Thursday, 20 September 2007

The English-speaking accountant

(It’s market day today and an eclectic mix of music from the 60s, 70s and 80s is being piped around town through these:

Speakers where you’d expect to find CCTV cameras – if you were English – I’ve yet to see a CCTV camera in this country.)

Next on the list of People To See was an accountant. Or Expert Comptable, as they say in these parts.

I went to the nearest one, on the other side of our lounge wall, and announced our Englishness. That’s fine, the receptionist said smilingly – he speaks English. Come back in half an hour.

We came back, armed with questions about income tax, social security tax, offsetting set-up costs, rates for yurts, expenses, definitions of gîtes versus chambres d’hôte.

“Hello,” he said.

I still don’t know if this is the full extent of his English. But after we explained, in French, what we are going to do, he picked up the phone and spoke to a French-speaking English accountant, and arranged for a meeting in a couple of weeks. (I can see a pattern here...)

In a typically generous gesture, when told about our continued lack of Interweb access, he invited us to use a spare office whenever we want. It has a computer, phone – all that early 20th Century workplace stuff. And once again, we came away wondering at the superbness of small town French life.

(Muzak included.)

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