Saturday, 24 June 2017

Grumpy Pants

Breakfast and a book. Slow recovery mode - not so much from a hangover, more from the past couple of weeks.  


Sophie is fully recovered. Only, I opened the door today and I'm now missing Howl. I suppose I have to accept that my kittens are of an age where they will wander off, stay out all night and turn up when they're hungry - I hope. 

In other news, I've just had my annual fine dished out by RRA. Every year I've said I'll understand the tax system, and every year I fail because it's incomprehensible to me. Only wanted to register as a sole trader, was told by RRA (the tax office) that this was impossible, so had to register a company, with a whole load of different taxes that nobody offered any guidance on (or, when they did, each person offered completely different guidance). Three years later, I discover that it was perfectly possible to be a sole trader all along. Going to close my company and switch over. Meanwhile, been involved in a battle of the tax issues with a large development agency who also didn't understand the tax system. It's a big thing here to claim that you have to withhold 15% payment from companies and consultants even when they're fully registered for tax - but you don't. I had to argue that one because 15% taken off a payment is a lot when it's unnecessary.

Three days arguing a contract for half a day's work.

Completely illustrating why I left development, but the pay's still tempting enough to return.

I have been saved by an absolutely incredibly accountancy firm: DP Singh. I should have hired someone three years ago, but I didn't think I could afford it. Would have cost a fraction of the fines. DP took pity on me. More than affordable. Free consultation, fielded all communication with RRA, explained everything in plain English, made it all go away. Got a lot of love for this company.

Piano project is busting my metaphorical balls. I've explained more on the piano blog. Now got five potential orders lined up, but trying to manufacture something like this is proving extremely tough. There just isn't the manufacturing infrastructure in Rwanda, so even casting a string frame to a high degree of accuracy is a really big (possibly impossible) task. We're nowhere near giving up yet, though. Apparently I've become known as the mythical 'piano lady.' Strangers greet me as 'so you're the piano lady?' Word is spreading, people are excited. There is a market for this.

It's been a while since I had a proper grumble, but the past couple of weeks it's just been one thing after another. Compounded by some sort of yuckiness. Thought I had malaria: pounding headache, nausea, dizziness - but no fever. Possibly dehydration. Worst was over in a couple of days, but felt drained all week. Much better now, but might go and get a blood test if I'm not feeling 100% by next week.

Still. On the upside:

Tax finally sorted. DP Singh, heroes of the day and saviour to many a confused CEO.

Had a lot of fun at CasaKeza last night. The Spanish festival of San Juan (Saint Joan/Midsummer). Cocktails and salsa after my writing group.

Maia (left) is leaving for a couple of months. Her stand-in manager just fell through, so I'm going to be acting hostess in her absence. Leaving me in charge of a bar? Not sure about that one. Honestly, though, I don't have to do much, the staff have it down. Just need to dish out pay cheques and make sure nothing goes crazy.

Also, my favourite priest is flying in tonight. Haven't seen him since I was in the UK, a year and a half ago. He's only passing through quickly en route to Goma, but I'll catch up with him when he gets back. He always makes me laugh, and I'm looking forward to catching up on gossip from the UK.

Also got family visiting later in the year. My cousin Tamsin is travelling around Africa with her partner and should be landing in Kigali around August. Every year we have a huge family gathering of the Burbidge clan (mum's side), but it's so big that there's a large portion of the family I don't really know. We saw each other once a year, but that's about it. Looking forward to getting to know each other properly over a few drinks.

Oh, and huge fun thing of the year - just booked tickets to India to see the Taj Mahal with dad and Marilyn, thanks to Rwandair's new direct flights.

So, a rough patch, but hopefully better things to follow. Feeling the stress lift, deep breaths, watch out for buses.

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