Chapter 14 – The Circus aka the Export Meeting

Serge arrives in Bordeaux just before midnight. After a flurry of phone calls, he joins Philippe and me in the restaurant of the Mercure hotel where we’re staying. While he wolfs down the club sandwich the kitchen agreed to prepare for him despite the late hour, I retrace for him my afternoon conversation with MargueriteContinue reading “Chapter 14 – The Circus aka the Export Meeting”

Chapter 13 – Marguerite Villa

Philippe and I leave Kingston together. No point in taking two cars when airport car parks charge such extravagant rates. Between the two and a half days in Bordeaux for my meeting with Marguerite Villa, followed by the export meeting, and The Wine Shop’s wine fair in Edinburgh, we’ll be away for five days. TheContinue reading “Chapter 13 – Marguerite Villa”

Chapter 11- A Hellish Car Journey and Creative Wine Marketing

It’s raining hard when we leave The Super-Market, which allows André to comment on the British weather and the folly of anybody who chooses to live here. I ignore the dig and suggest we get on to the motorway and stop at the first services for a debriefing. ‘Will I be able to buy aContinue reading “Chapter 11- A Hellish Car Journey and Creative Wine Marketing”

Chapter 10 – In the Lion(ess) Den

Rachel greets us with a smile as we come out of the lift, enquiring after André and Jean Jacques’s flight and pecking me on the cheek. A French supermarket buyer, in similar circumstances, would be much sterner. André’s face breaks into a smirk and his shoulders drop. French people often misread British politeness for weaknessContinue reading “Chapter 10 – In the Lion(ess) Den”

Chapter 9 – Drip, Drip, Drip, Stress

Arnaud jabs his index finger at me. ‘I will fulfil the mission Madame Villa has given me.’ I’ve been in his office since eight thirty and I’m starting to fidget. ‘I won’t share my success with anybody,’ he says. I am tempted to ask, ‘Which success?’ but think better of it. I need to getContinue reading “Chapter 9 – Drip, Drip, Drip, Stress”

Chapter 7 – Back to the Office

I fall into a comatose sleep the minute I sit on the plane and only wake up when we touch down at Gatwick. I reach Kingston upon Thames at five to three. It’s raining. The Wine Shop’s offices, and therefore Villa’s British headquarters, are located in an industrial estate, three miles from the centre ofContinue reading “Chapter 7 – Back to the Office”

Chapter 5 – The Dinner That Goes Wrong

I should phone Maman. We speak every Sunday but I spent last weekend with Sam messing around with her kids and I missed my weekly assignment. I feel guilty but I can’t phone her now. She’d know I’m upset, and in trying to make it better she’d make it worse. She refuses to take anContinue reading “Chapter 5 – The Dinner That Goes Wrong”