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Back in Provence

September 18, 2013

At last, I am back in the bosom of Provence. It has been an entertaining week, and I have managed to trot out loads of German jokes (much to the lack of amusement by my old German estate agent pal Konstantin Von Kleist, my favourite German Currencies Direct affiliate, even if he never sends me any customers). I don’t think I mentioned the war much, but a few days ago I did make a joke about gas in the poorest possible taste, so not all bad. Anyway his language was moderate and he did not Spitfire at me at all.

The trip back was considerably more pleasant than the trip up to Germany as it did not rain at all on the way back, so we could not resist the opportunity to take the St Bernardino Pass in Switzerland again. There is something surreal about making a snowball at 2000 metres at midday and then basking in 25 degree heat by 4pm.

Arriving back late yesterday afternoon we were quickly confronted by a thirsty Peachy Butterfield in his ridiculous Vilbrequin shorts. He has a secret present for Roly Bufton which he urgently wants me to deliver, but as we are not due to see Roly and Poly for a week or so, when we fly to Naples for that promised trip along the Amalfi coast in their fabulous yacht, I was suspicious from the outset . It was clearly a fabricated pretext for an early evening drink. He was a little disconcerted when, after delivering the package, I said “thank you, good-bye”, but his usual think skinned persona was quickly to the fore; “I’ll just have a glass of wine before I go”.

Actually he did only have about 4 glasses before leaving as he is playing the role of house husband at the moment, having sent his gorgeous wife Suzanne out to work, and an early evening dinner turned into a much-needed an early night after another full day on the road.

on your bike

Conference bike

The picture above is of a great invention I spotted in Germany. It is a conference bike where half a dozen people can cycle off and have a conference at the same time. It could be just like the promotional meeting I used to have 25 years ago, when everybody would disagree and pull in different directions.

So what is to come this week? A great deal of work is in prospect for me today, finalising a deal which may see me take a step back from holding the tiller of the UK music industry. An intensive period is coming up, but I should be finished by lunchtime after which, well? lunch of course!

Arrangements are being discussed regarding tennis, and the playing of, on Friday, before the traditional lunch at Auberge St Donat, and again on Monday when Mr Clipboard will be in town. He flies in at 3.15, plays tennis at precisely 5pm for exactly 2 hours, has generously allowed himself 15 minutes for a small beer with his comrades, before returning to have his batman lay out his finest gaudy shirt ready for dinner at 7pm sharp. How organised has he become? The Friday arrangement could not be different. Around 11-11.30am a few people will roll up to the Vignale, drink some coffee, chatter a bit, maybe play some tennis if there are enough people interested, then slope off late for an unbooked luncheon, complain about not getting a table, consider going somewhere else, and then persuading the waiter that we can get a late lunch. I like the former arrangement because I can give Mr Clipboard a hard time for being so anal, and I like the Friday arrangement because I just like it, it is so south of France.

Chris France

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