I just presented my pay slip (from my day job) to Diane. Frankly, I never look at what my pay is, as Diane looks after the finances. She was amazed to see I'd been paid almost £100 more than usual. "Oh", I said, "back-pay". All the way back to June 2009. Yes, the sum total of my 2009 pay rise (including 7 months-worth of back-pay) has presented us with a nett windfall of £100. So much for being an overpaid civil servant. Admittedly, I only work part-time these days (24 hours a week over 4 days, as opposed to my previous contract of 37 hours over 5 days) in order to give me a little more time to administer the wine business. But I ask you - what is the point in such an insulting pay rise? They might as well have told us we were getting nothing - or given it to charity or something. So thanks, Mr Brown and Mr Darling - not to mention our erstwhile bosses at the Land Registry. Thanks for (nearly) nothing.
Having said that - and as Diane quite rightly pointed out - this windfall might go some way to paying for the dental treatment I need. I am not fond of the dentist, having suffered from a combination of weak teeth (it seems to run in my side of the family) and bad dentistry over a great many years. The upshot of which is that I have a few missing and more than my fair share of crowns and bridges. Thankfully, we now seem to have a dentist we can rely on - and she's very pretty too! Nevertheless, on my recent visit I needed a couple of fillings. I was very brave and told her not to bother with any injections. No problem, I thought - until about a week ago, when I started getting sporadic toothaches, around the area of one of the new fillings. So I went back and she did a couple of x-rays. "Well, it's good news and bad news", she told me. "You have an abcess". I'm not sure what the good news was, as I am now on 500mg of Amoxycillin, 3 times a day, and am going back on Monday for the first instalment of root treatment, with what I am told is an 80% chance of the tooth being saved in the long run.
Trouble is, 4 days into the 7 day course, these bloody great horse tablets don't seem to be working very quickly. It might just be my imagination, but the toothaches - which come and go with little or no warning - don't seem to be quite as intense today as they have been for the last few days. So maybe - just maybe - something is happening. I certainly hope so, because the consequences (and the sheer unbelievable pain) of an out of control abcess just don't bear thinking about. And I am speaking from experience - though I'll spare you the gory details.
The one good thing is that I cannot see anything that says I can't drink alcohol whilst taking these antibiotics. So I have been busy over the last few days tasting my way through some very interesting new wines I am about to add to my list, including a handful of wines from Joseph Swan. That's right - Californian wines. Although I have in the past listed a few wines from countries other than France, they have always been odds and sods, which have come and gone. But these wines from Swan are wines that I very much hope will become a mainstay on my list. And if the current releases are anything to go by, they will become exactly that, because they are utterly lovely. I'll be emailing my customers and subscribers in the next few days, with news of these wines, plus some other very interesting new French wines. Watch this space.