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Eat drink and make Meribel

February 24, 2013

The Refuge in Meribel provided the raclette and fondue encounter to which some of our skiing party aspired. The venue changed from Le Fromargerie after some on-line reviews suggested that the place not only smelled, quite reasonably, of cheese, but the advice was not to wear any clothing that you might want to wear the next day because the cheesy smell would not leave you.  With it being the last night, and with most things packed, and not wishing to be smelling all day of Norwegian Jarlsberger or Canadian Beaver Cheese, The Refuge literally lived up to its name. Quaint and old-fashioned, it was still Trois Vallees expensive.

meribel, the Alps

Meribel at its most beautiful.

This time the car started, and the torturous but spectacular trip down the mountain to Beaune, with all the other tourists leaving at the same time, was the expected nightmare all the way to the outskirts of Lyon, when suddenly the traffic cleared and we got to this pretty and ancient town in early afternoon, about 2 hours earlier than we expected. It was only a little warmer, still below freezing and was snowing gently as we unloaded the car. The lovely and charming La Belle Époque was once again our destination for the night.

Before venturing out in early evening, I completed, with the help of Jeroen of ABK Estate Agents, the arrangements for the launch of The Valbonne Monologues (Facebook; Valbonne Monologues) at Cafe Latin. The sponsors, so far ABK, Marina Kulik and Currencies Direct are between them supplying a glass of sparkling wine, a coffee or a glass of wine to everyone buying a book on the day, either Friday 15th or Saturday 16th March between 10.30 and 12.00. I shall be in personal attendance and will be available, if required, to sign copies of the book for lucky punters, who will in future years be able to say they were there when the book was first unveiled. Please do not forget that these valuable first editions can only increase in value in my own mind. Also, this time there are colour pictures throughout of some of your heroes, and for the richest amongst you, there is a hardback limited edition priced at a very reasonable 20 euros. For the rest of you cheapskates it is 15 euros for the paperback. I will take advance orders via paypal, cash and even those antiquated cheques.

After watching England beat France in the six nations, and studiously avoiding speaking English, not celebrating when England scored, and practising lots of Gallic shrugs and muttering “sacre bleu” as England went further and further ahead, we went out for an early dinner on order to get an early start this morning. Although the tunnel crossings are fully booked, there are bound to be people who are late or cancel, so with luck we will be back in Arundel before nightfall.

Then it will be Monday and the starvation diet will commence. Do not expect me to be upbeat, witty or amusing in the coming days. Many will say they never do, but there are a few loyal readers who admit to enjoying this daily missive, now approaching its third birthday. The week of eating and drinking at Meribel has not been sufficiently off set by the momentous skiing and energy usage involved. I would probably have to ski for a whole year to get to equilibrium, let alone a honing of my magnificent anatomy, so drastic measures have been imposed. 600 calories a day is about as close to starvation as one can get with expiring, and I have heard that it can make you grumpy.

Chris France

6 Comments leave one →
  1. howzaaat permalink
    February 24, 2013 1:40 pm

    I was so glad at last to get rock-solid details of the long-awaited launch of “The Valbonne Monologues”, the date and venue for which I have noted in my diary and have also had carved in the stone lintel of my front doorstep to remind me constantly of the event whenever I come and go !

    You must be quite excited. I can imagine your emotions when you saw the first proofs. How your heart will pound during these coming anxious weeks of waiting ! I can picture the pride with which you’ll greet the arrival of your first dozen free copies and then the surprise on the faces of your many and various publicans as you present them with one ! I can visualize the eagerness with which you’ll rush to buy and open “The Sunday Times Literary Supplement” and read your first review:

    “‘The Valbonne Monologues’ by Chris France, 8½” by 10½”, 876 pp., 47 colour illustrations, published by Messrs Bluster, Gossip & Rumour. £12.”

    And then you’ll experience that soaring sensation on reading later Press cuttings, which will doubtless express a unanimity of opinion that Chris France is now in the front rank of living writers, one of that tiny and highly esteemed number whose work really matters. Indeed, your work will be the very renaissance of that notion that only through the medium of the book can literary art find its true expression !

    As now a successful writer, you are verily a man to be envied. Overlooking for the moment that awful disincentive of the top tax rate, the honours that could well fall on your head are immeasurable. You may see your name (even spelt correctly) on buses that rumble and belch between such flourishing resorts as Arundel and Chichester, and your name (but probably spelt incorrectly) beneath the photograph of someone else in “The Tatler”. You may become a renowned after-dinner speaker and a welcome figure at garden-parties of the elect, who will always be ready to encourage you by accepting free gifts of your book; other authors and publishers will nod to you; editors will allow you to contribute without charge to such conventions as “The Price of Golf Balls”. Politicians and Captains of Industry will join together in recognising you as the one person who managed single-handedly to turn around the flagging UK economy. This may perhaps lead to a Knighthood, after which you could get kicked upstairs!

    In short, you’ll be a “prominent figure in Western Society”. Your name will be fêted from coast to coast and will become synonymous with such well-worn phrases as “You get what you pay for !” and “All work and no play makes …” (something or other – I forget what) and a host of other sound old chestnuts.

    Let me ask you: are you quite ready for these rewards ?


    • February 24, 2013 4:06 pm

      This is very thought provoking and entirely accurate. I bow to your foresight. As an already successful a author with sales of over 231 (232) of my first book with a break even of about 120, I have already had some small experience of the celebrity furore this publication may provoke, but I am ready.


  2. Winnie lOrson permalink
    February 24, 2013 5:31 pm

    Well, you can’t keep a good dog down, as they say!


  3. Rev. Jeff permalink
    February 25, 2013 2:19 pm

    I like you chaps….and girl !!


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