Monday 18 January 2016
Cold and wet with torrential showers 5 degrees
The rain was battering the shutters and the rattle of the hinges woke me up to the gloom of the morning. My pillow was cold to the touch and I could hear the dog and OH snoring in the other room.
I lay and was thinking of how to create my button empire when it suddenly occurred to me that I had forgotten to do the VAT return - normally due on the 16th of each month. 20% VAT is included on all of my sales but I can also deduct it from relevant purchases. Consequently, I hoard every little scrap of paper which is possibly deductible. Rifled through my handbag and the pile of post and junk and extracted a wad of receipts and quickly entered them up and filed the return.
OH got up and we had breakfast - me some delicious Lidl Mastercrumble and OH a banana. His middle has grown to alarming proportions and, instead of cutting down on meals later in the day, or wine, or both, he has started to eat a banana for breakfast and be in a bad mood by lunchtime.
Out to meet a client from Paris. The sun came out and the fields were clear, apart from the village where we were meeting. When the air is colder than the water, mist forms. There is a large river near the village and puffs of fog had completely obscured both the road and houses and the church. The lady had managed to find the Mairie so we set off and found the house. The owners had opened up. I could tell, on meeting her, that the property would not be a match. She was very young, Chinese, with beautiful dark almond eyes and sleek coal black hair. She liked the decorative concrete flagged floors. She was entranced by the red squirrel on the larch. She didn't like the rest of it at all and said she preferred the Dordogne so she went one way and I went home to collect dog and meet OH at the rental units.
The oven slotted into the space very nicely but it became immediately apparent that the shelf on which it was sitting was not square. Out came the oven and OH inserted some wooden pegs and we put back in the shelf and the oven and it was now tipping the other way. I was instructed to unscrew the pegs and apparently I am useless and was stripping the threads (sounds like a Folk Dance - come people, let's Strip the Threads') and was dismissed. Decided to walk the dog up a little hill in the middle of town. Nearly sodding killed me. I am so unfit. Dog thrilled and kept on trying to run off.
Back home and new button moulds have arrived - yay!! Gritted my teeth and rang EDF. The last three times I have rung them, they insist the electric meter in the new flat does not exist. This time, the phone was answered by a young guy who, miraculously, found the meter - registered to a different address and we set up an appointment for Friday to get the electric meter opened. That is what I call a result and is something off the long term To Do List.
Dried off the dog and scraped the mud off myself and plastered on some makeup and went to reshow the big chateau. The lane was horrifically muddy with big potholes and the clients were already there. The man looked excited and the woman looked cold but, thank God, they are not French or otherwise they would not have got up the driveway. They would have been sitting back at the entrance, waving their arms like sea anemones and saying 'c'est impassable'. French are total wimps. The owner was late, by which time we were all very muddy, and the clients disappeared into the vastness of the building and I went into the biblioteque and thought of the first time I had come here, just over a year earlier.
It had been the week before Christmas and the owner, a lady in her mid 80's, had welcomed me in and we had drunk coffee from delicate Dresden porcelain and eaten Bavarian Christmas biscuits - golden brown and shaped like little donuts. The fire had roared in the grate and, incongruously, a Star Wars chess set lay on the coffee table, a game half played. Today, the room was dark and chilled. A beady eyed ancestor watched me from his perch above the massive mantlepiece. I sat on a chaise longue and looked at a copy of A Tale of Two Cities.
" It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way
The clock ticked and the owner reappeared and made coffee and somehow, we got onto the subject of the War (he is German). I dont know quite how it happened and I found myself asking how a people as rational as the Germans could have followed Hitler. What was his appeal? The treaty of Versailles was the answer, and austerity, and the desire for change. I repeated this to OH later and he said if the Germans didnt like the Versailles Treaty then they shouldnt have taken us into two World Wars. The owner also said that the French actually always regarded the British as the real enemy and I thought, I bet that was not what the French were thinking when they were overrun and occupied. He then swerved onto the topic of Top Gear, which we both love.
The clients reappeared and said they had to go and would be in touch next week.
Back home and my Whatsapp app on the phone binged and oh bloody, sodding hell, the buyer for the flat has backed out. Remember the one where I worked New Year's Day and the day when I was throwing up? Fan bloody tastic. She doesnt want to pay the bank loan rate and her mate wont lend her the money (after saying he would). Owner majorly hacked off.
Went to bed early. Very tired.