Last night at my leaving do

I woke at 3am in the morning thinking something was amiss. It was. I was fully clothed in bed - but missing a cuff-link.

Leaving drinks yesterday were a heady mix of British beers at The Bowler.

I was presented with a 45 year old bottle of Armagnac - they don’t make them my age any more - and a nice card which was filled with the usual non-PC messages I've come to expect over the years.

Maybe my newfound popularity stems from the fact that I represent escape from the market. Morale here in Paris isn't exactly high, with low levels of business and the ever present threat of the Mifid 2 regulations, which seem designed to administer the coup de grace to all but the biggest players. I was asked to text in photos of me sipping the Armagnac with the mountains in the background. It made me think of the postcard that Cool Hand Luke sends to his prison mates from Mexico, but turns out to be a sham.

The ear splitting noise of the soft tail custom Harley Davidson was surreal. My desk colleague grinned at me happily, decked out in blue denim, gunning the engine.

“Jeepers, man. I thought you rode a scooter to work!”

An hour later he was off. Exhaust fumes peppered the drinkers outside the pub as he turned over the engine. There was the usual Gallic outcry and shrug, as he sped down the street. The rest of us leaned up against the pub wall in the steaming heat. I’d chosen a cool, dark area in the pub for our soirée, but the French like to smoke, and watch the action. Silly me.

Now that I’m going, I’m itching to leave. I asked another recently departed colleague if he misses the banter, the thrill of the chase, the monthly pay-check.

“I hardly think about the markets at all. I’m relieved to live without the stress. There are indeed other ways of making money,” he replied.

He’d lost 7 kilos and looked tanned and fit. After only a year here fighting a losing battle with largely indifferent clients, I’m dead and bloated - almost. I’ll miss Paris though. The City of Lights. There’s nowhere quite like it for casual beauty at every corner - except maybe Venice.


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