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Australia beached

December 12, 2012

A story emanated from our last lunch on the beach with John “Chuckle Brothers” Surtees and his voluptuous wife Rachael “Lady On Waiting” Surtees. It involves their window cleaner some years ago, when she had young children. The chap was diligently polishing their panes when he was asked by our spectacularly well endowed one (sorry Lin) whether he would like a cup of coffee. When he answered in the affirmative, she quickly realised that she had run out of milk, so what to do? As she peered into the fridge she spotted some breast milk which she had expressed herself earlier and, not wishing to disappoint the window cleaner, popped some into his coffee. I consider that telling us in public was laudable, making a clean breast of it as it were.

The final lunch was one of the least expensive but still good and took place on the beach at Barzura at Coogee, from where we had walked from Bondi Beach. It was the idea of the well endowed one, and, with nothing really planned, we decided to join in for the 7km walk along the cliff tops of the Eastern Coastal Walk. The prospect of working up a thirst and an appetite, on another poor day for Australian weather, proved irresistible. We were joined at Coogee by Larry “ukulele rock god” Smith, who was on his best behaviour  despite not benefiting from the tender mercies of his carer, the lovely Marita, who was otherwise engaged.

On the walk down, I took this picture of one of the beaches. there are 4 or 5 spectacular beaches between Coogee and Bondi and the even look good when the weather is iffy.

Australian beach

Australian beach

Lunch was a triumph,  a cab back to the city,  a last drink in the Australian Hotel,  and we were whisked off to the airport, courtesy of Emirates, to board the A 380 double-decker flight to Dubai. At first I thought I was in heaven but the entertainment system refused to work properly and the much vaunted seats that were supposed to go flat failed, causing me to be moved to another seat, but then it got better. Puligny Montrachet, a 2003 Margaux, Graham’s 20 year old vintage port and some wonderful food restored my faith in Emirates.

This is the first column I have written whilst on a flight. The plane is fitted with on-board wifi, enabling me to keep working on the benefits one can glean from opening an account with Currencies Direct and to be able to post this blog in a timely manner.

So, England awaits and I can feel my suntan beginning to fade already. I shall be white by Christmas and blue by the end of January, by which time I hope I shall have finally unleashed The Valbonne Monologues, my new book, upon a largely suspicious world. Some final editing, and a berating phone call to the printers should be enough to finalise the launch. I do not expect them to close down for Christmas when they have been entrusted with producing such a vital publication. If I can be certain of the printing delivery times then I can confirm the arrangements.  I have asked the redoubtable Frazer Hines to officiate at the launch. Frazer, aka Joe Sugden from TV’s Emmerdale Farm, and Jamie from Dr Who, expressed mild interest (whilst we were playing cricket together in Adelaide a few weeks ago) in being my guest speaker as long as dates (and probably fee) can be confirmed, watch this space. A significant possibility is 28th January and a significant place is the Auberge Provencal in Valbonne Square.

Chris France


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