Monday, 31 May 2010

The invoice requesting payment by cheque in your grubby little hands.

I woke up this morning with a deep sense of foreboding. Today was the last day to get our tax return in and I was ill prepared and now in a state of shock. We had to wait for Mike's P60 to come from the UK and when it did I was not in an ambidextrous state of mind and played ostriches hoping the form would fill itself and the nasty French tax man would go away but we were now up against it so I had to make that call putting on my worst English accent to plead for help. There was nothing for it but to skip breakfast and try to get first in the queue as I presumed we would not be the only inadequate imbeciles needing help. As we drove up I could see a steady stream of people traipsing in and out of the tax office and feared the worst that we would be there all day. To my astonishment we were second in the queue, and at our turn we were gently smiled at and referred to the personal touch department, where we were welcomed with open arms and handshakes, our details checked and cross referenced on the computer, the p60's checked and amounts calculated into euros then there were more friendly smiles hand shakes and the sincere wish that we had a rest of a good day. I have no idea why I should have thought our tax return would have been a problem, I recollect last year was just as lovely and cuddly an experience, so role on next year but I promise not to leave it so, last minute.
We seem to have lost a cat, our baby who celebrates her first birthday tomorrow is nowhere to be seen and Genevievre who came to see to the hens while we were away commented she had only seen one cat. I am sad and upset and have walked around the field several times pretending to walk HOSS but really looking out for my little poppet, let's hope she's just gone walk about.
A couple of months ago I got a fast flowing phone call from Orange to say that I would save money if I put my France Telecom phone with them. Save money ...that sounds good, so I went through the ordeal of contracts and direct debit forms and all the bureaucracy that accompanies any change here. I was therefore confused when an invoice came last week inviting me to pay by cheque before the 27th May despite the fact that it only arrived on the 26th. However the point is that I filled in a direct debit form and needed to check that a direct debit was in force. It took three phone calls and when I did get through sure enough there was an agreement set up and I was advised not to pay by cheque as the money would be taken from our bank account. The reason for this story is that last year my Butagaz bill of one thousand euros came in the form of an invoice which also invited me to pay by cheque, I thought I had a direct debit set up with Butagaz but guessed it had run out and dutifully sent a large and expensive cheque by return post. I did my accounts a week later and found I was one thousand euros adrift, not only had Butagaz taken the amount through the direct debit which I thought was defunct but they also cashed the cheque and it took me three weeks to get my grand back into the bank. The moral of the story once again is, to be french you have to practise your telepathy, and know that your direct debit is live despite the invoice requesting payment by cheque in your grubby little hands.

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