Oops! They did it again!
Just finished my monthly stint in Grenoble and am on the train back to Paris. Not got much further to go and at 20.20 it is still light outside, whereas the last time I took the train, in early February it was dark when I left Grenoble at 18.05.
This month, the forsythia had died and the blossom was out. However, it was even colder and greyer and wetter than last month, so I can say that the best weather I have had so far was indeed in February (much like in Holland). The summer birds had arrived and I was accompanied just outside the office by a pair of black redstarts, which are a perverse sort of bird which seems to like building sites and industrial estates. They are not as pretty as the normal redstarts, which are more often to be found in woods and are therefore less likely to be seen, at least by office workers such as myself.
I would like to say that I was thrilled to see my first swallows darting around just above the mighty River Rhone, but it was such a miserable day, they just looked out of place. It is much better to see your first swallows when going for a walk on a bright warmish spring day and see them coming in low over a field of wheat, or something like that…
It was disappointing but fairly inevitable that I did not manage to quite finish my work, as in the last hour or two I had problems with my connections. This was after I managed to have a row with the external auditor and even walked away from him in disgust within just a few minutes of meeting him for the first time. He had called me away from my work to show me how the accounts were in such a mess and how badly our accountant(s) had done their work. Well, what he showed me is that he had re-performed their work and had found a small difference on one particular account and told me that all the accounts were like this. I said I was not concerned with small differences and I did not need him to re-do work which had already been done. His job was to se if the accounts gave a true and fair view and only be interested in material differences.
He told me that (all) the accounts were false, at which point, albeit it might have been a language problem on his side, I just walked out…. which was quite a Frenchie thing to do, not what you’d expect from an Englishman. I know he is trying to create as much work for himself so he can charge the company as much as he can and was therefore keen to find as many ‘mistakes’ as possible. Whereas I want to keep the costs down and want him to do his work like every other professional auditor.
I was later told that ‘this is the Frnech way’, to re-do and correct every little error – but I have been around long enough to know that this is nonsense and that French auditors can quite eqsily do their work the same way as auditors in other countries… However, not sure how I left it, apart from the fact that I have made yet another enemy – and just when I thought I was getting on so much better with the French. Oh well.
Anyway, I have another night at my favourite haunt at the Palace Hotel in Rue Bouchardon and then I catch the early train back to the Netherlands where we are promised two mild and sunny days. Seems odd to be going north to pick up the better weather. Time to put an order in for that garden furniture we had been looking at.
P.S. In Paris, I looked round for a place to eat which was showing the Liverpool-Arsenal match, but ended up in a bar having a beer or two, watching the very exciting end to the match. Very disappointing for Arsenal, but what a team that Liverpool is when it comes to the Champions League! Well done and I hope you go all the way this time.