Friday, January 9, 2009


January 9th 2009

I think we are being accepted into the bosom of Bar sur Loup life. Hot on the heels of a lovely Christmas Eve afternoon spent at Adrian's and an impromptu invite to another village drinks party at new year, I have just been invited on a girls night in next week and a girls ski weekend. So for all my protestations about not needing any more friends, quite happy picking olives by myself blah blah blah, I am secretly pleased that a little social whirl is starting to form. Anyone who knows me would say that me not going out, or making social plans or organising little parties to celebrate, well nothing actually, must mean I'm either having a breakdown, broke or I've lost the will to live.
Went to a fashion party in Cannes last night. It sounds glamorous doesn't it, fashion party, Cannes, I mean, how could that not be fun? The reality was arriving 15 fashionable minutes late to find two screens showing archive footage of the catwalk collections to an empty hotel bar, being charged 10 euros for a miniscule flute of Champagne, which I drank by myself as there was no-one to mingle with and trying to look like I was a busy career woman in demand by emailing Iain, various pals and my friend's 13-year-old daughter so that I didn't look like Billy No Mates. I came home, took off my not-trying-too-hard-but-bloody-expensive Isabel Marant dress and ate a reheated chicken curry with my girls, before watching Celebrity Big Brother....(highlight - Ulrika and Verne's tune-free rendition of Diana and Lionel's duet Endless Love.)

Monday, January 5, 2009

on the town

January 5th 2009

As I'm now officially on a health kick - no more wine, slobbing about, finishing off the leftover chocs - and not going out again on a social for at least a month, thought you might like to share the highlights of my pre-Christmas bash in Soho with my best journo mates from way back in our Fleet Street days. We don't do it very often, you will see why when you read on...

* Rubbing shoulders (okay, breathing the same air) as Ralph Fiennes at Quo Vadis, who threw our table of giggly tabloid hacks a rather too long, lascivious look as he left,

* Two lecherous businessman mistaking us for a gang of high class escort girls and trying their hardest to get us to join their table

* Clare deciding you don't look a gift horse in the mouth and in her loudest most persuasive fashion, trying to get them to pay our £500 restaurant bill, or at least buy us a bottle of champagne. It wasn't for lack of trying but on this occasion her charm offensive, consisting of 'Oi Pete, get yer wallet out and we'll be over' and constant requests to the waiter to take it to their table instead of ours fell on deaf ears.* Having a loud row with the staff about paying the bill, whereupon said staff were accused of being patronising, aggressive and out of order for insisting that we do indeed, pay our bill in full

* Lurching off to Gerry's, that classy little Dean Street all night drinking club, and bumping into legendary pissed up Mirror man Don Mackay, who got us in and then proceeded to stick like glue and ruin any street cred for the rest of the night

* Clare waking her hubby Nick up in bed at 1.30am to put Don on so that Don could launch a drunken rant and verbally abuse Nick while we cackled with laughter in the background

* Keith Allen arriving and making a bee line for Clare's puppies that were amply displayed all evening and in hindsight, were the reason we attracted so much male attention

* Clare telling Keith Allen that he had sold out 'just like Bonnie Langford', which presumes that Bonnie Langford was once something more than a variety show and panto performer, and repeating that slanderous comment over and over to anyone within earshot, to Keith's horror

* Hanging out with Tony, the EastEnders paedo, Denise Welch, Spider from Corry and Kieron O'Brien from Survivors

* Clare telling my producer friend Jake that he looked just like Shane Richie

* Keith Allen dancing around to the bagpipes at 4am in Dean Street as Clare demanded 'so Kazza, where are we going next? We're not going home IT'S CHRISTMAS' before ringing Angela, so that she too could savour Keith dancing to bagpipes

* after forcing our cabbie to stop for fags at a garage, Clare trying to clamber into the wrong taxi parked in front of us, much to our driver's amusement.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Noel, a breakdown and a celebrity wedding

January 4th 2009

Happy new year campers. Well, where to start, it's been so long. Firstly, the house. Finally, finally the ground floor is finished, windows are in, floor is laid, kitchen is in and life is good. The final stages weren't without problems (breaking down in my friend Wayne's borrowed truck on the way back from the window shop and being stranded in the middle of the highway as cars sped past me was a lowlight. Luckily four burly gardeners helped push me out of danger while Wayne came down to rescue me as Iain was oblivious at Nice airport, sitting in the executive lounge eating peanuts waiting for his flight to the UK). There were more handle issues, as the funky red kitchen arrived with big silver handles rather than integral handles, do I sound obsessed by handles? A compromise was reached and we got 1000 euros back for the mistake, thank you Santa! At last we have light and a house that doesn't resemble a derelict shack.
Our first Christmas here has been lovely, if a bit rushed as we dashed to London to do a rellies present swap and catch up with everyone just as the kitchen fitter was finishing, then returned home a day and a half before Christmas to straighten everything out, unpack, buy a turkey, you know the score. We were invited to Christmas Eve drinks at a neighbours and stood in warm winter sunshine on their terrace, sipping mulled wine and chatting til early evening. By Christmas morning, after late night last minute wrapping of pressies and munching of Santa's mince pies (Issy is still a BIG believer, have not yet worked out whether this is because she thinks she won't get anything if she lets on she has wised up) I was cream crackered but at least we had the prospect of Christmas lunch at our friends Norma and Tony's half an hour away. Which was lovely.
I really love Christmas but so often it's ruined by bad behaviour (not just talking the kids here) feeling duty bound, guilty or just running around like a crazy thing for two or three days on end and then collapsing in a stupor once it's all over wondering why you bother. This year was chilled, with lots of champagne, laughter, charades and good friends. The guilt factor being that I wasn't with my extended family but I did see them a few days before. . .
Onto the celebrity wedding....Amanda Holden's to be exact, at Babington House near Bath. Guests included Mick Hucknall, F1 drivers David Coulthard and Jensen Button (too good looking for his own good), Piers Morgan ( my ex-boss at the Sun) and various actors from Coronation Street, Cutting It, Noddy Holder and little ole me! The bride looked fabulous and showed off her silver Ugg boots underneath the dress, as it was FREEZING, everyone danced and despite my plus one guest Sarah telling best man David Coulthard that his speech went on a bit and trying to change the music at the reception, it all went swimmingly. Interesting to be on othe other side for once as a guest and not a reporter.
New year is a time for retrospection as well as looking forward and these are my thoughts ....

* That I really miss my friends and family in the UK, guess that will never change
* That I don't miss the UK AT ALL, I couldn't wait to get on the plane back to Nice
* How lucky that we have already met so many people here, and while some will stay acquaintances, a few are already shaping up to be really good friends, the kind you can drink too much with, loosen your tongue and not worry about what you said the following day.

Well, I was supposed to be ironing and catching up on chores tonight as my lovely brother Justin and his family have just gone home after five days here with us. We partied with a houseful of friends to Barry M's Copacabana on New Year's Eve, the kids even danced with their parents (We think we're quite cool but they don't) then we skied our socks off and rounded it off in Monte Carlo today. The house is eerily quiet now they have left, saying goodbye is always the worst part as I never know when I'm next going to see them all.