no fuel left in our town, or in Aix I have heard. I can't drive around and verify this as I only have 68km left in my tank. After this, if the strike hasn't resolved, I am walking the kids to and from school. Sadly for the mister, he still has enough fuel in his car to get to work for a good 10 days.


This is all very strange to me - the only thing I can equate it to is the Stevedore strike we had in 1998. It was inconvenient for some, but nothing on this level. We won't be going anywhere next weekend (and really we shouldn't have gone to Cassis on the Saturday just gone either) unless we can get some fuel. Things are starting to grind to a halt, it will be interesting to see how the government reacts.


Do you like the cushion panels I made from some of my US spoils? I love the colours, but haven't yet sewn them together as I strongly believe white piping is required for this pillow to attain its full potential.


The picture below shows all the piping I have left. And I can't seem to find anything suitable online in France, the few I've found on eBay are all too thin.


There is a store in Aix that has exactly the piping I need to finish my cushion. But I can't drive there because I don't have enough fuel in the car.

Sh*t just got real, y'all. 

When a girl can't drive herself down to Eurodif for some chunky white piping, something needs to be done.


I'm just not sure what, yet. 

P.S. Don't look too close at my zipper stitching. My zipper foot and I had a nasty fight and obviously I lost. 


Sarah - Red Gingham said...

Do you have any white fabric and some cord you could make some with? It's very easy, you could even cut up a pillowcase if you get desperate! I do love your cushion very much.

Even over here in NZ we have heard much about your strike. I remember being in France years ago and there was an ambulance stike I think. All the motorway ramps were blocked and we had a baby screaming in the back the whole time. Oh so much fun!

Selina said...

Well, I hadn't heard anything about the strikes. All we've been hearing about here is the rescued Chilean miners.

The white piping is the perfect thing for those cushions, I couldn't imagine having to wait for fuel to get the piping to finish it! Mon dieu!

Sara Louise said...

I've had it up to my eyeballs with the strike! I live in a very isolated area and petrol stations closest to us (25km) are already out of petrol! If I get stuck on top of this mountain I'm going to freak right out!

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