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Helicopter envy

August 11, 2013

Taking the train to Antibes from Mouans Sartoux, past Cannes, and along the coast through Golf Juan and Juan les Pins is a very pleasant way of getting to see the seaside. It also means no one has to drive, but that means more drink. Thus activity of this nature commenced at around 11am with a glass of something cold and fizzy whilst standing, legs apart, one arm behind my back sailor fashion, on the poop deck. I did not think it was a good idea to ask why it is so named, after all there are several toilets on board.

There is something very pleasing about pretending to be a seasoned sailor. I would have sliced the main brace there and then if I had a clue what it meant. Captain Pugwash is alive and well and embedded in all of us, even the non swimming types like me. I have resolved to look for a captain’s hat for next time I get invited aboard a boat although it is fair to say that the Nice Lady Decorator suggested a kiss me quick hat or even a dunces hat might be more appropriate.

Whilst aboard I learned, to my immense satisfaction, that our hosts for the day, Roly and Poly Bufton, start their daily routine by having this column read out aloud each morning, whilst the servants attend to their every need. Poly (aka Leslie) described the routine as relaxing. A cynic might say it is almost a relaxative, both amusing and err… loosening.

After a magnificent lunch at The African Queen at Beaulieu Sur Mer (matched by an equally magnificent bill), comprising as it did for me, of a fricassee of mussels and an African curry, we staggered the 20 metres or so back to the berth of the lovely Fleming yacht, Sea Breezes, and put out to sea (read drive into the bay at Beaulieu) for a little swimming or snorkelling (or in my case a little sleeping) before heading back to Antibes in the early evening. I did experience a little helicopter envy however when a helicopter landed on a nearby boat as my picture today captures. I asked Roly where he kept his helicopter but answer came there none. I was forced into the position of suspecting that there were no facilities for helicopters aboard his yacht.

helicopter lands on boat

Surely every boat has one?

Arriving back in Antibes just after sun down, there was just time for a restorative pint of Guinness before the last train at the ridiculously early time of 10.06. Luckily That Nice Lady Decorator had organised a doggy bag of her uneaten sea bream, so with some left over roasties lurking in the fridge, we had an impromptu fish and chips supper at 11.30pm in the web, and very tasty it was too.

Today is dedicated to Aristo bashing. The saintly old smoothie Anthony “Dock Of The” Bay has invited us to celebrate a significant birthday of his considerably younger and gorgeous wife Amanda, and I have found it in my distinctly working class bones to accept. He and his friends will, on the surface, appear to be very egalitarian to start with, avoiding disparaging remarks about oiks and grammar school louts, but like all naughty boys, once they have all had a few drinks, the gloves will come off and the abuse will commence. The Wingco will be the ringleader as usual. As soon as there is any mention of this column, my latest book or the benefits offered by opening an account with Currencies Direct, the abuse will start. I can’t wait as it will enable me to forego my promises about avoiding Aristo bashing or working class triumphalism, even though I have no idea what the latter means.

Chris France

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