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Sheep rears its pretty head

October 10, 2011

So to dinner last night at close to literary HQ in old Valbonne. Viv Frost, together with Lin Wolff from the English Book Centre in Valbonne are the stalwarts and founding fathers (mothers?) of the literary events which will shortly become the sort of occasion that require attendance for the chattering classes in the village.

Viv’s husband, Matt Frost from French Mortgage Xpress is a larger than life figure who is often to be seen in the Queens Legs, the Vignale and La Kavanou was resplendent in a Welsh rugby shirt, which he was wearing in celebration of the recent win in the Rugby World cup for this small mining, as opposed to small-minded, nation. He claimed that as he was from Cornwall he was almost Welsh as Cornwall is nearer to Wales than the rest of England, and to prove it produced a lovely meal based on a leg of lamb.

Of course, according to folk law, the Welsh have a number of usages for this poor animal, of which cooking and eating it is only one. Having spent some time earlier today with Steve Weston from the Riviera Ex Pats Golf Society, who has form in the sheep area, I was reluctant to apply my mind to the wide range of uses and indeed “entertainment” that this pretty fluffy animal can allegedly provide. By that, before any of my readership gets the wrong idea, I was referring to sheep dog trials, where sheep enjoy being herded one way or another for the enjoyment of the Welsh community, because frankly if neither the Welsh nor the sheep enjoy it, what is the point?. Luckily for us, only eating it proved to be on the rather wind inducing agenda, or rather menu. I love beans of any type but that Nice Lady Decorator is a tad reluctant to serve them in our household so Croatian Bean Soup to start was the first sign that methane production was likely to increase in the short-term, but when another favourite of mine, Brussel Sprouts, appeared with the lamb, that Nice Lady Decorator began to fidget in her seat. Later it was I doing the fidgeting in my seat as the combined culinary offerings were quickly threatening the kind of methane carnage that she fears.

When I was at school I was required to spend one period a week studying British Constitution with a teacher who was so right wing his views we’re just to the right of Attila the Hun. He contended that England should spend 50% of its gross domestic product to do three things; to build up Hadrian’s Wall so high it would keep the Celts out, dig out Offers Dyke to 200 metres in width in order to keep the Welsh with all their sheep loving foibles out, and thirdly to blow up the two bridges that connect Cornwall to the English mainland, and then have Cornwall towed into the Atlantic and torpedoed. Needless to say, as Matt is fiercely proud of his Cornish heritage, I did not mention it at dinner.

My picture today is of the entrance to the overpriced but still charming Cinquante Cinq in St Tropez taken on the visit on Saturday aboard D5.

Cinquante cinq in St Tropez. Is it called that because the minimum you can pay is 55 Euros?

Earlier in the day I had made a rare appearance in the Landlubbers golf grouping at the Grande Bastide. Our token Welshman Ieuan Dady insisted in steering the conversation afterwards towards rugby whenever the opportunity arose, but with almost the entire contingent made up of English and the odd South African, both losing nations in the Rugby World Cup yesterday, few were listening, no doubt a fact of life for him with which he is only too familiar.

Chris France

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