This week's throwback Thursday takes us back nine years, with a post from 21 December 2008
I’m going to start with a few snowy pictures. The week started very cold, the snow hanging around until Friday.
The thaw actually started on Thursday but there was still quite a lot of snow around – on Thursday morning it was still crisp underfoot – rather like stepping on stiff meringue. Flash hated it – in truth, he was scared of it; afraid to walk on an unpredictable surface. At one point he had made his way to the wall of Pierre’s woodshed in our front garden, where the heavy ivy growth gave shelter and left the ground clear. Having made it there, Flash was then afraid to walk across the snow and we had to clear a path for him!
The birds made good use of the food we put out, although the latest batch of mixed seed we bought from Gam’ Vert for half what we pay in the supermarkets seems not to be as much to their liking as the stuff we had been giving them.
Hobie had another nasty turn in the week, serious weakness and obvious pain in his hips. We were keeping a close eye on him and doing everything we could to make him comfortable but, at the French class on Thursday afternoon, I told teach (in my very best French, of course) that if he had another bad night, we would take him to see the vet on Friday morning and there was a strong possibility we would be coming back without him. This has been a very difficult time for Clare, whose empathy with the animals is of a different kind than mine. I tend to look at these situations relatively dispassionately and look for best outcomes, my main interest being to make sure that the animals don’t suffer anything if we are able to prevent it. Clare feels their pain with them. That is a lot harder.
When I got back from French class on Thursday, Clare had already left for hers. There was a nice fire in the wood burner, and Hobie seemed to be improved. He is now about the same as he has been for some months – old, weak, blind and deaf but, as far as I can tell, relatively pain-free.
This week saw our last French classes and our last Dance class of the year. We are now off classes until 8th January (the day before Tania’s birthday). I am still pushing on, albeit gently, with the TESOL stuff and, when my elbow stops hurting (probably from too much tennis on the Wii) I shall pick up my fiddle again. Sadly it is out of the question just at the moment – if it hurts me to play, I shall not want to try and the fiddle will spend the rest of its days shut in its case. Not the plan at all!
I know I said it on Facebook, but it bears saying again. RACHEL WAS ROBBED! We started watching Strictly Come Dancing half way through, mostly as a motivational thing in relation to the dance classes we are taking, but we soon found ourselves ,to the stock phrases we hear from our teacher – phrases such as “petit pas; pas chassé; longue, vite, vite, longue and cavaliers à gauche, cavalières à droit, and NE SAUTEZ PAS“. Mind you, what the Strictly stars have been doing bears little relationship to what we have been doing, neither do their 40+ hours of training per week bear any relation ship to our 75 minutes! Even so, Rachel is a better dancer than Tom, and it is a pity that the result reflected more the relative popularity of Holby City and S Club 7 than the skill of the dancers. Rant over.
As part of the drive to modernise the economy, the French Government is introducing a new scheme that will make it easier for people to work on their own account. So far the administration has been quite onerous and the costs quite high. I know of a number of people who would prefer to be employed rather than run their own small businesses. From January 1st 2009 a new category of auto-entrepreneur will be available for people who wish to be self-employed, including those who already have a full-time job, are students, retired or otherwise economically inactive. It addresses a number of needs, including people who have a job – let’s say an employed builder who wants to do some work on the side – people at school who may be making money on eBay, or people who are retired and doing some web work on the side. It will allow this to happen within the framework of the law, and taxes and social charges can be paid. More than that, they can be paid monthly, based on a simple declaration of the previous month’s income. No income in any month results in a nil declaration and no taxes or social charges. The upper turnover limits for this status are the same as for a micro-entreprise and are, essentially, the VAT threshold.
I am geared up to make my application on the first. I shall apply as an IT/Internet Consultant and, subject to successful completion of the course, add English Teacher later.
Speaking of work – the people for whom I am doing web sites in France are suffering at present – Kim’s estate agency business has the same issues as estate agents throughout western Europe and Annie’s B&B business is not enjoying the effect the exchange rate is having on her bookings! The new site for the Réseau Rural will step up a gear after the beginning of January but, in the meantime, the Trust is keeping me busy with the reworking of their site. We are aiming to go live on 1st January, and I think most people will like it.