Sunday, October 3, 1999

03/10/99 Autumn Blues

A lovely autumn day here: started off grey and raining, kept it up through lunchtime and on into the afternoon, and as I write it's still going strong, grey and raining. The stream is up, and a dismal air of dampness is around. Mind you, that's most Sunday afternoons.

Not that things were helped by last night's little effort. As usual on a Saturday, Jeremy popped in to see Sophie and Renaud on our way back from the market and stayed on for lunch, and as we were leaving Sophie suggested we stop by that evening for a little apéro - not dinner, she was too tired, just drinkies. So we went home and I went down and cleared out the cellar where the fuel-oil tank is going to go and made a bonfire with useless old bits of wood and did our little bit of shopping and then we got our glad-rags on and went back to Sophie and Renaud's, bearing a bottle of hydromel as our contribution.

We got there about 19:30 to find Bruno Fontanel and his wife Patty there as well, and they'd bought two bottles of Bordeaux, and Renaud had opened a bottle of his extremely strong Swiss white, and when we'd finished the apéritif it was after midnight, we'd written off all the bottles and were on to the vodka that Sophie had hidden away in the broom cupboard. Jeremy and Lucas and Thibaud were still happily playing upstairs (Rémi had crashed some time earlier) but the grownups were rather written-off and decided to call it a night. It made getting up this morning a bit of a chore - especially as Jeremy crept into bed with me about 8, but happily went back to sleep - without wriggling, thank God - and we managed to grab another two hours of sleep before getting up, blearily getting a baguette for breakfast (with lots of coffee) then making a tart and heading off to see Hervé and Jocelyn for lunch. Drank Perrier.

Right now Jeremy is busy vacuuming the playroom. He keeps saying that he really wants to help, so that I don't have to do things. Quite sweet - it'd be even better if he were actually capable of doing what he tries to do. Mind you, there's not too much that can go wrong with a vacuum cleaner, except perhaps my having to open it up and pull Jeremy out of the bag.

At least we've had a couple of fine days this week so the vendanges have finished. Unfortunately it was the whites that got left on the vine while it rained, so with the first fineish day everyone was out hurriedly getting them in before they rotted. They're still promising a good year: we'll have to see. I really must take the time next year to go down south to Courthezon and Orange to pick up some more Chateuaneuf-du-Pape now that we have a bit of spare cash: the stocks are running low and the oldest bottles I have down in the cellar date from 86, and at 13 years old they really need drinking so I shall have to replace them. Maybe in Spring I'll find the time to take a couple of days off.

As far as I know the world hasn't ended: can't be sure, as I haven't watched TV for a month or so (no time) and I may have missed it. It seems that Jospin is trying to shore up his socialist credentials by talking tough about new laws punishing businesses that make a profit and yet lay workers off: I doubt it'll come to much, he's playing to the gallery. At least in the last budget the 10% surcharge on the ridiculously high company profit tax of 33% is to be removed, which will knock 4% off what Upstart has to pay at the end of each financial year.

Unfortunately the tax loophole whereby I got reimbursed the difference between what I actually owed in tax and the tax credit from our dividends (on which Upstart had already paid tax) comes to an end, so I can no longer look forward to a nice 15000F cheque in the mail every August. Bit of a shame. It's now in my interest to pay myself a bit more so that I personally owe more tax so as to get some use out of the tax credit, which will also reduce the tax burden on the company. Accountancy is so much fun.
Anyway, I'm going to get an early night tonight, so goodbye and love to you all.


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