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Dangerous and fireworks

July 5, 2013

An early start to collect the camper from Antibes, where we had abandoned it the previous evening on the way to see the Independence Day firework display in Cannes, was an unwelcome start to a splendid summer day. Temperatures must have been close to 30 degrees by mid afternoon, the same as promised for the UK this coming week, if you believe in fantasy. So after getting to bed at 3am, I was up at 8 to be picked up by the Naked Politician who was on his way to Antibes.

Before the fireworks commenced, Master Mariner Mundane floated past on L’Exocet. He had a party of revellers on board and one of them, Dangerous Jackie Lawless, can be seen, I think she may claim it was piloting, the boat from the front as you may be able to make out from today’s photograph.


Who is that at the front and what is she doing?

Anyway, I was not feeling at my sharpest when I ventured onto the very hot tennis court for only the third time in a year later in the morning. If that was reflected in the score then I do not recall. I know we played one immensely long set in formidable heat which could have gone either way. I feel sure that my partner, one of the crudest, rudest and amusing Harrovians I have ever met, known as Largy, for reasons that must be connected to beer intake, did his very best to ensure that we were the victors. If we failed then he will be to blame.

He joined myself and our tennis opponents the Master Mariner Mundane and Blind Lemon Milsted for the traditional post tennis lunch at the wonderfully ethnic Auberge St Donat. Blind Lemon has still not found a job, despite “looking” for nearly three years. Waiting for the phone to ring seems a curious way to find employment and a more cynical chap than I might come to the conclusion he does not really want one. I for one hope he fails as nothing must get in the way of Friday tennis, although he did say that he would ensure Friday was in his contract as a no work day should he ever find gainful employment again.

Largy was at first quite restrained, probably because, unusually for these lunches we had some girls join us, but gradually he got into his normal stride as the wine intake increased, with a string of ribald comments, delivered in a loud public schoolboy accent, the content of which I would not want to include in this column. He holds court much in the manner of a garrulous barrister with quickly developing Tourrettes syndrome. By that I mean his pronouncements, delivered in a deep barrel-chested voice, gradually descend from light misogyny and homophobia when lunch commenced, into areas I would hesitate to venture although, to be fair he saved his best and funniest for the period after about the 7th bottle of rosé had been consumed.

Also at lunch was the rather wonderfully named Nick Perch, (no nickname required) perched on a seat opposite where he had the honour of sealing my claim to be a doubly successful author. He bought a copy of my book The Valbonne Monologues taking sales to 111 and into a profit of 8 euros (about £6.60 at today’s Currencies Direct exchange rates). 8 euros because he claimed that the copy he purchased was dog-eared, which was correct. He had dog-eared it himself during a thorough and long running inspection inspection, but as I wanted that successful epithet so badly, I decided to overlook this cynical money-saving action and allow the discount.

Chris France

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