29 April 2010

All That Glitters etc etc

It was my turn to take the kids down to the bus stop this morning but no sooner had we left the house, we found the road blocked by a rubbish collection lorry which had itself become blocked in road works we have in the lane at the moment. We were behind him as he tried to force his way through the rather small gap between someone’s wall and the ditch dug by the electricity company. Needless to say, he got horribly stuck.

I didn’t have to say anything to Guy and Kitty. We did a u-turn and went the long way to round another bus stop. We knew what would happen. The Frenchies would sit there for a couple of minutes trying to work out what had gone wrong. Then they’d get their coffees out and have another discussion. Then they’d phone the office for instructions. By that time it would be the designated hour for lunch and they’d all get out of the cab and have a two hour lunch by the roadside and so on etc etc.

When I got back, I made my breakfast and then watched some early news. Greece was all over the airwaves. The country is bankrupt as I wrote in a blog a few weeks ago. http://tomsfrenchblog.blogspot.com/2010/03/greece-think-it-doesnt-affect-you.html

Their government IOUs have been reduced to ‘junk’ status which means that if you buy them, there’s a 99% chance you won’t be paid back and this is causing havoc with the financial markets. In turn, this is making life for a raging capitalist like me, very interesting.

I was all ready to change some of my UK pension money into Euros because my view is that with a hung parliament a virtual certainty, the Pound will fall but because Greece is bankrupt, and with Portugal and Spain also in serious trouble, the Euro is actually falling. What’s a boy to do? In times of financial uncertainty buy gold – so I bought some, well more precisely, some shares in an African gold mining company. J was delighted! Never one to miss a trick, within a nano-second she was asking if there were any shareholder perks!

Quite coincidentally, J had been summoned to see the bank manager so I said I’d drop her there whilst I went to the council tip to empty my trailer of garden rubbish. Whilst I filled one of their skips with all sorts of garden greenery which was, by now, all brownery, I noticed that the man who runs the place was nowhere to be seen. Now this guy and I have had a few run-ins in the past. You see, they have a wood skip and I just can’t resist climbing into it and filling my empty trailer with great burning stuff. In past encounters he’s stormed up to me and demanded I return ‘his’ wood to which I have responded, ‘if you want the wood back, you empty the trailer’. He’s then stormed off but then he’s all smiles when I next turn up at the tip with an old bike or cooker or something which he thinks he can repair!

Anyway, with him nowhere to be seen, I decided that I would clean my trailer with his hose and then fill it with wood. I turned the hose on and picked it up and it was absolutely full of holes. I was soaked through! I reckon it was a deliberate trap. I might have looked like a drowned rat but I did get a load of wood!

Back to the village to pick up J who I assumed was going to be in tears after being given a good slapping by the bank manager for using the bank’s vast reserves of red ink on her statements but no, there she was, smiling happily on the pavement a baguette in each hand.

‘What happened’, I said. ‘Oh – he was tearing a strip off me about my lack of financial discipline but when I told him that my husband owned an African gold mine, he cheered up considerably’! Cute eh?

The afternoon was looking like it was going to be a nice quiet interlude in my otherwise hectic lifestyle but I forgot it was the kids half day which meant no peace whatsoever.

After a lunch of BBQ’d spicy French sausages and fresh baguettes, I locked the kids in the cellar and sat down to watch the lunchtime news . Oh what a story. Gordon Brown, off camera but still with a microphone on, had called an old aged pensioner a ‘bigoted woman.’ Well all hell broke loose and the story is still rolling. I could not contain my glee. Some commentators are likening his gaffe to that of Neil Kinnock who fell into the sea in 1983 whilst trying to appear ‘normal’. See it here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jh8ktNsie0I.

They reckon that stunt finished Kinnock’s chances of ever becoming Prime Minister and ‘Bigotgate’ could signal the end of Prime Mentalist Broon. Whatever – it’s been a funny old day, especially when later in the afternoon, after chatting with his mother, Guy sidled up to me and said, ‘Thomas – do you really own a gold mine?’

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