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Sunshine and desolation

May 12, 2012

Lunch at Chez Panisse at the Holiday Inn in Cap Trois Mille where I was accompanied by just one happy customer of Currencies Direct was enlivened by several bottles of Chateau Minuty, arguably one of the better local rose wines. It was further enlivened, but not in a nice way, by that nice lady decorator announcing that we are going to the north of England flying into Leeds Bradford next weekend. I took this picture from the restaurant which seems to sum up the counterpoint between the Cote d’Azur preparing for summer, but with a hint of desolation picking up my mood after listening to that announcement.

Readers from the north of England please note that strange blue colour in the sky

Leeds, in Yorkshire. Let me put this in perspective. The weather forecast for Leeds today is 12 degrees with squally showers and gusty winds. There was no mention of any sunshine, not this month. I know that for up north that is quite balmy, even suggesting that summer is right around the corner but the softening tundra will unleash a plague of midges. The forecast for Valbonne however is for unbroken sunshine and a maximum temperature of 28 degrees, and no midges.

You may be tempted, as I was as we sat beside the sparkling waters of the Mediterranean in shorts enjoying some exquisite fish which was not surrounded and suffocated with batter and with not a mushy pea in sight, to ask that nice lady decorator what on earth she was thinking of.  It took a little time to establish the primary reason; Agatha Christie. It seems that Agatha, when deciding to leave her husband at the “height” of her writing career, disappeared for 11 days much to the consternation of the British press and hid at The Olde Swan Hotel in Harrogate.

Bizarrely, that nice lady decorator holds the opinion that this Agatha woman is a superior writer to my good self, a clear phallacy (erk) as she is obviously female. That should wake up the feminist movement this morning! The woman wrote about a Mousetrap for gods sake, a performance of which I was dragged to some time last year.

Thus we are now about to delve into the dark recesses of the winter clothing store and prepare for the tempests that characterise the north of England for most of the time. It seems we shall be staying at The Olde Swan and if that nice lady garden designer gets her way we will sleep in the room in which Agatha Christie once stayed.

Quite why we need to do this now, during the precious time left to us in France is a mystery that I don’t think even our Agatha would be able to solve. We shall be trapped in England for much of the summer and autumn, but when I suggested that perhaps this little jaunt be delayed until that time, the laser beams that pass for eyes in these circumstances were primed and I was hushed into a state of mere whimpering in the corner.

Perhaps we shall also pop in on Midsummer, the most dangerous place in Britain  where all the murders take place? The allure of all this Murder Mystery is just that, a mystery to me. Thank god Midsummer does not seem to have a railway otherwise we would probably be treated to “Murder On The Midsummer Express with a Mousetrap”.

Thus today I shall be taking the opportunity to play golf in the sunshine at the Grande Bastide with the Landlubbers golf society and work on my tan which will no doubt be subjected to serious attempted degradation in Leeds next weekend.

Chris France

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