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May 18, 2012

She made me. That nice lady decorator said you look washed out and it will do you good and so I dutifully sat at Nice airport yesterday morning with a pint of Murphy’s stout, whilst taking in the last rays of sunshine we will see until Monday. I have seen the weather forecast for Harrogate and Leeds for the weekend and by their standards it is probably quite balmy with a maximum of 10 degrees on Sunday, sufficient one may think to soften the tundra and unleash the midges but far below the mid 20’s expected in the Cote d’Azur.

Stories are still filtering in from the joint birthday party on Wednesday night. The lovely Leslie Bufton, having imbibed freely of the local rose, apparently invited all attendees for a trip on their boat when it arrives in Antibes in a couple of weeks time before having to be “helped” to her taxi by several burly chaps. It seems her feet did not touch the ground, but rather than this being a symptom of enjoying being manhandled to her transport it was actually because she was almost incapable of walking. Husband Roly is currently sailing the boat (that’s too strong a word, I mean driving it) down the coast of Portugal having already crossed the Bay Of Biscay heading for Gibraltar then Barcelona before getting to Antibes in a couplee of weeks time.

It is Cannes Film Festival weekend so the usual influx of publicity seeking celebrities will be in town to publicise their various films. It is normally something of a spectacle but I hear that Sacha Baron Cohen excelled himself by dressing up as a Saddam Hussein lookalike and riding a camel up and down The Croisette, stopping only to buy himself and his mount an expresso at one of the cafes dotted along the front and popping into the Ralph Lauren shop to buy his camel a rather fetching and quite expensive orange scarf, perhaps it was a camel hair creation? and maybe even once belonging to a relative of his transport? In any event it is a fashion statement that I hope is not lost of my style guru Mr Humphreys if he is free.

So then to the flight to Yorkshire with Jet2 in Geoff Boycott class. We could not afford Michael Parkinson class which would allegedly entitled us to free tripe and chips as our in-flight meal. It was, err.. interesting. I don’t like to complain because they allowed dogs on the flight, although this was limited to Yorkshire terriers and whippets, so thank god there is no way the rib eating kitchen destroying mutt Banjo would be allowed aboard, and we duly arrived at Leeds Bradford airport in the rain.

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With the Olde Swan under some sort of health warning (there was some sort of health convention in town) we instead booked into the charming Harrogate Brasserie  where I took this picture of the up to date library in our room and where we met up for dinner with very old friends John and Rachel Surtees. At one stage before I trapped her, that nice lady decorator lived with John for a number of years and then married the gorgeous Rachael. Since that time I have fretted that something is out of kilter here. John obviously has “knowledge” of that nice lady decorator but Rachael and I have never shared that same intimacy despite my suggesting that such a liaison would square the circle so to speak. You may be surprised, as I am, that she does not seem concerned about this lop-sided situation and has constantly and fervently rejected such an idea however when last night she asked if she could try my pork, for one moment….

Chris France

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