The village news flyer “L’Echo des Copons” which comprises dry and deadly boring reports of riveting administrative details dressed up in posh French official-speak, had TWO human interest stories this week which caught my eye.
The first reported that due to the unusually dry spell we are, much to the shame of this fiercely independent village, having to pump water up from the… lake. This lake water has a different Ph balance to that of the river detaching the limescale and rust from old pipes which is “provoquant une coloration brunâtre”. That’s rusty to you and me. Those in this predicament are advised to purge the conduites. That’s let it run to those of us in the real world, the subtext being get new pipes fitted.
The second reported on the number (many) of villagers falling for internet scams and giving away their passwords: Vache, Edelweiss, Mont Blanc, Hirondelle, Marguerite, willy nilly. Imagine their surprise when they find they have a (fake) rental contract on an apartment and/or have purchased a (bogus) luxury car. According to the posh Echo writer these scams originate in far away lands such as Africa and, er hum, Angleterre.
Using the passwords the scammers then hack into the victims’ address books and pretend to be Farmer X, stuck in a foreign country desperate for money. As many of the older villagers, whom I imagine are the victims of this escroquerie, have rarely, if ever, ventured as far as Geneva, this last one would be highly unlikely to convince anyone. Picture the scene an elderly couple seated around dining room table,
“I received an email from my brother Henri today.”
“Il est en Afrique!”
“Afrique! Ce n’est pas Henri. Passe moi le beurre.” (Pass the butter)
I do like to think though that having already paid for their (bogus) apartments they would be enraged enough to actually get on a plane to say Namibia or maybe even further afield to far flung Angleterre (the writer must have once taken Easyjet to Gatwick)- as long as it doesn’t clash with the male voice choir outings, bien sûr – to claim what is rightly theirs.
It would make a great screen play: Retired Swiss farmers wearing obligatory day wear of blue overalls accompanied by wives in aprons carrying Queen Mother handbags full of Gruyère and Kirsch board flight in Geneva and arrive much later in far away place brandishing wooden sticks usually used for cow herding, to resolve the issue the old-fashioned way.