As many of my regular readership (all three of you!) will know, the Old Bat and I have a small cottage on the other side of the Channel (or Manche as the French call it - "sleeve". Look at a map and you will see why.) This, of course means that we have bills to pay over there. I dare say that there are places in the world - Mali and the upper reaches of the Amazon spring to mind - where the local authority does take a hideous amount of Danegeld but Frnce is not one such place. If we want electricity and water, well, that has to be paid for too. And they don't want to take English £5 notes. Not that I would want to walk around with that quantity of folding, you understand. The result is that we have bank accounts both her in Blighty and over there in French France. The French account has to be topped up from time to time from the English bank and this involves purchasing euros. You will appreciate that I have become quite an avid watcher of the exchange rate - at least the rate between the pound and the euro, the dollar or yen rate is of little consequence to me. It was nine years ago that we bought the house and transferred the biggest sum of money. At that time I was lucky - I got something over or about 1.5 euros to the pound. Since then the rate has slipped and last year I was buying euros almost at parity.
Funds in France were nearing exhaustion and I am always very wary of letting the balance of that account get too low, especially as it is a criminal offence in France to issue a cheque without sufficient funds to meet it and just do that once and all banking facilities are withdrawn. So I'm careful to transfer funds in good time. As I said, I knew the balance was getting low and I was keeping an eye on the whole situation in Europe, especially the problems in Greece. Last week I decided to act and transferred £2,000 to cover an anticipated large bill. And bingo! I got the top of the market! That doesn't happen too often so you will realise that the extra couple of hundred euros are very welcome.