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Striking for the right to strike

May 4, 2014

There is a certain incongruity about spending two months in the south of France, but lusting after a pint of Guinness. Perhaps it was down to the excesses of Friday, when lunch at Auberge St Donat was followed by dinner at Auberge Provençal in Valbonne Square. I admit that I was not on top form yesterday and that is why thoughts of Irish Stout crowded in during late afternoon. It is full of iron you see, which apparently one can crave after a night on the tiles.

We were on, what turned out to be, a useless mission to take Sprog 1 to Antibes to do some shopping and put him on the train to Monaco, where he has at last found long-term gainful employment aboard the  Costa Magna as a deckhand/engineer. With parking a problem as the Monte Carlo Grand Prix approaches, he wanted to leave his car at home during he week so as to avoid having it towed away (which has happened twice already). The idea was that he take the train from Antibes, and we in turn would adjourn to The Blue Lady for a pint or two of Murphy’s, which is harder to find but even better than Guinness. Ten minutes later he joined us as it seems all trains to Monaco were cancelled, probably due to that popular French pastime; the strike. Thus eventually we returned to Valbonne and he drove back over to Monaco in the car.

garden bar

Seeking solace in the web, our outside bar last evening

There was talk that the strike might have been connected to the French pilots strikes, which are happening periodically. It seems they are striking in order to maintain their right to strike. The French are very good at striking, marching, surrendering and cooking. They also make some of the best wines in the world and have a beautiful country with much better weather than the UK, hence the time we spend here. But I digress. With all that wine and sunshine one might think that a heavy dark ale might be anathema, but there you have it.

Returning home, there was no way we were going out again after the previous days shenanigans, and a quiet night was spent ahead of Sunday, and an almost certainly heavy social week ahead. Today is the first Sunday of the month and so the Valbonne Antiques Market is staged throughout the village, where visitors can buy items that are often 25% more expensive than they would be in an antiques shop on a normal day. A tourist trap but an intresting spectacle and the village will be bustling. Bustle is very attractive to That Nice Lady Decorator so we have a plan to stroll down late morning, look at antiques and perhaps take in lunch. Actually, the expression “looking at antiques” could have been applied to my good self yesterday when we were seated in The Blue Lady surrounded by dozens of yachty types getting drunk on their day off. I must have been some 30 years older than the average age, whilst That Nice Lady Decorator told me she blended in with the crowd. She is, of course, correct.

The week ahead should have alarm bells ringing for my liver. The Savins will be house guests from Tuesday, and coincidentally the beautiful steely eyed Lisa Thornton Allan will be dragging her errant, arty and continually distracted husband and very fine fellow Paul “Slash And Burn” Thornton Allan with her to stay nearby with Currencies Direct affiliate Peter “Blue Water” Bennett and his lovely petite wife Julie. I believe the first round of debauchery is planned for Tuesday evening, so expect me to be hermit like tomorrow as I prepare for the onslaught.

Chris France


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