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Smoke on the water?

July 28, 2013

Another beautiful sunny and hot day yesterday, but without a pre-planned engagement in sight, allowed me some quiet time to catch my social breath and look back at the last weeks events. I began to examine the photographs on my phone and found one, that I feature today, of Sprog 2 demonstrating that it is possible to swim whilst smoking a cigarette. I cannot quite work out how she managed it, but it is a feat worse than death.

Today will be my first outing with The REGS, the Riviera Ex-pats Golf Society spin-off group, The Landlubbers, for over a year. Having become accustomed whilst living in Valbonne (until the French tax system made it impossible) to the laid back approach of French golf clubs, plus the fact that one tends not to bother to play if the weather is anything less than perfect, and that wind is seldom a factor, the idea of playing golf at all in England in the last year filled me with gloom.

That whole English “ramrod up the arse” etiquette nonsense that pervades many a UK golf course is anathema when you have played in France. I hate that upper-class, toffee-nosed, misplaced superior attitude, perfectly epitomised when I was told at my old club in England some years ago that I may be in danger of getting a “brown envelope”from the Chairman if I did not wear socks in the bar or tuck my shirt in, is just the type of attitude that I wish to avoid when at leisure. Golf is a sport, a leisure activity, not a hidebound parade where dress code is everything. Anyway I must change the subject before I get angry. Nurse, more tranquilisers please.

smoke on the water

It’s good to have water around you when partaking of a dangerous habit that involves fire.

Being back in the bosom of France, and with the sun shining and with a 10 euro wager safely pocketed during my golfing comeback earlier in the week, I set off today to Chateau Begude with a sense of massively displaced optimism. If I know one thing, it is that when one is happy with one’s golf, that is when it turns and bites you. I shall be hoping for an opportunity to air the best golfing sayings that I heard recently; an Abdul Hamza (hooked and out of sight) and a Bin Laden (topped and in the water) are my favourites from a new crop of golfing expressions, although the Douglas Bader (looked good in flight but did not have the legs) remains my favourite.

I am getting a lift with Currencies Direct affiliate Peter “Blue Water” Bennett, and by way of preparation, despite having no previous plan, we ended up at Terra Rossa in Valbonne Square last night. All I did was check what time I was to be collected this morning and, as neither of us had anything planned for the evening, the inevitable impromptu dinner developed.

As head honcho of the best yacht charter and crew training company in the Riviera, it is his job very often to deal with celebrities and so it was he who spotted Tessa Daly and Vernon Kay sitting with their children (although I accept it could have been someone else’s children) at the same al fresco restaurant. Apparently one is famous for appearing on Strictly Come Dancing and one is renowned for appearing on a number of other similarly trite TV programmes, but I am proud to say I know not which, nor who is which. I am told that they are regulars in Valbonne but would hesitate to say that she comes Daly.  Anyway, a thoroughly satisfying dinner was taken on board and a great deal of postprandial cognac was consumed and I now have a very sore head, which I shall be carrying around all morning. Peter Bennett I hate you.

Chris France


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