Not, as you might think, the electricity board but french for generator.
Back in May we saw a one day offer in the publicity that arrives every week for a generator that was very good value at the local diy shed. We arrived for opening time and joined a huddle outside the door all watching the uniformed staff that were smoking at another door. Not a queue - this is france after all - but we all knew who was first. A young, smartly dressed man in a smart car arrived just before opening and somehow managed to be first in the queue and into the store first.
We all walk very quickly across the store to where generators would be to find an elderly lady already leaving with one of the staff and the last one and a man with a scrappy pad. Give me your name, address and telephone number, take this copy to the till, pay your money and wait. So, feeling decidedly naive, we pay our money for a generator we haven't seen, they haven't got and don't know when it will arrive. But it's May, how long can it take to get one and we won't need it til the winter when all the storms and power cuts come.
After a couple of months I ring to ask if there is any news of the generators. Coming from China in a container. Probably at end of October. Probably.
Well now it is the end of October and we were in the store (buying some grape vines to go up the new arbour which were, for once, quite reasonably priced). I asked for Frederique who is the man who knows about the generators and the man I asked smirked a bit but found me Fred. I say my piece again and he asks me if I have my receipt. No I say, I just wondered if there was any news. OK he says, I have 4, you can have one but it is a big secret and don't tell anyone!
So we walk out with one of the precious generators. And the ridiculous thing is that I feel honoured that I was one of the chosen ones! I love it. The french have paperwork coming out of their ears on every occasion but just sometimes it's all ok without any of it, just being in the right place at the right time. Sooooo glad we aren't one of the other 10 or so people who aren't going to get one.
AND IT WORKS :-)