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Dogging; Mr Hitchcock speaks

May 18, 2013

Would Ryanair charge for a walking stick? That was the first talking point of the morning as we queued up at security at Gatwick ready for the flight to Nice. We were booked on the relative comfort of Easyjet, with Speedy boarding and in seats 1a and 1b, as close as you get to “turning left” (into First Class – for those of you who have not yet seen the film The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel).

I discussed this with Mr Clipbeard and the lovely Ashley, who had joined us belatedly at the Caviar House where we had consumed the usual fine breakfast of scrambled egg and Scottish smoked salmon. Ryanair famously charge a fee to bring sports equipment on board, a fact that came to my notice when a chap was charged for bringing his lightweight fishing rod, which broke down into about 6 pieces and could have been concealed in a large pocket, was discussing the relative merits of such a charge with the implacable Ryanair staff. There is no doubt that this is merely one of the many ploys thought up by the Irish ruffian who runs that company, Michael O Leary, to increase revenue, but would he interpret walking sticks as sports equipment? Our conclusion was that he probably would.

Over a glass of Sancerre, I asked Mr Clipbeard where he was sitting. Row 10 is near the back and says much about his social standing nowadays. When I teased him about this and compared it to where we were sitting, and made reference to the turning left comment, Ashley said that they always expected to turn left if they were getting on at back of the aircraft.

On the plane, That Nice Lady Decorator drew my attention to an article in the Sunday Times magazine about dogging. It seems that, although fraught with dangers of contravening many public order laws, dogging itself is not illegal. This was explained in the article by the aptly named Chief Constable for Bedfordshire, a Mr Alfred Hitchcock. I was trying to think of a joke here, but could not come up with anything.

springer with eyebrows

Dogging? where?

Talking of nightmares, we arrived into Nice in nightmare weather, where we met Currencies Direct customer, John Otway, who had managed to get a flight with Norwegian Airlines from Gatwick to Nice at the same time. Why Norwegian Airlines would fly such a route is a bit of a mystery, but hey, it’s another option.

We were met at the airport by the redoubtable Peachy Butterfield, husband to the gorgeous long-suffering Suzanne and whisked back to Valbonne to the web, our outside bar area. They are temporarily in charge of our house whilst we finalise the jumping over of hoops required in order not to have to pay the French tax authorities the entirety of our pension. Over dinner before Mr Otway, who is staying with us for the next few days, departed to meet his fans in Cannes, discussion inevitably turned towards the Film Festival and, well Otway. Always more comfortable when he himself is the subject under discussion, all I can say is he was very comfortable. He expressed the opinion that he would like to be a film star like Sean Connery, but some wag said, rather cruelly I thought, that he might be more in tune with Shaun Of The Dead.

So that’s it, we are here in my beloved Valbonne, and today is the banquet on the beach in Cannes as a warm up for Otway The Movie screening on Sunday. It is going to be an epic, which even forecast rain will not dampen.

Chris France

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