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Fireworks in Valbonne

July 14, 2012

As we sat at lunch at the Auberge St Donat, Mr Clipbeard was extolling the virtues of Le Clos De Pins (pronounced “Clo” for my non-French readers), a new restaurant at nearby Roquefort Les Pins. I am not sure if it was deliberate or not, but the Wingco mistakenly thought he was praising Northern Irish singer Clodagh Rogers, responsible for the UK’s entry into Song For Europe several decades ago or more.

I mentioned that I had once been involved in Song For Europe some decades earlier as manager of Belle And The Devotions, the UK representative in the competition in, I think 1982, but I do not think they believed me, but they do know for certain that I am a local coordinator for Currencies Direct.

I am afraid that I have to report that one particular public schoolboy present was a huge fan of our Clodagh and admitted to his first sexual feelings, and it seems results, when confronted with pictures of Ms Rogers in the 1970’s. Of course, as he is my friend, I could never reveal publicly who was this love-lorn teenager but I would be prepared to bet that Mr Clipbeard is, as he reads this, experiencing some tumescence.

Lunch was, once again, all about me. The theme was how the public schoolboy bullies (as, except for myself, all the other lunchers were from that ilk) could best punish me for this witty and erudite daily column and book (which, if I am honest, is not how any of then viewed either publication). I think it was when I mentioned that this week I will pass 70,000 hits on this web page that the trouble started.

As all present are invited aboard the Master Mariner Mundell’s boat this evening, a litany of jealous ritual abuse aimed at me was discussed which I think was designed to try to reduce or “water” down my daily output. Keel hauling was mentioned, with special mention for the barnacles on the boat that might be able to sustain further physical damage, along with plank walking and, rather inevitably, buggery, cutting off one side of my luxuriant handle bar moustache, and one of them went as far as saying I was a cad. I am constantly amazed at how bullying has left its mark on these chaps. When I suggested that, in fact, what they were contemplating amounted to same, I was told that I did not understand what real bullying was all about, and that this was just a bit of fun. Real bullying, I was told, was much worse.

Further denigration of my achievement of leaving my poverty stricken roots behind and managing to drag myself out of the gutter by sheer hard work and ability (again, not how they saw it) was illustrated by one comment concerning the curriculum of Belleville School, in deepest south London which I attended as opposed to the very public school Wellington: “we had athletics, you had car theft”.

Fireworks in Valbonne

Earlier, we had exhibited all the qualities admired around the world as Englishmen. We had played tennis at midday in scorching 32 degrees and unremitting sunshine, the only court of 11 in use, where an honourable draw was the result prior to lunch.  John Coward, the BA pilot and Mr Clipbeard’s partner was unable to clear that final hurdle to join us. Let us thank god his Boeing 777 did not suffer the same fate when he was the co pilot when the engines on the plane he was driving cut out on the approach to Heathrow some years ago. That hurdle, the airport perimeter fence, was mercifully scaled, but only just.

Last night then, into Valbonne briefly for the pre Bastille Day fireworks, some of which are pictured today, preceded by a pizza and a pichet at the Valbonnaise, but the early to bed as I have more tennis at the ridiculously early time of 9am. Floodlights will be required.

Chris France

One Comment leave one →
  1. Rev. Jeff permalink
    July 14, 2012 8:31 pm

    The perverse fascination with public school bullying continues apace I note…….

    I can sympathise with Mr. Clipbeard as I well remember experiencing some very wobbly lower abdomen vibrations when Clodagh performed on Top Of The Pops. When I see the old films of it now I can’t think why as she was in modern parlance ‘well dodgy’. Also experienced similar collywobbles over a band called The Paper Dolls….same sort of era.


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