Chapter 31 – A Damning Article

Ed’s grumpy and won’t say why. He greets Philippe with a mumble and a half-hearted nod from the door instead of his usual politician-on-the-campaign-trail handshake. Mary has to repeat her offer of tea or coffee twice before he shows any sign of having heard her. Once in the meeting room, he slumps in the firstContinue reading “Chapter 31 – A Damning Article”

Chapter 30 – Good Bye Tim

February vanishes in a flurry of client meetings, short visits to France and long telephone calls with Arnaud. He’s become so impatient he doesn’t wait for me or anybody else to get to his office when he needs to talk. He carries out pretend long-distance meetings where he conducts conversations with up to three differentContinue reading “Chapter 30 – Good Bye Tim”

Chapter 29 – Misunderstandings

Ed joins in the applause which concludes the performance and proudly announces we’re only running twenty minutes late, quite a feat by our usual standards.  He then gives the mike to the export marketing director who proceeds to tell us about the organisation of the international fairs where Villa’s exhibiting this year. We’ll be supportingContinue reading “Chapter 29 – Misunderstandings”

Chapter 28 – Old Sins

I get an email from Rachel the following day. She’s had all the info back from stores and she’s about to invoice Villa for £27,753. Could I confirm this is acceptable? Her question is purely academic. Supermarkets deduct whatever they want from suppliers’ payments and the ensuing disputes are lengthy and fraught with pitfalls. YetContinue reading “Chapter 28 – Old Sins”

Chapter 26 – A Rest and a Brutal Return to Reality

I try to call Tim at five. It’s four in London and the lunchtime drinks party must be finished by now. His mobile is turned off and I leave him a short message, wishing him a happy Christmas. In the evening we walk down the road to Notre Dame. Altar servers holding lit torches standContinue reading “Chapter 26 – A Rest and a Brutal Return to Reality”

Chapter 25 – A Christmas of Two Halves

I go home to change at five. The Circle of Wine Writers Christmas party, a good opportunity to catch up with other wine professionals, is taking place tonight. Tim is a regular at such gatherings, which, I suspect, he sees as ideal hunting grounds. I call him to suggest we go together. He sounds surprisedContinue reading “Chapter 25 – A Christmas of Two Halves”