Thankfully, the severe gales over the weekend didn't really get as far as Montpellier. We had strong gusts as I noticed on Saturday during my fruitless bicycle pursuit but nothing compared to the 160kmp/hr winds further west.
As a result of the gales, thousands of homes are without electricity. In January. Trees brought down lines and it'll take several days before the current can be switched on again. What a nightmare that must be! Everything now works with electricity. Even gas central heating. The only people who are warm are those with oil-filled portable fires.
If it were me, I'd be freezing already having no alternative heating, or more likely, I'd have jumped in the car and driven off to squat with friends, or the train for an impromptu few days in the UK. Providing I could drive out of the village, that is. One of the main problems facing the south west is the blocked access of roads due to fallen trees. The army was out today with chain saws cutting their way through and clearing branches and trunks.
It beggars the question though, why doesn't EDF bury electricity lines? It seems entirely unreasonable that in a developed country like France people are at the mercy of a bit of wind which forces them to endure winter temperatures without heating for days on end.
It would indeed require investment, but then high speed broadband wires are being laid all over the country, so why can't electricity lines be laid too? They would no longer be at the mercy of the weather, and France doesn't have an earthquake problem, so it makes perfect sense. It would also be a lot less unsightly. Remember the comment made by the director of 'La Gloire de mon Pere' (was it?) (Claude Berry) who said he wanted the first shot to be of the Marseillais garrigue in a 360° panorama and it took them ages to find a spot that wasn't blighted by electricity pylons.
It should be a priority to get the cables buried, and reduce the risk of a whole region being brought to a standstill because they have no juice. Get the EDF chiefs to experience being without their precious resource for a week or so in freezing temperatures and I can guarantee that they'd start digging with their bare hands if that's what it took to get things moving!
They've made us totally dependent, now they have to assume their responsibilities to keep us juiced up!