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The art of Valbonne

October 13, 2013

A brilliant sunny crystal clear sunny day was in no way marred by the fact the Nice Lady Decorator was languishing back in UK. She needed some “mummy time” with Sprog 2 who has gone to university to study film making at Ravensbourne near the O2 in London. This equates to spending a vast amount of money to make Sprog 2’s life even more comfortable. She has at least got a part-time job as a barmaid at the O2, job being a concept that has so far eluded Sprog 1.

I received a call during the afternoon from the Mumsy Decorating Operative, who was using my car in England. She wanted to know how to put petrol in it. I have had that car 5 years, and it is the first time she has ever found herself short of fuel. I am well versed in finding her car with the fuel warning light on when I drive but it, certainly once a month at least, but it is the first time in half a decade where I have been able to turn the tables. However, thinking about it, she probably use my Amex to fill it up. There is no justice.

Valbonne pool

The scene of yesterdays sun bathing and reading

Sunbathing and reading a book eventually became boring so in late afternoon I preened and prepared to go to the Pure Nature painting exhibition in the church annexe in Valbonne, mostly for the free wine but also in the hope that the exhibition may have some erotic images to make an old man happy. The exhibition, which is open now and will remain open until 27th October, was very well attended and there are literally hundreds of paintings on show, but free wine was limited to yesterday, hence the timing of my visit.

Amongst the local celebrities in attendance was fellow local author Neil Humphrey’s who, like the gay character of the same name in classic TV series “Are You Being Served” was free. By chance he revealed that despite selling many more copies of his book “Autobiography Of A Somebody” than I, he has still not broken even. If the benchmark of a successful author is to make a profit on one’s book writing, then I am successful author whereas he is not. Suffice to say that this is the benchmark I employ and perhaps, in retrospect, I should have been a trifle less enthusiastic in espousing this conclusion. He is also my style icon and I can tell you that the well dressed author about town was wearing a collarless leather jacket, which in no way could me called camp. We discussed, as we always do when we meet, a certain chapter in his book, which alludes to a not quite mythical local character we both know very well, and Neil admitted that he now has to avoid the target of this very funny and accurate character assassination, as that target may well have read the offending chapter.

Also in attendance was the lovely Marina Kulik, who was keeping a close eye on her partner, Jeroen Zaat, to ensure there was no repeat of the unfortunate accident that befell him some weeks ago after the celebrations at winning the Bistro Rally. I promised him I would not mention that again, so I won’t. He introduced me to a chap called Thomas Bucknell, a commercial lawyer from Seattle who has seemingly followed this column for several years after buying a holiday home in Valbonne. He is, of course, the perfect potential customer for the services of Currencies Direct, a fact that I mentioned in passing, but from his countenance I could tell straight away that he was guilty. Guilty of not taking on board the clear message, hammered home in this column every day, that your bank will fleece you on foreign exchange transactions. I have his sworn promise to look again at the benefits and, whilst he is on parole pending receipt of his application, I have promised to be nice to him.

Chris France

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