I had an appointment with my bank in town this morning at 9.30 a.m. to set up an extra mortgage payment. In order to be able to make an additional payment I have to pay a minimum of at least 10% of the initial amount of the mortgage, so you can see that that is not something that happens every month. I am pretty much on track to do that once a year though now in a bid to get my mortgage paid off early (and hence be able to retire) but as you can imagine there will be a gaping hole in my savings account once that goes through. I also intend to revert to my maiden name when I come back off holiday so I had a few questions for her about that too. I have been divorced almost five years and put off changing my name back because I didn't have the energy frankly. It is a lot of work - the passport and bank accounts being the easy bit - the hard work is all the rest of the paperwork. So I wanted to be sure that while I was getting everything sorted, the bank wouldn't "bounce" my electricity debits, for instance, if the name on the electric bill no longer matched the name on the bank account for a brief period. It only took about 30 minutes to set that up so afterwards I had time to head off to the local tip with my grass cuttings and back towards home where I played the lottery for next Friday's euromillions. I play every week - not much - just for the fun of it. When they put the price up about 18 months ago I thought no way am I going to increase the amount of money I give them to play "my" numbers, so I just dropped the numbers down to end up paying less. It doesn't matter to me as I am not superstitious about numbers and I'll be damned if I am going to give them more money. Still, playing a few euros is a nice little way to daydream. It's actually quite fun thinking about what I would do "if" I won, and to be honest, while everyone talks about what they would do if they won the big one, how great would it be to say win 20,000 euros - wouldn't that put a big smile on your face? Or even 1,000? You know what I mean, anything would be lovely.
After that I headed back home. I didn't go to the market or supermarket obviously since I am leaving on vacation on Monday, so having nothing better to do I stopped in at Stan's for a coffee. There were about eight people there discussing local events and putting the world to rights. Stan's son - the professional rugby player - had apparently played a blinding match last night down in Montpellier so he was dissecting the match with one man. A couple of others were discussing the "stupid way they have gone about closing the bridge" - the one-and-only-bridge across the river into town. I mentioned previously that it will be closed for at least a year and it is already a nightmare with buses, trucks, cars etc. having to go miles out of their way (down the "forestry road" no less - you can imagine how wide that is), just to get back into town. I sat next to Philippe - a friend who has retired but still does a few small construction/DIY jobs on the side. He is going to come and work on my balcony before I get new railings, etc. put up. And then finally there was the old "pepe" talking about how to improve your soil for your veggie patch. He was deep in conversation with our postman and while it was only 10.30 a.m. they were both having white wine! I guess the postman getting up really early this might have been his lunch break, but they had two glasses each while I was sitting there - and at about 11 a.m. the postman drove off to finish his route! Vive la France, as they say!