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In the swim of music again

January 27, 2013

I took the bus from Valbonne to Cannes, about 8 miles because it costs just a euro. The sun was shining, the snow was sparkling on the hills and I am back in the south of France. Complete happiness in other words .  MIDEM, staged at Le Palais des Festivals was calling to me and I heeded that call. Before I left an almost silent house, if one ignores the chorus of snoring coming from those more fortunate than myself who were not required to work yesterday, I took this photo. It may give you some insight into why I love it here.

pool in Valbonne

The welcome sight of my swimming pool

Lunch is traditionally taken on the first day of MIDEM at Rado Plage, on the beach in Cannes between the Carlton and the Martinez but as I have been eschewing (could that mean not chewing?) lunch whilst in England in an enforced regime designed to ensure my kilt does not shrink any further, I was reluctant to go there. Duty called however, and as I am charged with sourcing a venue for the showing of Otway The Movie, should it unaccountably not be selected for the Cannes Film Festival, I took the menu by the horns and pitched up.  As soon as I arrived I was given a complementary glass of champagne and a menu. My fate was thus sealed, and anyway it was a very healthy lunch of the most excellent scallops in an orange sauce, the orange being counted as one of my five a day. That is my excuse and I am sticking to it.

Returning to the bosom of Valbonne in late afternoon, I was completely unsurprised that Peachy Butterfield was well into his stride, having partaken of a couple of piche’s of ropey rose at lunchtime and then continued on his merry way until my arrival. We were scheduled to go to the Valbonnaise last night and there was a very real danger that he was going to be as he describes it; POA, Pissed On Arrival. I was right.

The mans properties as an alcoholic Sponge leave me in awe. It might be possible for me to match him drink for drink should I ever decide that I want to die early. Anyway after a very short siesta I was being urged in to partake of a pint of Guinness at the Queens Legs before adjourning for dinner.

It was at the pub that we encountered  Irishman John “800 years of repression” O Sullivan and his magnificently well endowed wife, Jude (sorry Lin), renowned in this column for her capacity to drink Baileys, that sickly digestive loved only by those with underdeveloped taste buds. She revealed that she has just taken delivery of a new dog, which she has decided to name Bailey. It can only be a matter of time before she has another with the same name so that she can describe them as a pair of Baileys.

They joined us, the Butterfields and Roly and Poly Bufton for the meal at the Valbonnaise which was the normal triumph. The scruffy poorly lit but hugely atmospheric restaurant run by husband and wife Chantel and Jean-Luc who are funny and charming is amongst my favourites in Valbonne, but in a sign of the worsening economy in the south of France exacerbated by the crazy economic policies of first M. Sarkozy and now M. Hollande, seemingly intent of squeezing more money from the ex pat community that underpins the local economy, the restaurant was not full on a Saturday night. Perhaps the ex pats are keeping their money dry given the ridiculous drop in the value of the £ against the euro in recent weeks.

Chris France

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