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Rain masks the truth

April 16, 2012


I have seldom been happier to see rain. After a sunny start it looked as if my Sunday was going to be ruined by gardening duty. I had “dug” out my gardening attire, tweed suit, cravat, silk gloves, hunters plus the various garden implements, the uses for some of which I have never fully understood, and as one comment on this column yesterday alluded to; I could take my pick of garden tools with which to “enjoy” my stint in the garden.

The fact that Sunday should be a day of rest seems to have escaped the notice of that nice lady decorator. I knew I would not be mentioning the services of Currencies Direct for that reason, although their services are as valuable at the weekend as on a week day, but my silent prayers for rain were answered in spectacular, being a Sunday one might almost use the word biblical proportions as a thunderstorm erupted and finished any idea of gardening for the day.

In truth I was suffering somewhat after over doing the lentil curry chez Slash and Burn Thornton Allan on Saturday evening. I think I now have added insight as to why he is thus called, particular the “burn” bit if this is the kind of food he gets at home. Don’t get me wrong I love a good hot curry but the problem symptoms often materialise the next morning with rather unedifying results. The best way forward is to drink lots of water as is being demonstrated by a young Thornton Allan in today’s picture.

With the rain keeping us in all day, that nice lady decorator became stir crazy and by evening demanded to be taken for beers thus we set off for early doors at The Queens Legs in Valbonne for some Guinness. I suppose I should be pleased with the breakdown in the weather for another reason, my impending return to England for much of the year from what is effectively now a holiday here in Valbonne. Feverish examination of estate agents websites in places like Lewes, Rottingdean and Arundel is occurring daily bringing home to me that it is really happening, I am going to be rained on a great deal in the coming year.

The coming week is also something that I am not contemplating with a great deal of pleasure. One of my least favourite words has been mentioned, gravel. Readers who have been following this true account of the lives of the idle rich in Valbonne may recall that in the early days of this column, before ahem, becoming a successful author, I spent some time moving some two thirds of the entire French production of gravel to cover various areas of the drive and garden that the nice lady decorator had decreed should be covered in it. I aged several years during this process which took err…several years. It seems however that her granite chip imagination has been fired again as a result of recent drainage works trashing part of the garden and that harbinger of doom, the tape measure, has been brought into play (work for me) with the inevitable consequences. I will be sent to the quarry to collect gravel. I think the Reverend Jeff may have some parable to quote here about some falling on stony ground. I think the only thing that can save me is a continuation of this indifferent weather and a forlorn hope that she will change her mind about what she believes is required and that somehow this will absolve me of any responsibility for hard labour. As I think the awful Supertramp once intoned “you’re nothing but a dreamer”.

Chris France

9 Comments leave one →
  1. Rev. Jeff permalink
    April 16, 2012 1:56 pm

    Enjoyed the two verses in ‘comments’ yesterday….appreciated.

    You seem remarkably sanguine about your upcoming enforced return to Blighty. What are the new laws which have made it necessary and does it affect all expats?


    • April 16, 2012 4:04 pm

      Mr Sarkozy changed the capital gains tax rules in January. Until then, if I had owned a house abroad for 15 years which I had, then there was no tax to pay. He changed that to 30 years meaning there was the possibility of an excruciating tax liability because, as you can imagine UK property prices and increased massively since 1995. It affects all ex pats who are French tax residents with property abroad (ie in the UK), hence no choice but to leave France which I did on March 6th before I could agree to sell the UK house. At present I am holidaying in France but am UK tax domiclied. Is this too difficult concept for a poor Reverend?


  2. Pinman permalink
    April 16, 2012 3:31 pm

    places like Lewes, Rottingdean and Arundel

    With you dietary reaction to curry you would be well advised
    to choose Bognor, Arscraig, or Crapstone…………..


  3. Julie permalink
    April 17, 2012 8:35 am

    Im not a poor Reverend but I’m troubled by the concept. Just wondered if you don’t earn in France this would not apply? So if you sell the house in the UK you can be taxed by the French system like capital gains? How long do you have to stay in blighty to avoid this tax? I am looking forward to your return as the south is very short of rain, however you wouldn’t think so if you looked out this morning! I was wondering about my friend you has a house in Aix but it is a holiday place as he works in the UK and owns a house here?


    • April 17, 2012 9:52 am

      As I was French tax resident French tax law would apply. I guess your friend is UK tax resident, but under UK rules, if he sells and makes a gain, as it is not his primary residence he would have a cgt laibility


  4. Julie permalink
    April 17, 2012 12:05 pm



  5. April 19, 2012 8:21 pm

    this is the fourth time i read the website, great post as usually! regards.


  6. April 21, 2012 2:40 am

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