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The story of a convict and a rapist

March 5, 2013

A cross between a convict and a rapist. That was how I was described when That Nice Lady Decorator first saw my new passport photograph. I had thought that I looked rather moody and magnificent, a bit like Jack Nicholson on a not very good day, but I was disavowed of this opinion rather swiftly.

£128 (almost 150 euros at today’s Currencies Direct exchange rates) for a same day new passport, and having to hang around in London for 4 hours after the appointment to pick up the finished article, threw a pall over yesterday. Slightly hung over after the fantastic Otway and Barrett show the night before, we ended up in some casino drinking a very expensive 2009 Bordeaux. It had seemed a good idea to have a drink with old pal Maurice Bacon, who apart from managing Kula Shaker and The Medieval Babes, was also the original drummer in Love Affair. Everlasting Love indeed.

all about the wine

Wise words

Talking of bacon, I found a cafe and had a hearty breakfast, then, starting my next 600 calorie 24 hour starvation diet, I thought it would be cheating to start directly after a bit of a feast, but apparently not. The only problem is that after a measly dinner last night, I can eat or drink nothing but water until 10.30 this morning, so the best way to deal with that is to have a lie in.

Today was originally lined up for more Belsen starvation treatment but something strange is happening. The sun came out yesterday afternoon and the weather forecast is for it to be a nice sunny spring day, so, at my suggestion, we have decided to walk the 4 miles to The George and Dragon at Houghton for lunch. My argument, that the forecast is shite for the rest if the week, surprisingly found favour in the corridors of power, so an unexpected and unscheduled treat is in store as long as the forecast holds.

There is a route that we have identified on the local Ordnance Survey map which takes us right through the middle if the Duke of Norfolk’s estate, so if we see him I will invite him to join us. It is set in a prime piece of South Downs and would normally be off-limits to us as dogs are forbidden, but I have persuaded that Nice Lady Decorator to walk the dogs, the stately Max and the stale Banjo, early and leave them behind. What swung this in my favour was the idea that after lunch we get a taxi back, and I am not sure that Banjo could be trusted in one. He once bit the pizza delivery man in Valbonne, so a judicious reminder of his bad manners did the trick. If the taxi driver was wearing a hat it could have ended badly.

Dozens of people have ordered copies of my new book “The Valbonne Monologues” by emailing me at and it can even be ordered from any book store in the country this time, as it has bar codes! I thought a bar code was what happened when you wanted to go to the pub but did not want the kids to know.

After today, the excitement will be over until Friday, our next social occasion. I must look my best for the book launch and that, sadly, means trying to lose a few kilos between now and next Thursday. That is as long as the finished articles arrive in time. The printers said the end of the month and I had more or less assumed they meant the end of February. I feel a panicky phone call coming on this morning.

Chris France

3 Comments leave one →
  1. howzaaat permalink
    March 5, 2013 9:30 am

    Your literary name will undoubtedly gain added lustre as the launch of “The Valbonne Monologues” permits the veil of obscurity to be lifted from that razor-sharp wit, wonderful wisdom, funny personal quirks, bizarre vices and indiscretions which so delightfully imbue with colour your captivating blog.

    It is safe to predict that your genius will gather around itself a magical circle, attracting and holding by the force of its own magnetism those whom it values, but at the same time with equal force repelling the envious and ignorant that live beyond the pale of its enchanted precincts — hence the difficulty for us lesser mortals in estimating against contemporary standards the excellence of your “drivel”, as I think you recently called it.

    It is to be deeply deplored that someone like you endowed with such a wealth of intellect far beyond your fellow men, should yet be so poor in prominence and reputation that the ignorant dullards among us, your readership, could dare to look with disdain on such an heir to gifts so noble and revered.

    And yet, proper recognition of your Olympian intellect risks being stymied by a certain group of people in their too persistent search for your horns, your arrow-tipped tail and your cloven feet, not to mention the cor-blimey trousers as featured in a certain song that you may know quite well !


  2. Rev. Jeff permalink
    March 6, 2013 12:54 pm

    Well just back from a week away so have missed the ‘wondrous box of delights’ otherwise known as ‘The Blag’. Very nicely put Howzaat. I only worry that out erstwhile compiler will think you are being serious. He has form in this area judging from a reply made to another commentator a few days ago. Ah well ignorance is bliss.


    • howzaaat permalink
      March 6, 2013 1:17 pm

      Welcome back, Rev. Jeff — we thought we’d lost you (hence my little dit a couple of days ago entitled ‘Reconciliation’ !!)

      Hope you went somewhere nice and had a good time. Nothing of any consequence has happened here as you can read, but now that you’ve returned, I’ll feel a little less like the boy with his finger in the dyke !


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