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Room with a view, of wine

April 7, 2013

I was faced yesterday at lunch with a conundrum. A certain redhead, whom I cannot name for reasons that will become obvious, explained that she was averse to sloor damming, or door slamming as I think people who had consumed rather less alcohol than she, may have said. I forgive her mainly because she insisted on purchasing a copy of my latest book, The Valbonne Monologues. I think what swayed her when considering this very worthy publication was the picture of That Nice Lady Decorator with her hands on the unadorned buttocks of the Naked Politician on a trip back from St Tropez last summer. Those of you who have not yet bought a copy can rectify that by emailing your PayPal details to chrs.france@gmail.com. A mere 15 euros or £12 for the paperback, 20 euros or £15 for the hard back version and just £4 or 5 euros for postage, I realise that the exchange rates make a difference so best to open an account with Currencies Direct for the keenest rates.

But back to my anonymous guest. During the rather drawn out luncheon proceedings, which were still going on when I retired hurt at 8pm, she revealed that recently she was in a pub with three ex lovers, none of whom were aware of any of the others, which is the reason I am not at liberty to identify the culprit. Apart from bringing a very decent 2007 St Emilion, she also rocked up with a special present, some blueberry sausage. As this is a family column, I cannot reveal exactly how she introduced me to this gift. Suffice to say that I was relieved when she put the knife down after at first being alarmed as it was cut into very slim slivers.

Wine warming by the fire

Wine warming by the fire

As I also said, I can forgive her anything as she bought a copy of the book, but she was unhappy with the first copy because she considered that it had been thumbed through (or fingered as she put it) rather too much, thus I had to break open a box of un-fingered copies in order to satisfy her. Regular readers will know just how much restraint has been required by the writer of this column in order to protect her integrity, and to extract maximum entertainment value from this scenario.

The highlight of the afternoon, when it came, was sensational. It was over the Parkin cake that was made by the lovely Ann Thornley was being attacked with relish (well, cheese) on all sides after a lovely lunch. For some reason we had got around to talking about the worst jobs we had ever had. Mine was as a trainee accountant in my late teens, an engagement that ended in tears very quickly. My unnamed and unidentified guest told the story of being taken on to undertake telephone sales, despite saying at the interview that she had no sales training or aptitude. “The worst five days if my life” she said. Then went on to tell the assembled guests that her boss was an idiot who used to strum a guitar badly in the office. She was fairly damning in her criticism and I can remember the moment clearly. “That’s my brother-in-law” said another guest whom I can also not identify for similarly obvious reasons.

The whole afternoon was a roaring success with a number of fine wines consumed amid a great deal of laughter. Thank god I now have a few days of rest and recuperation before the next onslaught, which is a 50th birthday party in the south of France next weekend. That Nice Lady Decorator and I are resolved not to have a drink until Friday when we fly out. Time, and this column will bear witness to whether that resolution is still intact later in the week.

Chris France
@Valbonne_News

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