The stereo type we are presented with, by 'the media'?....is coffee drinking, militant, work shy sorts. Over the last few weeks I have started my move to France ( back and forth for a month or two, things to sort), anyway; SAUR water for our area, went in the office in Objat with no appointment, half an hour later a very helpful French lady had us booked in to turn on the water. Within 1 day. EDF, I think about a weeks notice, arranged a day and a time between 1.30 and 3.30. Turned up at 3.30 on said day. New meter. No fuss. Walked up to village and introduced myself to the Mairie. Came away with information pack for bin collections, times of day and week when acceptable to make noise. New neighbours talk to you, already know more people in the space of a week than i did after 1 year at last home. Bought a car. Garage and salesman mega helpful, beyond 'just getting a sale'. So far, very efficient. Oh, Credit Agricole (Britlline, ahem). Speak perfect English, staff sound like they come from various European countries, including UK. Easily sorted car insurance with them. None of the farce I seem to get in UK at times. I arrived, expecting much worse, so far proving to be more reliable and better communications than home!!