Friday, May 25, 2007

'Bucolic Idyll'? My foot!
High-tension drama erupts in the sleepy little Hampshire town of Romsey: in the HSBC bank more precisely. Scenes of unprecedented colour and verve when Kevin, the bank manager (Kevin by name and Kevin by nature) fails to understand how to wire 5000 pounds stirling to Mopti, Mali. (For Keita to get the electricity pylons brought in even before I get there- we have lots of booking at the end of June, and speed is of the essence.)
'Where? Malawi?
'I don't think we do Mali'.
'Whatdoyoumean? Mali is a country much larger than France! I've sent money before from HSBC in Portobello Road!'
He eventually manages to find the country but other problems arise:
'FCFA? We don't do that, there is no reference to that currency'.
'Don't be so silly, it is the major currency of former French West Africa, used by hundreds of thousands of people!'
(Oh, dear, and only this morning I made a solemn promise to start being nice, understanding and kind to people...)
Meanwhile I have also been in touch with my Elvis-loving bank manager and friend Monsieur Guindo (see November 23rd entry) who is providing helpful assistance from 'the other side'. Faxes, texts and emails whizz through the ether all day to facilitate what should be a straight forward operation... I miss every train back to Mottisfont and Dunbridge and end up having to take a taxi in order to get at least a couple of hours painting done. Relaxing in the back of the cab, congratulating myself on a difficult situation brought to a happy conclusion, when I get another text: something has gone wrong on 'the other side'. I must cancel the transfer and go back to Kevin tomorrow morning first thing! And this time it was M. Guindo who screwed up- nothing to do with poor Kevin, who mopped his brow this afternoon, looking relieved as I was leaving- he thought he'd seen the last of me as I steamed out of his office at four pm. I seem to have sent off the 5000 pounds to the wrong account...! More to follow on this blog, no doubt, in days to come, should you have the stomach for it...but for now I am going back to the Mill Arms to drink red wine and watch the Bill.


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