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Le Nouveau Beaujolais est arrivé!

Thursday November 17

Yes the Beaujolais arrived today. I bought a bottle in the supermarché and drank it with dinner. Pas mal - not bad. Although I can't see what all the fuss is about. Some of the neighbouhood bars have parties tonight to drink the plonk. And one bar I walked past had a band belting out Midnight Oil's "The beds are burning". Bizarre to hear an Aussie cover in Paris.

Today I visited an apartment to buy here in beautiful downtown Paris. It's more or less exackery(stet) what we want. Quiet. Has a nice view over a cemetery. Except, as usual, there's some other fucker in front of us. Who's made an offer (according to the real estate jerk, should I believe him?). I'm sick of this. We've made an offer on four or five apartments here in Paris and we always get gazumped at the death. Even went to the Auctions that the Notaries hold here every month to sell stuff that's repossessed or owing money to the bank. We were bidding on a 70 square metre place in a charming little quartier in the 13th near Butte au Cailles. Had to have a bank cheque drawn up for €45k to be able to take part. They burn a couple of candles while the bidding is underway and when the second one extinguishes the bids are over. We thought we had it. But a Chinese guy jumps in with another €20k and that was the end of that. It's not over then. You have another 10 days to make a higher offer (of at least 10% ) and it goes back to Auction. But that would have meant the place would have cost at least €495K and no way it was worth that. Well...not to me anyway.

Coming back to today. It's different here. The way they do biz. So this time after viewing the latest apartment...the agent asks me if I want to have a drink "prend une verre"?(at midday). So I think "Why the fuck not?" A few verres later he says he "likes" me (does he want to root me or what?) and can get rid of "the other bidder" for 3000 sovs "under the table". Funny way of doing biz. But "c'est normale" for here. He's qualified me...as in do I have the dosh or do I need to arrange finance? So as I understand it, the apartment can be mine at 5k more than the maybe fictitious other bidder and €3000 under the table. I can dig it. But I can just hear "Her Indoors" now going "How do you know you can trust him?" etc. It's called "Systeme D" here - the way things are done by who you know and pulling a few strings. Meanwhile the wife and I are living in 35 square metres of frog apartment on the fifth floor of an old building with no lift and sharing the only bedroom with Junior (who I love dearly). Means we get an average of 4 hours uninterrupted sleep a night. C'est difficile. I need to go for a surf and think about things.

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